Wests Tigers hitman Marty Taupau says he'll be "looking forward to playing South Sydney again" after his side went down fighting in a 20-6 defeat at ANZ Stadium.
Taupau instantly became public enemy No.1 of The Burrow during a testy second half that began with his shove on Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds after a kick-off. Reynolds went down clutching his shoulder and when replays showed that the Tigers forward had pushed the South Sydney playmaker into the turf, the home side quickly turned on the former Bulldog.
The match threatened to erupt when he and Issac Luke got entangled later on in the game, and the fiery Taupau got a massive jeer from the Rabbitohs faithful when he committed a turnover not long after that.
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"It was a good atmosphere out there. It was a good crowd.
"I'll be looking forward to playing South Sydney again," he said after the game.
Taupau and Luke were teammates in last year's Kiwis side that triumphed in the Four Nations, but it was clear there was no love lost between the pair on Sunday.
"Obviously we played the Four Nations and the ANZAC Test last year. We're all good mates. But when you're on the footy field, you take no prisoners," he said.
"It's a good battle. It's all fun and games."
While South Sydney coach Michael Maguire said he had no problems with the incident involving Reynolds, Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor admitted he wanted his enforcer to show more restraint during the game.
"I was a bit concerned a couple of times just because the last thing we needed to do was give penalties away in a game where we didn't have enough ball as it was," he said.
"They were my main concerns.
"I don't think there's ever been a question about Marty in that [aggressive approach].
"I'm just keen for him to stay calm. That's what I'm keen for."
After mostly coming off the bench under former coach Mick Potter, the 25-year-old Taupau has started all three games at lock for Taylor this year.
"He's been really strong for us in all three games so far. He's going well.
"He hasn't started a lot in his NRL career, Marty, and we're asking him to start," he said.
"That first 20 minutes is a lot harder to get through than the 20 minutes you might play if you come off the bench.
"Hopefully we can get some more minutes out of him as we go. It was about 18 today and he needed come and we dragged a bit more minutes out of him.
"He's really having an impact in the game."
The Kiwi representative said the switch hadn't really altered his playing style.
"Last year I was doing more of an impact player for the team.
"For me it doesn't really matter whether I start or come off the bench.
"I just come and do my job: run hard and tackle hard. That's what I get told to do," he said.
"For me it's just a do-or-die attitude pretty much. Take no prisoners."
The Tigers next match against South Sydney will again be at ANZ Stadium, a Friday night clash in Round 14.
This article first appeared on NRL.com and is used by permission.