It may only be January, but the gloves are already off at Arden Street.
During match simulation on Friday morning Shaun Higgins and Luke McDonald came to blows.
Higgins was attempting to run the ball out of the backline with a chain of handballs, but McDonald had other ideas.
“He was trying to link up and run forward and I blocked him,” McDonald explained to NMFC.com.au.
“He didn’t see it coming and didn’t like it.”
Higgins though had a different take to the fiery encounter.
“He tried to line me up and take me out,” he said.
“Right at the last minute, I saw it coming and I took him down.”
After the hit, Higgins remonstrated with McDonald and the pair locked up in a brief exchange of ‘pleasantries’.
“He was clearly trying to get some sort of payback against me after I booted two goals on him in the first two minutes,” Higgins declared.
An observer of the altercation, Andrew Swallow, had a different theory on how the toe-to-toe came about.
“I heard that Lukey was giving it to Higgo about the size of his head,” Swallow suggested.
“You see Higgo has a massive sized head, probably the biggest in the AFL, but he’s very touchy about it and Lukey just hit a nerve. Usually a player wouldn’t dare mention it to his face, but clearly Luke crossed that line and Higgo snapped.”
When the game was over, the pair was quick to make up and continue joking about the incident.
“We’re very good mates but there’s always a bit of added spice out there when the games begin,” McDonald added.
“Higgo and I in particular, always seems to get tangled up but we both enjoy it.”
For Higgins also there are no hard feelings, regardless of the circumstances.
“We’re tight and it was all in good fun,” he said.
“When we’re out there, we lay it on all the line. There’s no stepping back because there’ll be no stepping back when the games begin,” Higgins said.
Disclaimer: This article has been written with a tongue in cheek. While McDonald and Higgins grappled with each other briefly, it was not a serious incident. This article was constructed by the players in jest and in good humour. Both players approved its content and quotes before publishing.