A Penrith trainer is facing a suspension for the remainder of the season, another has been warned and the club fined $25,000 for stopping play during last Saturday night’s 8-6 elimination of Parramatta.
The Eels were on the attack in the dying minutes of the semi-final when the incident took place.
The NRL has issued the Panthers with a breach notice proposing the penalties against the club and their orange shirt trainer Pete Green, who would be banned from accessing the field of play and sideline for the remainder of the 2021 season after an alleged breach of the game’s operations manual.
The manual makes it clear that a head trainer can only stop play after making an initial assessment that a doctor is required to enter the field of play.
Match Highlights: Panthers v Eels
However, Green is alleged to have told a touch judge from the sideline to stop the game in the 76th minute after interchange forward Mitch Kenny sustained an ankle injury.
The NRL has also issued a warning to Penrith’s blue shirt trainer for his role in the stoppage.
The Panthers have five business days to respond to the breach notice. A provisional suspension applies until the club’s response has been received.
Penrith players fronted the media after the breach notice was announced on Tuesday and said Green was only concerned with Kenny's welfare.
However, they insisted Green's on-field absence wouldn't impair the team in Saturday afternoon's preliminary final against Melbourne.
Episode 30 - Final four set for prelim final showdowns
"Mitch was in a bit of distress there, he looked in quite a lot of pain, so I thought Greenie was just trying to look after our player as best he could and that was getting the game stopped," fullback Dylan Edwards said.
"Because you never know what could happen in rugby league; the ball could spill back and he could be in the way there and he wasn't in a real good state to move."
Five-eighth Jarome Luai said the team would be comfortable facing the Storm at Suncorp Stadium no matter who fills Green's void.