Disturbing photo emerges amid NRL rule controversy

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Brian To'o's nasty cramp towards the end of Penrith's demolition job on Manly highlighted just how demanding the league is after various moves to speed the game up. Picture: Fox League/Twitter
Brian To'o's nasty cramp towards the end of Penrith's demolition job on Manly highlighted just how demanding the league is after various moves to speed the game up. Picture: Fox League/Twitter

The NRL has made deliberate attempts to speed the game up heading into the 2021 season, but the toll of faster play was plain to see for Brian To’o late in Penrith's thumping of Manly.

Despite doing his best work in the first half, with two tries in the Panthers' 46-6 demolition job on Manly at Brookvale Oval, To'o had league fans looking away from their screens after suffering a nasty cramp in his calf during the second half.

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The 22-year-old winger's right calf completely seized up after a tackle, leaving viewers feeling a little squeamish at the sight of the contracted muscle.

However some quick stretching made short work of the problem, with To'o playing out the rest of the match with no issues.

Amid an NRL crackdown on players wasting time on the ground in an effort to give teammates a moment to catch their breath, To'o avoided the new rule whereby players must remain on the bench for two minutes if club trainers call on the referee to stop play.

The rule was introduced after former Melbourne Storm star Suliasi Vunivalu was fined $10,000 by the NRL for his deliberate time-wasting during last season's finals.

Players can avoid the rule by asking the referee to stop the game themselves, however To'o didn't see fit to do so himself.

The nasty cramp did little to sour To'o's mood after the 40-point thumping of the Sea Eagles, the team's worst ever loss at their home ground.

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Manly hit new low in Penrith NRL flogging

Manly sunk to their worst start to a season in both attack and defence after Viliame Kikau monstered their defence and powered Penrith to a 46-6 flogging of the Sea Eagles.

A week after pulling off the try-saver of the season to win the game for Penrith against Melbourne, Kikau was at his damaging best in attack at Lottoland.

The second-rower bagged a double on Thursday night, busting through six tackles and putting on two offloads while likely leaving Daly Cherry-Evans having nightmares about tackling him.

Jarome Luai was also superb, dazzling the Sea Eagles' defence with his quick feet and hands as he set up four tries.

The demolition job compounded what had already been a horror start to Manly's season, which is now their worst ever opening month in the club's 74-year history.

Manly fell to their worst-ever loss at Brookvale Oval on Thursday night, thrashed 46-6 by the Penrith Panthers. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Manly fell to their worst-ever loss at Brookvale Oval on Thursday night, thrashed 46-6 by the Penrith Panthers. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Manly's 34 points scored in the opening month is their lowest through four rounds, while the 156 points conceded is also a record worst through the period.

"You always go through tough periods for sure," coach Des Hasler said.

"This is another one. These experiences are certainly going to be part of our recovery.

"There was certainly a bit of miscommunication and disconnect (in defence). We need to address that."

Manly have more bodies to add to their casualty ward.

Morgan Boyle dislocated his shoulder in another blow to the Sea Eagles' back-row stocks, while centre Moses Suli copped a knee to the back.

They could at least get Tom Trbojevic back next week against the Warriors, but Hasler has warned he won't solve all their problems.

With AAP

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