Penrith winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has revealed how Manly opposite Matthew Wright took exception to a tackle before striking him during the Panthers' fiery NRL finals win.
Bad blood between the two sides boiled over when Wright lunged and hit Watene-Zelezniak during Penrith's upset victory at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
Fairfax Media published images of the incident and the Kiwi international said despite appearances otherwise, the Sea Eagles winger didn't strike him with a clenched fist.
"It was more of a palm, it didn't really rattle me too much," Watene-Zelezniak told AAP.
"There was a lot of banter but I try not to get caught up in that too much or else I lose focus on my own game.
"I just tried to give it back in tackles."
Watene-Zelezniak revealed the Sea Eagles winger had taken exception to a tackle moments earlier.
"I rocked him a little bit," he said.
Asked if it was a legal hit, Watene-Zelezniak said: "I felt like it. I don't know if it looked like it.
"But when I got up he was a bit angry at me."
Tempers boiled over when the two sides met the previous week with Manly centre Dylan Walker relentlessly trash-talking the Panthers and successfully getting under their skins.
Watene-Zelezniak says he refuses to engage in niggling tactics and sought to deal with it via legal retaliation.
"It puts people off their game when they get into that kind of stuff," Watene-Zelezniak said.
"You've just got to get them back the right way and win the game.
"We spoke about (Manly's niggling) it but it wasn't our main focus, we just wanted to work on the areas where we went wrong the week before. It turned out really good for us."
© AAP 2017