Explosive accusation triggers Bennett tirade

1 week ago 16
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The bristling warfare of words betwixt South Sydney manager Wayne Bennett and Penrith mentor Ivan Cleary has boiled implicit into the post-match property conferences, pursuing the Rabbitohs' tense upset triumph successful their qualifying last clash.

A heated speech of words betwixt Bennett and Cleary during the week had added a spicy tonic to the second-versus-third Townsville match.

The saga stretches backmost to Bennett making backstage complaints to the game's officials astir the Panthers utilizing artifact plays to support halfback Nathan Cleary portion kicking, pursuing their mid-August clash.

When Cleary was alerted to Bennett's behind-closed-doors dialog with the NRL, helium made the tussle public, telling the Sydney Morning Herald this week that the prima playmaker had been peppered by amerciable targeting.

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That led to Bennett airing his frustrations implicit the Panthers' tactics during his midweek property conference.

And portion the warfare of words was benched for 80 minutes arsenic the Rabbitohs and Panthers squared disconnected successful the existent battle, won 16-10 by South Sydney, it didn't instrumentality agelong for the verbal stoush to spark backmost to beingness aft the game.

Panthers manager Ivan Cleary (left) and Rabbitohs mentor Wayne Bennett. (NRL Imagery)

The statement was reignited erstwhile Cleary accused Bennett of trying to "influence" the referees during the lead-up to the match.

"I was personally blameworthy of trying to enactment our lawsuit guardant this week, lone due to the fact that I had to. I had to respond. This is astir apt not the forum to speech astir it, but the NRL has got to marque a determination astir whether they are going to let coaches to deliberately manipulate referees and effort to power them," Cleary said.

"Coaches bash it due to the fact that they can.

"We get fined afterwards, but pre-game it is beauteous overmuch unfastened slather.

"Our boys person surely been spoken to connected the tally for worldly we ne'er get done for, truthful I'd suggest that benignant of happening has an influence.

"I was blameworthy of it myself due to the fact that I had to (speak), but I deliberation the crippled could bash itself a favour and travel down hard connected immoderate manager who deliberately tries to power a lucifer authoritative earlier the game."

Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary kicks the shot during the Panthers' qualifying last nonaccomplishment to the Rabbitohs. (NRL Imagery)

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Cleary's rant didn't extremity there.

"How is the referees section expected to get amended past they're clogged up with perpetually having to woody with clubs complaining passim the week?" Cleary said.

"It's not conscionable tonight; it goes connected each year."

Bennett struck backmost successful his post-match media conference.

"You accidental I was vocal?" Bennett said.

"I didn't commencement the speech publicly. I said thing publicly.

"This happened 3 weeks ago. I sent immoderate accusation to the referees for clarification.

"So, I wasn't going nationalist with thing until Penrith came retired and made the nationalist statement. I conscionable responded to those; I wasn't going to beryllium backmost and not basal up for my team."

NRL Presser: Ivan Cleary sprays referee manipulation - Finals Week 1

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While coaches bull fiscal penalties for questioning the integrity oregon quality of referees during post-match property conferences, inflammatory comments up of games don't pull discipline.

In 1 of the astir sensational examples of post-game disapproval drafting the NRL's ire, Roosters manager Trent Robinson unleashed connected referee Ashley Klein and bunker authoritative Henry Perenara implicit the handling of Latrell Mitchell's brutal deed connected Joseph Manu precocious successful August. Robinson was fined $20,000.

While Bennett said helium agreed with Cleary that pre-game disapproval of officials should besides beryllium punished, helium reiterated that it was Cleary who had exposed this stand-off to the public, staining the NRL's image.

"I couldn't hold with him much connected that, but I didn't accidental anything. I didn't accidental thing for 3 weeks. We played them 3 weeks ago," Bennett said.

"He's the 1 that came retired and started mouthing disconnected ... truthful if he's captious he's captious of himself.

"South Sydney had nary accidental whatsoever until helium came retired and started to speech it each up."

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