Cleary confident Panthers duo will escape bans
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said he was confident both Adam Docker and Jeremy Latimore would have nothing to answer for after the pair were put on report in separate incidents during Monday night's 24-10 loss to Melbourne.
Docker's 50th-minute high shot on Storm forward Tim Glasby was sent upstairs before lead referee Ben Cummins ensured it would be looked at by the match review committee, while Latimore will also come under scrutiny for a crusher tackle on Bryan Norrie in the 54th.
Cleary said neither deserved to be charged, with Latimore in particular a victim of what Cleary believes is a growing trend of players staying down to attract a penalty.
"I didn't think there was much in either of them actually, especially Jeremy Latimore, which was one of those ones where he just made a good strong tackle and he ended up turning his back," Cleary said post-game.
"He certainly didn't go on with it. Once he got in that position, he realised and pulled out of it. I thought the penalty was sufficient actually but I suppose the fact that he laid on the ground for so long, I think the referees are compelled to put that on report. I think it's something that's happening a lot."
The third-year Panthers coach said he would "be very surprised" if there was a player in the NRL who would intentionally perform a crusher tackle.
"It's just the way guys end up in tackle. If you're making a tackle and someone spin their back to you, it's hard not to [get in that position]. But there's definitely no extra force. Or once you're in that position, everybody knows to pull out of it," he said.
The possible loss of Docker and Latimore would be yet another blow for a Panthers side that on Monday night played without hooker James Segeyaro, who missed the game after the recent passing away of his father.
Already without eight first-choice players, including his halfback and captain in Peter Wallace, Cleary could ill-afford to be without two more key men ahead of what now looms as a critical match against Manly at Brookvale on Sunday.
Having missed an opportunity to join the Sea Eagles at the top of the table, Penrith remain in fourth spot, just one win ahead of Melbourne and Canterbury-Bankstown.
"We're just taking each game as it comes. There's two weeks to go in this competition. You finish where you deserve, pretty much. I guess we'll look at where we are in a couple of weeks," he said.
"Obviously next week against Manly down at Brookie, it's another hard assignment. But that's what we've had for the last month. We'll take a little bit out of tonight's game and try and get that better next week."