You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

NRL head of football Graham Annesley has confirmed Penrith could face sanctions for their trainer's involvement in stopping play in the closing stages of the semi-final win over the Eels.

Annesley, in his weekly media briefing on Monday, said he was not casting a judgement on the outcome of the investigation and indicated it was likely to be completed "in the next 24 hours".

He also conceded the Eels should have been awarded a penalty in the 68th minute when Panthers pivot Jarome Luai clearly held back Mitchell Moses as Blake Ferguson made a break down the right wing.

Annesley referred to the rules around the treatment of injuries to remind clubs that any trainer who "attempts to unnecessarily stop play for tactical reasons will not only be liable to Penalty under the provisions of the NRL Rules, but may also be ordered from the playing area for the remainder of the Match".

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur was fuming following the 8-6 loss in Mackay after Penrith trainer Pete Green asked referee Ashley Klein to stop play due to hooker Mitch Kenny's injured ankle in back play while the Eels were deep on the attack in the 76th minute.

Annesley said there has been "quite a number" of breach notices handed out to teams this season for trainers breaking the rules, but "the match officials have no real role in deciding whether to stop the game or not".

Get Caught Up: Finals Week 2 must-see moments

"Once the trainer tells the referee or the touch judge that the game needs to be stopped, the referees have got a responsibility to stop it," he said.

"You might recall there was an incident a few seasons ago involving a North Queensland Cowboys player [Nene Macdonald] where the officials didn't stop the game and all hell broke loose out of that incident.

"Referees are not doctors, touch judges are not doctors. If they are told by a medical person that the game needs to stop, they have no option but to stop the game."

A Fairfax report on Monday revealed that Green was served with a show-cause notice for unnecessarily stopping play in Penrith's round 14 win over the Sharks.

It was also highlighted that Green wasn't on the field when play was halted for Kenny, but Annesley said trainers don't necessarily need to be on the paddock to conduct an "initial assessment" as per the rules.

"Sometimes things can be observed from a distance depending on the nature of the injury. I don't want to go into too much detail because, as I said, it is currently being reviewed," he said.

"A player could be injured very close to the sideline, for example, or it could be very obvious that a player has suffered a serious injury.

"I'm not saying that's what the case was in this particular incident - that will be determined - but it can be very obvious that there's a serious injury and the game needs to be stopped.

"There can also be situations where a player is at risk of being caught up in the play if the play continues."

Despite the controversy, Annesley believes stoppages for minor injuries have decreased because of the rule brought in this season stipulating if a trainer calls for play to cease, the injured player must leave the field for at least two minutes of elapsed game-time.

"We've seen it implemented a number of times where the player has had to leave the field rather than stay on the field after the game's been stopped," he said.

"In this particular case, the player [Kenny] did leave the field, so it's definitely worked in that regard.

"Whether we need to do more or not is something that we will certainly review at the end of the season, but it's definitely made an impact."

Arthur happy with performance but displeased with missed infringements

On the Moses incident, Annesley admitted the touch judge should have picked up the interference by Luai.

However, he said a penalty was sufficient "because it wasn't a professional foul in terms of a try-scoring situation - certainly not for Moses, anyway".

The Bunker cannot intervene in general play and thus couldn't alert the officials to the infringement as the game didn't break down.

"This is a miss by the touch judge in this case. For as long as I've been involved in the game, back-play is the realm of the touch judge," Annesley said.

However, he said Klein was right to call Eels hooker Ray Stone for a contentious knock-on from dummy half and for utility Will Smith to be pinged for a high shot on Panthers forward Liam Martin.

He showed a frame-by-frame replay of Stone's error to demonstrate that it was a "knock-on" while he described Smith's hit under the chin of Martin as a penalty for high contact "by any standard".

Elsewhere, Annesley backed the officials over a call in the closing stages when Clint Gutherson lost possession in a three-man Penrith tackle near the sideline and it was not ruled a strip.

Match Highlights: Panthers v Eels

Panthers centre Paul Momirovski locked up the ball in the tackle but Annesley was adamant there was no "raking motion" that caused Gutherson to lose possession. Parramatta retained possession.

"If you make contact with the ball in the course of making a tackle, that doesn't automatically mean six-again," Annesley said.

"For it to be six-again, [Momirovski] would have had to have touched it after it comes loose or it would have had to be a steal or a rake."

As for the 7-2 penalty count in Penrith's favour, Annesley said five of them were mandatory decisions (four for high contact and one for a tackle off the ball) that gave the referee no option but to blow the whistle.

"That [penalty count] in itself is not typically an issue that I would be concerned about because some teams offend more than others," Annesley said.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners