Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Many stories came out of the tight clash between the Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels last Saturday night, with the two sides putting on a clinic that saw Penrith escape with victory and qualify for a Preliminary Final clash with the Melbourne Storm tomorrow night.
Arguably the biggest story that came out of the game though was the investigation into Panthers trainer Peter Green calling for the game to be stopped before entering the field of play to check on an injured Mitchell Kenny.
Green would subsequently be suspended for the rest of the 2021 NRL season and the Panthers were slapped with a $25,000 fine.
Penrith’s head coach Ivan Cleary has spoken publicly today about the ruling and has revealed that the club will be contesting the punishment, whilst also defending Green.
“We love Pete. He is a legend. We’re talking about a guy who is popular and outstanding at his job,” said Cleary.
“We feel bad for both of our trainers involved, one of which was named and shamed which I just think is completely unfair.
“We kind of understand how (the NRL) came to that conclusion but at the end of the day, they were just doing their job.”
Hopefully, for Penrith’s sake, this now off-field situation does not impact the club’s preparation for tomorrow’s gargantuan Preliminary Final against defending and minor premiers the Melbourne Storm, who ended the Panthers’ 17 game winning streak in the 2020 NRL Grand Final when they won 26-20.
One of these two teams will reach back to back Grand Finals, with the other being eliminated and ultimately failing this season.
In some good news for Penrith, winger Brian To’o has been cleared to play in tomorrow’s game after missing last week’s clash with Parramatta due to an ankle injury, with Fijian International Viliame Kikau cleared to play also.
Tensions will be high in this one and not just because of the recent on-field history between the two clubs, as the Mole reported yesterday that the Storm has accused the Panthers of devising a plan to curry favour with referee Bernard Sutton.
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