Penrith approach NRL over Souths tactics on Cleary

1 week ago 10
PR Distribution

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary has urged NRL match officials to protect halfback Nathan Cleary from unnecessary contact in a bid to throw off the star's lethal kicking game tomorrow night.

The Panthers suspect the Rabbitohs are planning an ambush on Cleary as they try to limit the impact of his kicking game, in a an effort to make things easier for rookie fullback Blake Taaffe.

READ MORE: Michael Schumacher's wife breaks down discussing legend's near-fatal skiing accident

READ MORE: Billy Slater named as 'frontrunner' for Maroons coach gig

READ MORE: Crunch time looms for Manchester United and Ronaldo

It comes after the Panthers recently discovered that Rabbitohs officials made a series of complaints to the NRL after Penrith's victory against Souths in round 23. South Sydney was fuming about "blockers" giving Cleary extra time to put up his floating bombs.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett, when coaching Queensland during last year's State of Origin series, also raised similar concerns with the tactics used by NSW to protect Cleary.

Nathan Cleary in Souths' crosshairs. (Getty)

The Rabbitohs also highlighted a moment where Isaah Yeo was seen using illegal blocking tactics missed by the referees when the two teams squared off at Suncorp Stadium three weeks ago.

Cleary dominated that game with his trademark floating bombs which led to several mistakes from Josh Mansour and Latrell Mitchell.

The Panthers have hit back though, identifying incidents in games against Souths over the past two seasons where Cleary is clearly targeted.

Ivan Cleary said that his son is constantly targeted by defenders after kicking, and believes more needs to be done to protect his playmaker.

"Nathan is targeted every match and often the contact is outside the current protection interpretations," he said. "In fact, I don't think we have ever received a penalty for a late hit, or unnecessary contact on him, which is extraordinary considering the amount of kicks he executes."

Under the NRL's rules, blockers must be stationary or moving forward, and not able to change direction backwards or sideways.

The highest paid NRL players of the 2021 finals series

For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!

Read Entire Article