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Roosters coach Trent Robinson has hit back at rival coach Ivan Cleary over a controversial obstruction call that denied Penrith a try that would have levelled the scores just before half-time at the SCG on Saturday night.

Nathan Cleary got across the stripe for Penrith and looked to have made it 12-all but Reagan Campbell-Gillard was ruled to have stopped in the line and obstructed Roosters prop Zane Tetevano.

The Panthers coach was adamant Tetevano had made no attempt to tackle but rather just stopped an appealed for a penalty

It would prove to be a key moment in a hard-fought clash eventually won 24-6 by the Roosters.

In his post-match press conference, Cleary was critical of a rule that "allows people not to try in defence".

Just minutes later as Robinson fronted the media he too was critical of Tetevano but more so of his opposite number Cleary.

"I'll talk to Zane about that but obviously they got their structure wrong and Reagan shouldn't stop either," Robinson said.

"I don't think that's great from Ivan to bring that up at this point of the year. I think that's poor.

"You can't be in the line. I want Zane to push through on that so I'm OK with that but if I'm going to talk to Zane he should talk to Reagan about running the play better and getting through the line."

Latrell Mitchell barges over

Robinson was pleased with the disciplined if unspectacular performance to subdue a desperate Panthers outfit.

"I thought we were good, I thought we approached the game really well. I thought we improved the longer the game went," Robinson said.

"I thought we adapted to their style of play as the game went on both defensively and offensively."

He had plenty of praise for young hooker Sam Verrills, stand-in playmaker Drew Hutchison and no-frills forwards Nat Butcher and Lindsay Collins.

Robinson expected halfback Cooper Cronk (eye) to play round 25 against the Rabbitohs while captain Boyd Cordner (calf) is likely to return with hooker Jake Friend (broken arm) still another week or two away.

Robinson was less sure on the prognosis of prop Siosiua Taukeiaho, who went off with a rib injury.

"He's OK. Rib cartilage. I think on that tackle he just got crunched down. It's usually something you can numb for next week but I can't really give you any details at the moment," Robinson said.

Verrills spots a gap in the Penrith defence

He was not expecting to rest key players for a huge grudge match against the third-placed Rabbitohs on Thursday even though they can't move from second place regardless of the result.

"We're in physically good shape. We'll need to recover well then get into next week's game," he said.

"You play the next team in front of you ... in the end you want to see your team play a certain style and you run into whoever you're going to run into.

"I'm looking forward to the fans and the banter around our area for this week. It's a short turnaround for the fans so they'll have to get in early, into the office and into their neighbours but it's a good thing.

"This is why we love this round and the excitement that goes with it. This is what the local rivalries bring out in our supporters. Let them enjoy it."