Penrith trainer banned, club fined $25,000

Penrith have been fined $25,000 fine for the actions of a trainer late in their win over Parramatta.
Penrith have been fined $25,000 fine for the actions of a trainer late in their win over Parramatta.

Penrith have come to the defence of Pete Green, insisting the club physio was just doing his job when he stopped play in the dying minutes of the Panthers' NRL semi-final win.

The Panthers have been fined $25,000 and Green suspended for the rest of the season for breaching NRL rules in the controversial two-point win over Parramatta.

The NRL handed down a breach notice to the Panthers and head trainer Green, who stopped play when he saw Mitch Kenny in agony with an ankle injury in the 76th minute.

NRL rules state trainers must not signal to the referee to stop play until an initial assessment has been performed, which was not done on the field, and only then it should be stopped for serious injury.

At the time the Eels, two points down, were riding a surge of momentum and had a numbers overlap 10 metres out from Penrith's line.

However, the stoppage in play to attend to Kenny's injured ankle - which will keep him out of Saturday's preliminary final against Melbourne - allowed the Panthers to adjust their defensive line and hold on for the win.

The Panthers maintain it wasn't a deliberate ploy to stop the game, but merely an action of a physio concerned for a player in pain.

"I'm not across the ruling as such, but Greeny is a terrific physio and a great bloke who is honestly just doing his job," said forward Kurt Capewell.

"As you can see Mitch Kenny has a serious injury in his ankle and he won't be playing this week so (Green) definitely made the right call in stopping the game.

"The NRL obviously has rules in place to stop people abusing those situations but Greeny wasn't thinking about that, he's all about the welfare of the player."

The sanction is a significant whack for the Panthers given Green was also issued a show cause for a similar incident involving Viliame Kikau earlier in the year.

The Panthers claim they responded to the breach notice explaining the seriousness of Kikau's hamstring injury and received no response from the NRL.

Believing the incident had been sufficiently explained and waived, they were shocked by the severity of Tuesday's breach notice.

It has also left them scrambling to find a replacement physio for Saturday's preliminary final at Suncorp Stadium, given all clubs are operating on skeleton staff within the NRL bubble in Queensland.

Penrith now have five days to respond to the breach notice.

Australian Associated Press