Bunker blow-ups, Cleary, Hasler, Joey not happy, Barrett shoots down drone dramas

featured, League, Manly Sea Eagles, NRL 2022, Penrith Panthers

You know NRL season is officially back when blow-ups about the Bunker start trending.

Penrith had two tries denied in the first 10 minutes which raised the hackles of commentators and fans in their 28-6 triumph at Penrith on Thursday night.

Stephen Crichton’s four-pointer was overruled because Liam Martin had run into the outside shoulder of Kieran Foran on a block play while Brian To’o was denied a short time later when the Bunker ruled he ran behind Jarome Luai to prevent Tom Trbojevic tackling him.

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary, when asked in the post-match media conference, thought Manly were to blame for both tries rather than any obstructions from the Panthers.

“I don’t know if anyone cares, but I thought the first one, I thought (Brad) Parker that was a misread,” Cleary said.

“If the outside guy misreads it then that nullifies the obstruction.

“The other one someone has got to be obstructed I would have thought and I’ll just leave it at that.”

Knights Immortal Andrew Johns was adamant the first no-try was a bad call, believing that Foran was no chance of getting across to tackle Crichton anyway.

“They score the try between the centre and the winger,” he said on Nine commentary. “Kieran Foran would not have got there. They did not take advantage of the gap which Liam Martin ran into.”

He was equally sure that Trbojevic was foxing when he claimed Luai prevented him from getting to To’o in the second instance.

“That’s a try. Go and ask Tom Trbojevic right now. He would say the same thing. That’s a try.”

Turbo expectations too high: Hasler

Manly coach Des Hasler defended superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic after he well contained by Penrith in the season opener.

The Panthers continually kicked away from Trbojevic, targeting winger Jason Saab, and apart from the try he set up for Ethan Bullemor, the Dally M Medallist was unable to cause the defence too much trouble.

“You just can’t keep pointing the finger at Tom and saying they handled Tom,” Hasler said.

“We’ve got to handle our game, we’ve got to promote ourselves better to give us some chance of getting into the game.”

He managed 155 running metres from 19 efforts, including the try assist, but was outshone by Panthers rival Dylan Edwards, who had a field day at the back with a whopping 344 metres, including 181 on kick returns, from 31 runs, setting up one of his team’s six line breaks.

Barrett brushes drone dramas

Canterbury coach Trent Barrett is not concerned about claims his methods are not high-tech enough in the wake of talk that they weren’t using drones, leading to criticism from new recruits.

Bulldogs head of football Phil Gould debunked those claims by publishing several posts on Twitter of the club using drones at training.

“That’s just external noise. We don’t really worry about it,” Barrett said on Friday in the lead-up to Sunday’s stoush with the Cowboys in Townsville.

Barrett has a new-look team at his disposal and raised a few eyebrows when he dropped one of their few impressive players from last season, centre Aaron Schoupp, in favour of Souths recruit Braidon Burns.

“We just thought Braidon is an experienced player. We’re going up there to tough conditions at the Cowboys and Schouppy is a young player who I thought did some really good things for us last year and he’s got a couple of things he needs to work on in his game,” he said.

“It wasn’t an easy decision but Braidon has got an opportunity this year to come over from Souths and he’s a calm head and I thought that’s what we needed heading into this game.” 

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