The emotional response from David Klemmer and Kalyn Ponga immediately after the loss against Parramatta last weekend was poles apart.
An angry Klemmer stormed off the field and into the dressingroom without shaking hands, looking like he might deck anyone who gave him a sideways glance. At the same time, Ponga, by contrast, was in the company of a couple of Eels players, catching up and having a bit of a laugh.
Like I said, poles apart.
But the Knights stars did have something in common. They were both attacked relentlessly by so-called fans on social media for their actions - Klemmer for his "bad sportsmanship" and Ponga for his crime of supposed enjoying the loss too much.
Of all the abuse hurled at the 21-year-old Knights fullback, the most outrageous was the suggestion he and others who were caught by television cameras with a smile on their face talking to Eels players were "spitting in the face of fans who spend their hard earned to watch these guys compete".
The inference in all the criticism was while Klemmer needs to learn how to accept a loss, Ponga has to start caring more, as if he doesn't already, just to keep the fans happy.
Now there are plenty in the game who don't like the modern day players fraternising with the opposition after games. Knights legend Andrew Johns is one who detests it and has said several times this season rugby league needs "more hate". But with all due respect to the eighth Immortal, surely it's what happens during the 80 minutes that matters at the end of the day.
Ponga didn't have his best attacking game against the Eels but no-one who saw him launch himself at Parramatta fullback Clint Gutherson in the corner at Bankwest Stadium to save a certain try could question his desire or commitment. He came up with two or three other try-savers.
I saw Ponga leave the dressingroom after the game and he was hurting every bit as much as his teammates. Every bit as much as Klemmer, who, by the way went into the Eels dressingroom after he had cooled down to shake hands.
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Everyone is wired differently. Some handle defeat better than others. Catching up with a mate from the other team straight after a game and having a laugh says absolutely nothing about the desire and will to win of that player during the 80 minutes.
Irate fans need to get a grip.
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