The NRL Footy Show last night issued an on-air apology to Maroons skipper Cameron Smith.
“Before we get started, we know it’s been a difficult relationship between Channel Nine and yourself over the past 12 months,” Paul “Fatty’ Vautin said.
“With regards to those issues, on behalf of the Nine Network we want to apologise to you and your family.”
In 2015 60 Minutes spoke with Alex McKinnon about a devastating on-field neck injury in 2014. In the report McKinnon blasted Cameron Smith for arguing with the official about the resulting penalty.
But reports later emerged that Smith’s comments were made after McKinnon had left the field. He was also not given the opportunity to defend himself in the story, with Producer Tom Malone saying the report was “Alex’s story.”
Smith then refused all Nine interviews ahead of the State of Origin decider.
With State of Origin season less than a week away, Nine has now buried the hatchet with the Queensland captain.
“It has been a difficult 12 months,” Smith acknowledged, “and I want to thank you for that apology on behalf of the network.
“I think it’s no secret I was pretty disappointed with the 60 Minutes episode that aired last year and everything that happened afterwards too. That was probably the most disappointing thing. I thought it took away from a beautiful story about Alex McKinnon and his fiancee Teigan. That was something we should have been focussing on and celebrating. But that’s in the past now.”