The NRL may issue a breach notice to Melbourne after a trainer stopped play to attend to Suliasi Vunivalu’s cramp during a crucial point in Saturday’s win over Parramatta.
NRL head of football Graham Annesley will seek an explanation from the Storm as to why a trainer motioned to referee Ashley Klein to stop play.
Annesley said it appeared to be a tactical ploy from the Storm which breached NRL rules.
Under the rules, a trainer who attempts to unnecessarily stop play for tactical reasons can be ordered from the playing area for the remainder of the match.
The incident occurred in backplay while the Eels were on a roll in attack, 30 metres out from the Storm’s line.
Annesley said the trainer signalled to Klein to stop play before he had reached Vunivalu, without knowing the extent of his injury.
The winger then received treatment for what appeared to be a leg cramp, holding up play for several seconds under protest from Eels skipper Clint Gutherson.
“Rules are pretty clear. We need to seek an explanation from the Storm on that incident, which we will do,” Annesley said on Monday.
“But on the face of it, it would appear to be a contravention of the rules.
“We’ll be in touch with the Storm and decide if that matter goes any further.”
Annesley also defended Klein’s decision to stop the match in response to the signal from Storm’s trainer.
He said discretion should not lie with the referee in these cases and clubs have a responsibility to make sure games are stopped appropriately.
Despite a gutsy effort from the Eels, Storm clinched the 36-24 win to advance through to the preliminary final in a fortnight.