'Really dangerous': NRL debate erupts over contentious Nathan Cleary act

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·Sports Reporter
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Nathan Cleary will not be suspended for his tackle on Billy Walters.
Nathan Cleary escaped an NRL ban for this tackle on Brisbane's Billy Walters, which saw him placed on report by the referee. Pictures: Channel 9

Nathan Cleary has escaped suspension after being placed on report for a dangerous tackle, but several NRL greats have expressed their alarm at the move involved.

Penrtih scored a convincing 40-12 win over the Brisbane Broncos on Friday night, but it was soured afer Clearly was put on report for a brutal tackle which saw him sling Brisbane's Billy Walters to the turf in the second half.

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Channel 9 commentator Andrew Johns was troubled by the tackle in the moment, describing it as 'really dangerous'.

Johns had called for Clearly to earn a one-week ban for the one-on-one tackle, however the NRL disagreed.

On Saturday morning it was announced Cleary would be handed a $1000 fine for the charge with an early guilty plea, with the fine to increase to $1500 challenged unsuccessfully at the judiciary.

I think it’s dangerous, I think it’s really dangerous,” John said on the live broadcast.

“It’s not a hip-drop — and they have so many different terminologies for different wrestling moves — but that is dangerous.”

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary, on the other hand, was baffled when his star player and son was placed on report.

Cleary apologised to Walters almost immediately after completing the tackle, which fellow Channel 9 commentator Billy Slater said was the type of action 'we don’t want to see in our game'.

Nevertheless, the Panthers coach was unhappy about the report.

“I don’t know what he was put on report for,” Cleary said of his son's tackle on Walters.

“It definitely wasn’t a hip-drop because it was a one man tackle. I don’t know the exact definition of a hip drop, but it is basically when someone is tackled and then... I mean I don’t know.

“It was more like a Cumberland throw maybe.”

Panthers cruise to easy NRL victory over hapless Broncos

The tackle was the only blemish on Cleary's best game since his off-season shoulder surgery, as he kicked brilliantly and set up three tries.

The performance came just days after he and father Ivan signed new five-year deals at the club, with the coach claiming his No.7's match fitness and involvements were back.

The coach also compared the tackle to an old-school throw, which involved using the legs to get the opponent to ground in a tackle.

"It looked a bit awkward. But sometimes that happens," Ivan said.

"You don't have to do something illegal for something to look awkward."

Brisbane lock Kobe Hetherington and Canterbury utility Brandon Wakeham were also charged out of Friday's games, with both also able to take fines.

The Penrith Panthers convincingly outclassed the Brisbane Broncos 40-12 on Good Friday. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)
The Penrith Panthers convincingly outclassed the Brisbane Broncos 40-12 on Good Friday. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

The Panthers' middle also had a field day, with Liam Martin, Spencer Leniu and Scott Sorensen all bagging tries and the latter having the finest game of his career.

Their domination overshadowed the excellence of Kotoni Staggs, with the Brisbane centre putting his hand up for Latrell Mitchell's NSW State of Origin jersey.

Adam Reynolds also had his best night in Broncos colours, kicking nicely and laying on a try with his boot.

But it was one of the few bright spots for Brisbane, who lost Tesi Niu to a hamstring injury but only trailed 12-6 at halftime despite Payne Haas headlining a glut of missing stars.

With AAP

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