Debate continues to swirl around a controversial stoppage that dudded the Eels as the man at the centre of it had his motives questioned.
The Penrith Panthers are reportedly at risk of copping a whopping $20,000 fine following the controversial 76th-minute stoppage during its 8-6 victory over the Parramatta Eels.
With five minutes remaining in Saturday’s nailbiting semi-final in Mackay, Panthers hooker Mitch Kenny went down behind the play with an ankle injury following an awkward tackle on Parramatta forward Reagan Campbell-Gillard.
Penrith trainer Pete Green requested that play be stopped, allowing the Panthers to reset their defensive line and halt the Eels’ momentum as they searched for a matchwinning try.
Watch every 2021 NRL Telstra Finals Series match before Grand Final. Live & Ad-Break Free on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-days free >
According to the NRL Laws & Interpretations, trainers can only stop play if there are genuine safety concerns.
On Sunday, reports emerged that the NRL was investigating the incident, with Green at risk of being suspended for Saturday’s preliminary final against the Melbourne Storm.
Speaking on Fox League’s NRL 360, The Daily Telegraph’s Paul Kent explained why pundits were ripping into Green, who allegedly has a track record of requesting premature stoppages.
“Rather than run on and assess Kenny like he’s supposed to, and then tell the referee he needs the game stopped, he actually ran up the sideline … to the linesman where he’s saying, ‘Stop the game, stop the game’,” Kent said on Monday.
“He was 30 metres away (from Kenny).
“When you twist an ankle, you don’t stop the game.
“His priority was not to get to the injured player; it was to go up the sideline and tell the touch judge to stop the game.
“I don’t want to say it’s coached. I suspect it is, because every club does it. It happens all the time in the game.”
Veteran reporter Phil Rothfield elaborated: “He (Green) hadn’t even diagnosed the injury.
“It’s another classic NRL incident with lack of common sense.
“The injured player was in absolutely no danger whatsoever. It was behind the play, Parramatta were on the attack.
“There was no need to stop the game.”
Fox Sports reporter James Hooper suggested Penrith was staring down the barrel of a $20,000 fine for the incident.
The most scathing assessment came from rugby league icon Phil Gould, who blasted the NRL in an explosive rant on Monday evening.
“If you keep making stupid, pedantic rulings and be influenced by social media in trying to shape your game, then you‘re going to end up with this,” Gould told 100% Footy.
“And the top coaches and the top players and the referees will make a mockery of you the closer you get to the big games. And there were a number of instances on the weekend where players made a mockery of the rules. And there are a number of times where the rules have come back against us.
“How often this year have we seen trainers running on and stopping the game? It‘s been a blessing because the score’s been 50-0 a lot of the time and we wanted the game to stop. We were sick of watching it. But we’ve allowed it to go on to the point that at a crucial game in a final.
“Pete Green runs on the field, ‘Stop, stop, stop! He’s got to stop’. Why? ‘Well he’s got a bindi in his shoe.’
“This is where we get to if we listen to the fans and if people who don’t know how to implement the rules implement them. Then we allow the referees to run their own race.
“This is the receipt you get at the back end of the year when you run your competition the way you have during the year.
“Now you‘ve found out the fans are sick of it, absolutely sick of it.”
Penrith will take on Melbourne in Saturday afternoon’s preliminary final, with kick-off scheduled for 4pm AEST.