NRL player Korbin Sims said his genital grab on former rugby league team-mate Willie Mason was nothing more than a "harmless gesture between two friends".

The Newcastle Knights forward squeezed the genitals of the Manly forward during Sunday's 30-10 loss in Sydney. The video footage soon went viral around the world and became known, somewhat appropriately, as Williegate.

"I apologise to the fans, the NRL and people involved with the game and the club, if anyone found it inappropriate," Sims told Fairfax Media. "It was merely meant to be a harmless gesture between two friends."

Mason laughed off the incident afterwards.


"Offended? Please. I think it's hilarious," Mason said.

"Me and Korbin are really good mates. It was unlucky, the timing of it all. I knew what was going on - I was talking to him while he was doing it.

"It was quite funny, actually. He's a good young kid and I hope nothing would be done about that. "It was just two good team-mates of the last three years having a... just reacquainting."

Sims avoided sanction by the NRL match review committee.