Andrew Johns goes public with startling claim after Manly dudded in NRL penalty furore

The NRL icon believes Josh Aloiai shouldn't have been penalised for making contact with Shaun Johnson as he attempted a two-point field goal.

Andrew Johns has leapt to the defence of Josh Aloiai after the Manly prop was hit with a dangerous contact charge, following a controversial incident late in Saturday's 22-22 draw with the Warriors. While trying to put pressure on New Zealand half Shaun Johnson as he attempted to kick a two-point field goal to send the game into extra time, the forward made contact with the halfback's legs and gave away a match-levelling penalty from in front of the posts.

Not only did that penalty cost the Sea Eagles the win but following the match the NRL rubbed salt into the wounds of Aloiai, slapping him with a grade-two dangerous contact charge. The charge means he will miss Manly's trip to Gold Coast next weekend with an early guilty plea or risk a second game on the sidelines if he fights the charge and loses.

Pictured Andrew Johns left and Manly players furious at referee on right
Andrew Johns has leapt to the defence Josh Aloiai after the Manly prop was charged following a controversial incident late in Saturday's 22-22 draw with the Warriors. Image: Getty

But Johns believes he shouldn't have been charged at all as in his opinion the incident wasn't a penalty in the first place. Despite his history of being vocal about the need to protect playmakers, Johns says it was an accident and believes the contact wasn't serious.

"I am all for protecting kickers and playmakers, I probably go over the top on it, but it wasn't a penalty," Johns said on Nine's Sunday Footy Show. "He's competing. And when you compete hard, occasionally accidents happen. That was just an accident."


LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 01:  Anthony Seibold, head coach of the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, talks to the media before a NRL Captain's Run at Allegiant Stadium, on March 01, 2024, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Manly coach Anthony Seibold gave a measured response to the controversy that saw the Warriors snatch a nail-biting draw with the Sea Eagles in Auckland.

Anthony Seibold refuses to comment on the controversial decision

Manly coach Anthony Seibold gave a measured response when asked about his thoughts on the incident. The Sea Eagles coach refused to analyse the coming together saying: "It's probably something I don't want to make comment on."

"Because if I say it shouldn't have been a penalty I'll be called a whinger," he continued. "If I say it should have been a penalty then potentially I'm not looking after the players in my group. It was adjudicated a penalty and we get on with it."

NRL world split over contentious decision

The Warriors' controversial late penalty proved the biggest talking point out of the past weekend's game, with many viewers arguing that Aloiai never initiated the contact with Johnson, whose leg followed through and hit his arms as a result of the field goal attempt. Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans said he understood the decision to protect the kicker despite finding the decision a bitter pill to swallow.

While Warriors coach Andrew Webster didn't see why there was even a debate, stating it was a clear penalty. "It's definitely the right call," Webster said. "It's unfortunate. I don't think Josh meant it. He's trying to charge the ball down.

"He's going for a field goal and Josh has to do that. He's got to go for the ball. It's unfortunate what happened, but it's fortunate for us." But the NRL world didn't see it as so black and white, with debate raging on X throughout the weekend.

with AAP