Opposing NRL fullbacks Billy Slater and Ben Barba have refused to embrace each other ahead of Sunday’s grand final.
The pair, who were enjoying the League’s traditional grand final breakfast in Sydney this morning, appeared on Today for a joint interview in which they were asked to show some ‘man love’ before the blockbuster.
The players both hail from Queensland, with Barba joining Slater in the State of Origin camp in the build-up to the third game of this year’s series.
Despite that allegiance, they made it clear that friends are now foes.
“I might give him a cuddle on Sunday night,” Slater offered.
While the incident was largely in jest, it has nonetheless provided a small insight into the preparations of both sides.
With years of recent finals experience, Slater’s Melbourne Storm has been heavily backed to upset the Canterbury Bulldogs, who thumped their southern rival 20-4 in their Round 16 clash.
That victory featured one of the tries of the season when Barba broke the length of the field to set up Josh Morris.