The NRL has come down on the Penrith Panthers over their use of a trainer in Saturday’s controversial semi-final win over the Parramatta Eels, issuing the club a breach notice, proposing a $25,000 fine and suspending the trainer involved.
The Panthers came under fire after stopping play for an apparent injury to Mitch Kenny in the dying minutes – at a time Parramatta were on the break and looking likely to score.
In a statement, the NRL has now alleged that Penrith’s orange trainer incorrectly stopped play in that instance.
“The [NRL’s Operations] Manual makes it clear that a Head Trainer can only stop play after making an initial assessment that circumstances require a doctor to enter the field of play.”
The NRL alleges that the orange trainer had called for a stop to play without making this assessment and without any Panthers staff on the field. He has been suspended for the rest of the season, while Penrith’s blue trainer has also been warned for his role in the incident.
Wide World of Sports initially reported that physio Pete Green was the man under investigation and had previously been investigated for a similar incident against the Sharks earlier this season – but the trainer was not implicitly named in the NRL statement.
The Panthers will be permitted to use an alternate orange trainer for the remainder of the finals.
Penrith, who have not yet responded to the breach notice, have five days to respond.