NRL responds after Parramatta Eels trainer caught in illegal act

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
The trainer, pictured here running in front of the posts while Nathan Cleary was taking a conversion.
The trainer ran in front of the posts while Nathan Cleary was taking a conversion. Image: Twitter/Getty

The NRL have confirmed they are investigating the actions of a Parramatta Eels trainer who ran in front of the posts while Nathan Cleary was taking a conversion.

However they have revealed why Cleary wasn't awarded a second shot at goal when the kick missed.

Parramatta's blue shirt trainer Steve Murphy could be seen running straight in front of the posts while Cleary was attempting to convert a Panthers try in their 22-20 loss to the Eels on Friday night.

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Cleary's conversion attempt narrowly missed to the right, leaving the score at 14-10 in the Panthers' favour before the Eels eventually won.

Under the NRL's operations manual, trainers must not enter the line of sight of a kicker when he is attempting a shot at goal, or do anything that unnecessarily impacts or distracts an opposition player.

While there is no suggestion Murphy acted deliberately, Parramatta are expected to be spoken to about the situation and will likely be handed a breach notice.

Speaking about the incident on Monday, the NRL's head of football Graham Annelsey confirmed reports it was being looked at.

However he revealed there is no provision in the rules that allows a referee to award a second shot at goal due to the actions of a trainer.

"There is a provision in the international laws of the game that allows for another kick if another player tries to distract a kicker," Annelsey said.

"But there is no reference in there whatsoever if a trainer tries to distract a kicker.

"This is an operational matter, as opposed to an on-field matter."

Asked if there should be a rule which allows players to be awarded re-take in the event of a trainer distracting them, Annesley said: "It's one of those things we will review.

"This happens very rarely. But could something be written into our operational procedures to deal with that? Technically, yes it could be."

Graham Annesley not happy with Villiame Kikau incident

Annesley did however admit there was "no excuse" for officials missing Viliame Kikau's clear knock-on in the play before Penrith's try on half-time.

Replays showed referee Gerard Sutton put the whistle to his mouth, before a sideline official advised him the ball went backwards.

Annesley said the fault lay with both officials.

"If he (the touch judge) was unsure or if he was unsighted, he should have let play go without an opinion," Annesley said.

"There's no doubt that was a knock-on ... It should not have been play-on."

The NRL's football boss also defended the bunker's decision to deny Jason Taumalolo a try in North Queensland's win over Newcastle.

NRL head of football Graham Annesley, pictured here speaking to the media.
NRL head of football Graham Annesley speaks to the media. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Annesley was adamant it could not be proven that defender Lachlan Fitzgibbon initiated contact with decoy-runner Jeremiah Nanai, but rejected claims the bunker should stay out of obstruction calls.

"If we don't get the bunker involved in these decisions the referee will have many more incidents in the game to rule on," Annesley said.

"And when you're on ground level ... the odds of you getting it right are quite slim."

The NRL is also continuing a probe into whether South Sydney fielded an ineligible player in Trent Peoples in their loss to Brisbane.

Peoples ran for 110 metres and made 24 tackles in a brilliant debut performance.

However veteran journalist Phil Rothfield reported on Monday that Peoples isn't actually registered properly with the NRL, an oversight that could have seen Souths docked the two competition points if they had have won.

with AAP

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