Dane Cordner - the older brother of Australian rugby league captain Boyd - was taunted for being a "nobody" before he punched Newcastle Knights NRL prop Jacob Saifiti in the face, a court has heard.
Saifiti was allegedly on a drunken bender acting aggressively towards another patron outside a pub when Cordner stepped in and there was a heated exchange.
Cordner, 29, of Adamstown, has pleaded not guilty to causing reckless grievous bodily harm to Saifiti outside the Greenroof Hotel in Hamilton in late 2018.
Cordner claims he was acting in self-defence.
Defence barrister Jack Tyler-Stott put it to Saifiti in the Newcastle Local Court on Monday that Cordner told him to leave the other patron alone.
''Enough's enough, you hero,'' Cordner allegedly told Saifiti. ''Look at the size of you.''
Saifiti - a 195 centimetre tall Fijian international rugby league player - allegedly responded: "Who the f*** are you Cordner? You're a nobody.''
Mr Tyler-Stott said Cordner then told Saifiti he was going to be a nobody soon because of the way he was acting.
"The Knights are going to tear up your contract," Cordner claimed he told the Newcastle prop.
Saifiti said he could not remember the conversation taking place and denied being aggressive.
He had earlier admitted to drinking at a wine tasting event from 1pm and visiting a number of hotels before being knocked to the ground by Cordner 13 hours later. He broke his ankle in the process.
The prop said on a scale of 1 to 10 - where 10 was staggering drunk - he was about a five or six when the altercation with Cordner happened just after 2am on December 2.
Saifiti told the court he'd been grabbed by the throat by another man outside the pub but didn't touch him when security separated them.
He claimed he then confronted the same man a short time later to tell him not to grab him again when Cordner stepped in, pushed him in the chest and punched him.
The prop fell awkwardly and broke his ankle requiring an operation where a plate and two pins were inserted.
Quoting from a show-cause notice report compiled by the Knights after the December 2018 incident, Mr Tyler-Stott said Saifiti and the senior playing group had been warned not to drink before going out that day to farewell a former teammate.
The report claimed Saifiti had, however, been encouraging younger players to go out drinking with him on the day and ended up behaving in a "drunken and outlandish manner" not befitting an elite player at the Knights.
Saifiti was fined $50,000 by the club over the incident, with half the fine later suspended.
The hearing, before magistrate Robert Stone, continues on Tuesday.
Australian Associated Press