Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Photo by Channel Nine
Towards the end of last night’s epic clash between the Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels confusion arose amongst the masses as to why the Panthers used a free interchange when bringing off an injured Mitchell Kenny for Tevita Pangai Jnr.
We have since received two explanations as to what happened, with the first being that Channel Nine reporter Emma Lawrence was informed by NRL officials that Penrith had simply made a mistake and gave Pangai the wrong interchange card when he was preparing to come back onto the field, and the other explanation coming from physiotherapist Brien Seeney via his Twitter page “The NRL Physio”.
“For the Mitch Kenny “free interchange”, it was the 2nd of two free interchanges Penrith received when Niukore went on report. Penrith still had 2 regular interchanges left anyway, as they have used 6 free interchanges tonight with 3 on report incidents from the Eels,” said Seeney.
“Penrith got a free interchange to take TPJ off, which they used in the 69th min. Their next interchange is also free & the “vibe” is it’s to be used to bring TPJ back on, but it doesn’t have to be. Here they didn’t use another interchange until Kenny came off in the 76th, for TPJ.
“Has happened all year & often isn’t used to bring the “affected” player back on. Just gives teams 2 free interchanges. This is the rule teams use when a fullback is taken in a high tackle & they sub FB off for a fresh forward, then immediately FB back on replacing a tired forward.”
BREAKING: The NRL is investigating whether the Panthers breached any rules with a controversial stoppage.#9WWOShttps://t.co/QWIbGyOLj9
— NRL on Nine (@NRLonNine) September 19, 2021
The NRL has, however; seemingly changed their tune and feel the need to launch an investigation into the matter according to Michael Chammas via Nine News.
“The NRL is investigating whether the Panthers deliberately breached the rules in the dying minutes of their game against the Eels,” said Chammas.
“The incident occurred when the trainer called for time to be stopped to treat injured hooker Mitchell Kenny.
“Under the NRL’s rules, trainers are only allowed to call for play to be stopped for serious injuries after an initial assessment.
“Footage shows that when the time was called off, none of the Panthers’ trainers were even on the field.
If what Lawrence or Seeney have said is true, then it is likely the NRL are simply looking into the situation as a precaution and may not suspect anything to be wrong.
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