NRL world explodes over 'disgraceful' Nathan Cleary act: 'Horrific'

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·Sports Reporter
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Nathan Cleary (pictured left) in a lifting tackle against Dylan Brown and (pictured right) Cleary being sent off in an NRL match.
Nathan Cleary was sent off for a lifting tackle (pictured left) against Dylan Brown during the Panthers' loss to the Eels in Friday's NRL match. (Images: Getty Images/Fox Sports)

Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary is facing a lengthy stint on the sidelines after a 'disgraceful' spear tackle that saw him receive a straight send off during the Panther's 34-10 loss to the Eels.

The opening stanza between the Panthers and the Eels was played at NRL finals level intensity with Parramatta 12-4 up after 18 minutes.

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However, Penrith's hopes of a comeback were quickly dashed after a moment of madness from the NSW halfback.

Cleary was sent off for a spear tackle on Eels playmaker Dylan Brown as he put his hands between the five-eighth's legs and lifted him into the air.

Brown came crashing down on his neck and shoulders, which prompted Cleary to immediately apologise as players came rushing in.

“Oh my goodness there is a problem,” Fox Sports commentator Dan Ginnane said.

“That’s Dylan Brown that was flipped over like an omelette.

“That is a horrible tackle... thank goodness Brown is OK.”

Brown was fortunately uninjured, however, it didn't save the halfback who was sent to the sheds.

Nathan Cleary (pictured) warms up before an NRL match.
Nathan Cleary (pictured) was sent off at CommBank Stadium against the Eels. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Cleary will await the adjudication of the NRL's match review committee on Saturday morning.

Following the incident there wasn't much sympathy for Cleary with the NRL world adamant he should be facing a minimum four weeks on the sideline for the 'horrible' tackle.

Panthers legend and Fox Sports commentator Greg Alexander was one that had no issue with the send-off.

“I think the refs hands were tied. It was a spear tackle, the bloke ended up on his head,” he said.

“The referee said hands between the legs, which they were, they’re the indicators the refs look for so I think the referee had no other option but to send Nathan.”

Nathan Cleary facing long stint on sideline

Manly's Karl Lawton was slapped with a four-match ban earlier this year for a lifting challenge and many claimed Cleary should receive a similar punishment.

If he is charged with a grade three dangerous throw, Cleary will face five weeks on the sideline due to a prior incident earlier in the year.

Penrith coach, and father of Nathan, Ivan Cleary said the young halfback was 'shattered'.

"I think all the boys know if they've been in that position they'd feel the same," said Ivan.

"I don't think he meant to do it. He's done a fair bit for our team over the years.

"I know Nat pretty well and this will fuel his fire for later."

The Panthers are already without five-eighth Jarome Luai and face tough assignments against Canberra, Melbourne, South Sydney, the Warriors and North Queensland.

Much of the attention will shift to Sean O'Sullivan, who will be tasked with guiding the Panthers over the coming weeks.

Following the send-off, the Eels ran riot scoring three tries before half-time.

The Panthers put in a spirited display in the second half only conceding one try, but it was all too much for the 12 men out on the park.

with AAP

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