Cleary shuts down May questions

NRL Rd 9 - Rabbitohs v Panthers
The Panthers were unable to comment on Taylan May’s court case just hours after the centre pleaded not guilty to several charges which could see him stood down for the rest of the season. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary has shut down questions about Taylan May after the star centre pleaded not guilty to three domestic violence-related charges when he appeared in court on Tuesday.

May was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two counts of stalking or intimidating another person with the intention of causing them to fear physical or mental harm.

The charges stem from an alleged incident involving his wife where it’s alleged he punched her in the face and then stalked her.

May has been stood down under the NRL’s no-fault stand down policy which means he won’t be allowed to play until his case is finalised, although he could still receive full pay while he sits out.

Cleary was asked about it on Tuesday afternoon but couldn’t add anything to the statement the club put out last week.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NewsWire Photos - 28 MAY, 2024: Penrith Panthers player Tylan May leaving Penrith Local Court as he faces allegations of domestic violence. Picture: NewsWire / Nathan Schmidt
Taylan May appeared at Penrith Local Court on Tuesday to fight allegations of domestic violence. Picture: NewsWire / Nathan Schmidt

“I’m not going to talk about it. It’s a legal matter,” he said.

May will miss Saturday’s game against the Dragons along with Penrith’s five State of Origin stars, including debutant Dylan Edwards who edged out former Blues skipper James Tedesco for the fullback spot.

Edwards has played a key role in their three-straight premiership wins, with his coach delighted to see him rewarded for all his hard work.

New South Wales State of Origin Media Opportunity
Dylan Edwards will make his State of Origin debut next week. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

“I’m really happy for Dyl,” Cleary said.

“He’s been such a soldier for us for so long. He played all the big games and he’s always been one of our best. This year I reckon he’s stepped it up even more.

“To edge out such a great player in Teddy, I think that speaks volumes for how well he’s going. I think he’s primed for this sort of opportunity.”

The Panthers have paid the price for their success in recent years with other players having to step up during the Origin period.

This year will be no different, but Cleary is confident his troops can get the job done on the back of their eye-catching 42-0 win over the ladder-leading Sharks.

“It’s a challenge, but it’s one we’ve faced before,” he said.

“It puts your systems and your culture under the microscope, and all we can do is worry about how we play.

“I just hope that our loyal Panthers community come out and support the boys this Saturday night.”