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The Manly Players are defending backrower Haumole Olakau’atu amid claims he may have used a gang sign as celebration during last week’s game.

Olakau’atu scored a try against Gold Coast then used his hands to seemingly form the numbers six and one – allegedly meaning Guildford’s postcode 2161.

It’s the Sydney suburb where he grew up, along with former Sea Eagles hooker Manase Fainu, who was jailed last week after being found guilty of stabbing a Mormon church leader in 2019.

After beckoning the numbers, Olakau’atu joined his wrists together, seen as a symbol of being handcuffed.

The NRL spoke to Manly officials about celebrating the trial this week and his gang affiliation. The NRL have also reportedly contacted the Warriors, whose prop Addin Fonua-Blake has also shown his support for Fainu.

Manly’s teammates acknowledge that Olakau’atu showed support for Fainu, but deny the gesture had any more sinister meaning.

“It’s a good gesture to try to help out a best friend,” Dylan Walker told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“I don’t think what Haumole did was a gang sign, it was dead for (Fainu). I can see why he did it because you want to help people through tough times.”

Manly veteran Kieran Foran was unconcerned with celebrating the try.

“The NRL’s concern is that you have to be careful what kind of platform you’re doing this on. There’s been a lot of postcode wars and people have lost their lives,” Foran said.

“We don’t want to encourage that side. But my personal opinion is that Haumole wasn’t encouraging that, he was showing his support to his good friend Manase.”

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