Penrith Panthers trainer Pete Green has found himself in hot water, with calls for him to be banned over an ugly incident during Saturday night's preliminary final win over South Sydney.
Cody Walker had to be pulled away from Green in ugly scenes after the Rabbitohs' 32-12 loss to the Panthers, with an alleged sledge from the Penrith trainer said to be at the centre of the drama.
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Green is accused of sledging Rabbitohs backrower Jed Cartwright about his history with back injuries, in what is set to have kicked off the explosive aftermath to Saturday night's final.
The pair know each other from their time at the Panthers, where it's understood Green was the physio in charge of taking care of Cartwright's back issues at the time.
It's not entirely clear what was said on Saturday night, but Jed's father and league icon John Cartwright says Green grossly overstepped the mark and should be banned for life.
“It’s the lowest act in the game – the lowest of the low. That’s not on. You shouldn’t have to cop any sledge off a f…ing trainer,” John Cartwright said to The Daily Telegraph.
“The game is hard enough without copping it from someone you can’t have a crack back at. It’s the height of being a coward.
“If there’s a bloke out there running with privilege, and he is privileged to be doing the job that he does, but if he’s sledging opposition players, then, as I said, he should be barred for life. I thought Jed had a great game – he didn’t deserve that.
Discussing the controversy on NRL 360 on Monday night, league journalist Paul Kent stopped short of endorsing a life ban for Green, but agreed that the Penrith trainer should be stood down from grand final duties on Sunday, when the Panthers try and make it back-to-back premierships against the Eels.
John Cartwright calls for a life ban for Panthers' trainer Pete Green following his altercation with Cody Walker.
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“He (Green) was treating him (Cartwright) for a medical condition as a physio, and he was sledging him about it during the game,” Kent said on NRL360 on Monday night.
“As John Cartwright says, a player shouldn’t have to cop a sledge off some bloke running a water bottle.
“The trainer should not be allowed to say one word to the opposition... he should be out of this week straight away.”
NRL 360 co-host Braith Anasta added: “The trainer should shut up, he has nothing to do with the game, why is he talking to a first grade rugby league player while on the field."
Panthers say trainer Pete Green did not sledge anyone
Souths officials said a "series of verbal barbs" were directed at Cartwright over a broken back he suffered during his time at Penrith.
The sledge is said to have occurred in the 69th minute when Green was on the field attending to Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards after a tackle from Cartwright.
The Panthers claim that Green simply told a Panthers player to “get back” in the line, rather than sledging anyone.
Cartwright then approached Green after full-time before Walker got involved and launched a spray at the Penrith trainer.
South Sydney are yet to lodge an official complaint to the NRL, but claim Green went too far in "targeting" Cartwright.
“When you’re in a privileged position, you should never speak to another player from an opposition team let alone say the things that were said,” a South Sydney official reportedly told the Herald.
“It’s the height of disrespect.”
Walker is believed to have been sticking up for Cartwright, with teammates Cameron Murray and Davvy Moale, as well as chief operating officer Brock Schaefer intervening and dragging Walker away.
Green was escorted from the field by Penrith officials after the exchange with Walker.
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