Joanna Burgess has hit back after being dragged into the messy breakdown of her brother-in-law's marriage — but appears to have taken a shot at Sam Burgess's estranged wife Phoebe in the process.

Joanna, the wife of George Burgess, expressed her frustration at having a hashtag that accompanied a photograph of a family Christmas lunch interpreted as a dig at Phoebe.

Joanna posted an image of the Burgess family — sans Phoebe — celebrating end-of-year festivities at Watsons Bay and wrote: "#bestoneyet".

Some outlets reported it as a declaration by Joanna the family was better of without Phoebe, prompting her to clarify the situation.

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Joanna Burgess's Instagram post. Photo / Instagram
Joanna Burgess's Instagram post. Photo / Instagram

"No need to drag my family or I into any of this — thank you," Joanna wrote.

"It is not in my nature to take a 'dig' at someone. Phoebe has never joined the 'Burgess' side for previous Christmas festivities therefore my # couldn't possibly be aimed at her! This year was no different to last year on her behalf.

"My last years Christmas upload I used a similar caption as it was our sons first Christmas, this year we had our daughter join the three of us hence it being the #bestoneyet !"

Despite her claim she's not the type to "take a dig at someone" it's hard not to interpret her mention of Phoebe's lack of involvement with the Burgess's Christmas gatherings as anything else.

Particularly in the wake of reports tensions between the families of Sam and Phoebe played a part in the glamour couple's marriage breakdown.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs star married Phoebe at her parents' property in Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands in December 2015 and that occasion was reportedly a source of tension between both families.

According to The Daily Telegraph, issues between friends and family members led to a scheduled recovery session the day after being cancelled. The publication also reports Phoebe and the partners of Burgess's brothers — also rugby league stars — did not get along.

Burgess was seen leaving his and Phoebe's Maroubra home in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs during the week, carrying packed bags and not wearing his wedding ring.

They have two children together. Daughter Poppy is nearly two years old and on December 9 the couple celebrated the arrival of a son named William, or "Billy".

The power couple's relationship faced some challenges this year after Burgess was embroiled in controversy when he was caught in the middle of a sexting scandal.

Sam and Phoebe Burgess. Photo / Instagram
Sam and Phoebe Burgess. Photo / Instagram

He was cleared of any wrongdoing by Souths, but Sam admitted the media attention had taken a devastating toll on his family.

Burgess was found to have done nothing wrong after the club investigated claims a woman was exposed to lewd images of Rabbitohs players on social media. In emails to the club, the 23-year-old woman claimed she felt violated in a social media interaction with players, who she claimed exposed themselves to her in a video chat.