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Melbourne United star Chris Goulding has withdrawn an explosive allegation he made against a Cairns player during United’s 81-77 loss to the Taipans on Thursday night.

Late in the third quarter of the clash, a visibly filthy Goulding confronted referee Vaughan Mayberry after he was handed a rare technical foul.

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During a heated exchange with Mayberry right in front of fans sitting courtside, Goulding could be heard on the TV broadcast yelling: “He shoved a finger up my a***.”

It’s unclear which Cairns player Goulding was referring to.

An agitated Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman asked the referee for an explanation after hearing Goulding’s allegation.

Mayberry responded: “He’s going nuts on the sideline. I don’t see that part of the play.”

Vickerman hit back: “Exactly”.

Goulding was dragged away by teammate Xavier Rathan-Mayes before the situation could escalate any further.

The shooting guard was substituted at the time of the tech foul, when United was still leading the Taipans 57-52 with three minutes left in the third quarter.

Cairns were mounting a comeback and the incident was a turning point of sorts as the Taipans went on to take the lead and claim their fourth victory of the NBL season.

The exchange between Goulding and referee Mayberry could be heard on the ESPN broadcast of the game even though the commentators missed the incident and didn’t pick up on Goulding’s explosive comments.

In a statement issued to News Corp, Melbourne United said it was aware of an incident that occurred during the game against the Taipans and Goulding withdrew the allegation.

“The comments I made during the game last night were in the heat of the moment and just reactionary,” the 33-year-old sharpshooter said.

“I had just been given a technical (foul), so I was obviously frustrated and I apologise.”“We have a big game this weekend against the Kings, and winning that is the only thing I’m focused on.”

Cairns Taipans CEO Mark Beecroft told News Corp he has spoken to officials from United and the NBL and isn’t expected to result in action by the league.

With a weakened roster from last year, United have had a mixed start to the season and sit equal seventh on the ladder with two wins.

After struggling last year, the Taipans have been a surprise packet this season and are remarkably on top of the NBL ladder following the win over Melbourne and the Sydney Kings’ narrow loss to the Adelaide 36ers on Friday night.

Melbourne United next take on the Kings at John Cain Arena on Sunday afternoon.

NBL Round 4

South East Melbourne Phoenix def New Zealand Breakers 99-77

Cairns Taipans def Melbourne United 81-77

Adelaide 36ers def Sydney Kings 92-99

South East Melbourne Phoenix vs Brisbane Bullets — Saturday 5.30pm AEDT

Tasmania JackJumpers vs Perth Wildcats — Saturday 8pm AEDT

Cairns Taipans vs New Zealand Breakers — Sunday 2pm AEDT

Melbourne United vs Sydney Kings — Sunday 4pm AEDT

Illawarra Hawks vs Brisbane Bullets — Monday 7.30pm AEDT

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