Zac Lomax insisted there was no bad blood between him and Knights forward Tyson Frizell after the Dragons centre was fined for antagonising his former team-mate during Sunday’s 21-16 win at WIN Stadium.
Lomax, who kicked a match winning field 78th minute field goal and came up with a vital one-on-one steal late in the game, was charged with grade one contrary conduct, but has escaped suspension.
The incident, in which Lomax jumped on the back of Frizell after he had fumbled a Ben Hunt kick and St George Illawarra five-eighth dived on the loose ball to score, clearly upset the NSW Origin second-rower.
Frizell howler allows Bird to score for the Saints
Frizell angrily flung Lomax to the ground and the Dragons star appeared rattled by his reaction as he missed the conversion attempt, another shot at goal and a tackle on Bradman Best as the Newcastle centre levelled the scores.
However, Lomax regained his composure to lead St George Illawarra to a much needed win and later played down the incident with Frizell as gamesmanship.
"I am good mates with Friz," Lomax said. "You have seen how vital he is to the team so I just tried to get him off his game as much as possible.
"It was a bit of friendly banter. It's all fun and games."
St George Illawarra coach Anthony Griffin said afterwards that he would speak to Lomax about the incident and the 21-year-old admitted he had been surprised by Frizell’s reaction.
Lomax antagonises Frizell
"Yeah probably, but it's in all heat of the moment,” he said. “What happens on the footy field stays on the footy field. It’s all good fun."
The win ended a four-match losing streak for the Dragons and Lomax said it would provide a much-needed confidence boost ahead of their annual ANZAC Day clash with the Sydney Roosters at the SCG.
"It was definitely the win we needed," Lomax said.
“We had to win that game a few times and over the last couple of weeks we probably wouldn’t have been able to get that game back, so I am super proud of the boys.
“I feel like we are not far off. We have lost games previously just off a bit of a lack of belief in finishing off the games, but we are not far off. We get belief out of that and wanting to play for each other.”
Match Highlights: Dragons v Knights
Lomax was also involved in another controversial incident after landing the 25-metre field goal to put the Dragons ahead 17-16 when he tapped back a short kick-off and Jayden Su’A appeared to come from offside to pick up the ball.
St George Illawarra winger Max Feagai scored his second try to seal the win but the Knights were unhappy that referee Ben Cummins and the Bunker had missed the off-side.
“I tried to tap it back. It doesn’t matter now. We won the game,” Lomax said.