Even Johnathan Thurston was caught in the moment.
The NRL legend was stationed for Channel 9 as Penrith beat South Sydney 14-12 in a thrilling grand final on Sunday night and had the privilege of speaking to ecstatic Panthers players on the pitch after a full time.
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Thurston has made a name for himself as a shrewd analyst since his transition to media after retiring from football, but he still has a few things to learn about life behind the microphone.
For starters, bettors watching TV cannot hear the speaker unless said microphone is in front of them.
“The first division-winning co-captain with me, Isaah Yeo,” Thurston said when he was thrown onto the pitch. “It sounds like a relief on your part, buddy. “
But as the Panthers lock began to speak, Thurston kept the microphone to himself, smiling and admiring what the Sydney west side had managed to achieve after the heartbreak of losing last year’s decider to Melbourne.
Seconds after Yeo spoke of his team’s “never give up” attitude, it seemed that Thurston had received a note through his headset that something was wrong. He glanced awkwardly at the camera, then turned back to Yeo – before she finally snapped.
The 2015 Premier’s laureate realized he had cornered the microphone, extending his right arm towards Yeo so viewers could actually hear what he was saying.
It’s an easy mistake to make in the pandemonium of a grand finale, but more than the slippage, fans loved Thurston’s reaction. You can actually see on his face the moment he hits him what he has done wrong.
Then he grimaces slightly, appearing to be angry with himself for not having passed the interview.
Former AFL star turned radio presenter Ryan Fitzgerald captured the sentiment perfectly on Twitter.
“Love JT, forgets to put the mic next to Yeo’s mouth, gets yelled at in his ear and then gets smashed by himself. Pure perfectionist,” he wrote.
EXPLORE THUSTON’S GOLDEN REACTION IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE
It wasn’t the only awkward moment Thurston suffered on Sunday night. Minutes before kick-off, Thurston addressed the 39,000 spectators and recognized the traditional owners of the pitch when it appeared to be cut off as the instrumental overture of the Australian national anthem began to sound through the stadium.
Australian pop phenomenon Kate Miller-Heidke, who was about to sing Advance Australia Fair, appeared to be taken aback by the music that was starting at the time, but still managed the performance.
Footy fans weren’t impressed with the misstep.
There were no such mistakes from Penrith, who held on for a two-point win to secure his first prime minister since 2003.
Scores were locked at 8-8 with 15 minutes to go when Souths eighth Cody Walker threw an ambitious slit pass that was intercepted by Panthers center Stephen Crichton, who moved away to score what would prove to be the winning trial.
The Bunnies scored 10 minutes later and Adam Reynolds had the chance to score 14 goals, but he missed the throw-in conversion. It was a heartbreaking end to his career at Redfern, as he prepares to represent the Broncos in 2022.