Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Penrith Panthers winger Taylan May has been handed a two-week suspension due to an off-field incident that resulted in him being charged with assault.
May’s suspension will come into effect at the beginning of the 2023 regular season which means he will be available to play for the Panthers in their finals clash with the Parramatta Eels on Friday night and the following game whether that be an elimination final next week or a grand final qualifier in two weeks depending on the result in the Eels game.
The decision to postpone May’s ban until the start of next year has left many fans outraged and questioning why this is the outcome of the situation with some believing it is a display of favouritism towards the Panthers.
Co-captain Nathan Cleary has fronted the media and stood up for May as Penrith prepares for their big game on Friday.
“I felt sorry for him [May] going through it all, you obviously feel for your mate that has to go through stuff like that and the scrutiny around it, as we kind of touched on there’s lessons to be learned and I’ll always respect Taylan,” said Cleary.
“He’s a great kid and if you know him personally you’ll know that too.
'He hasn’t shown any remorse'
Cleary called out after saying he ‘felt sorry’ for teammate found guilty of assault 😮
— Fox League (@FOXNRL) September 7, 2022
“One thing a lot of people like to do is judge people just from what they see without actually knowing people, but I think the people close to him know what he’s really like and we’ll always stick by him because we know what he’s like as a person.
“(The penalty) was the NRL’s decision and they’ve shown in the past they can make decisions at will.”
Penrith are currently the favourites to win on Friday night and advance to a grand final qualifier in two weeks but many have the Panthers as underdogs.
Cleary will be playing his first game in five weeks following his suspension leaving many to believe that he and the 13 players Penrith rested against the Cowboys last week will be rusty, not to mention the fact that the Eels have beaten their local rivals twice already this season.