NRL confirms Cleary kick ruling
The NRL says correct protocols were followed when Nathan Cleary was not granted an extra conversion attempt in Penrith's two-point loss to Parramatta, despite an Eels trainer running across the goals.
Investigations are continuing into the Friday night incident, after Eels assistant Steve Murphy ran across the field from Parramatta's huddle and near the posts as Cleary took a shot at goal.
Cleary's conversion attempt narrowly missed, leaving the score at 14-10 in the Panthers' favour before the Eels eventually won 22-20.
Under the NRL's operations manual, trainers must not enter the line of sight of a kicker when he is attempting a shot at goal, or do anything that unnecessarily impacts or distracts an opposition player.
While there is no suggestion Murphy acted deliberately, Parramatta are expected to be spoken to about the situation and will likely be handed a breach notice.
"There is a provision in the international laws of the game that allows for another kick if another player tries to distract a kicker," the NRL's head of football Graham Annelsey said.
"But there is no reference in there whatsoever if a trainer tries to distract a kicker.
"This is an operational matter, as opposed to an on-field matter."
Asked if there should be a rule which allows players to take kicks again in the event of a trainer distracting them, Annesley said: "It's one of those things we will review.
"This happens very rarely. But could something be written into our operational procedures to deal with that? Technically, yes it could be."
Annesley did however admit there was "no excuse" for officials missing Viliame Kikau's clear knock-on in the play before Penrith's try on half-time.
Replays showed referee Gerard Sutton put the whistle to his mouth, before a sideline official advised him the ball went backwards.
Annesley said the fault lay with both officials.
"If he (the touch judge) was unsure or if he was unsighted, he should have let play go without an opinion," Annesley said.
"There's no doubt that was a knock on ... It should not have been play-on."
The NRL's football boss did, however, defend the bunker's decision to deny Jason Taumalolo a try in North Queensland's win over Newcastle.
Annesley was adamant it could not be proven that defender Lachlan Fitzgibbon initiated contact with decoy-runner Jeremiah Nanai, but rejected claims the bunker should stay out of obstruction calls.
"If we don't get the bunker involved in these decisions the referee will have many more incidents in the game to rule on," Annesley said.
"And when you're on ground level ... the odds of you getting it right are quite slim."
Meanwhile the NRL is continuing a probe into whether South Sydney fielded an ineligible player in Trent Peoples in their loss to Brisbane.
© AAP 2022
Image: Parramatta Eels Facebook