Storm skipper Cameron Smith has denied he tried to slap Reed Mahoney's face in Saturday's semi final clash.
The incident will come under fierce scrutiny from the NRL's match review committee, which caused Smith to get sin-binned for the second time in his career.
With Mahoney holding onto his jumper, Smith struck him several times in an act of frustration before getting sent off for 10 minutes.
The two-time premiership star said there was no malice in the altercation.
"Absolutely not," Smith said when asked if he was trying to strike his fellow Queenslander.
"Reed had a really good hold of me after I kicked the ball and he wouldn't let go.
"I missed the mark and clipped him high. It wasn't intentional. But the ruling was that I got him. It's a consistent ruling with what happened last night so I'm happy with that."
Smith could now miss next weekend's preliminary final against the Roosters, but is more likely to escape with a fine after South Sydney's Cody Walker was financially sanctioned for a similar incident.
However, if the Storm skipper is charged with striking, ge will miss the grand final qualifier.
Mahoney talked down the incident.
"I didn't really feel it, I just got up and it was a penalty," Mahoney said.
"We had a good laugh at the end."
The Parramatta hooker, who grew up idolising Smith, said he was simply trying to get in the head of the Melbourne great.
"I just held on to him a bit longer and he didn't like it," Mahoney said.
"I've got a lot of respect for Cam Smith, he's done everything in the game."