NRL Expert @JennaBrooks
NRL Talking Points: Manly sanctions, Greg Inglis investigation, golden-point controversy
Last Updated: 27/03/18 12:15pm
Jenna Brooks has the latest from the NRL as Manly are dealt heavy sanctions, plus golden-point controversy, and an update on the Greg Inglis racial abuse investigation....
Manly have been handed heavy sanctions for salary cap breaches.
The punishment comes three-and-a-half months after the NRL issued the club with a notice for breaching the salary cap, and includes a $750,000 (£405,000) fine, with $250,000 (£135,000) suspended to ensure there is no repeat of the breaches.
The club have also been handed a $660,000 (£360,000) penalty to be applied to the salary cap for the remainder of this season and 2019.
The NRL CEO Todd Greenberg claims they found instances where 13 players were promised a combined $1.5m (£815,000) in undisclosed payments over five seasons.
"These benefits were in the form of third-party agreements which were never declared to the salary cap auditor," Greenberg said.
"In other words, Manly had a financial advantage in securing the services of players who may otherwise have gone to other clubs.
"Our salary cap is the main reason we have the closest competition in Australian sport and we will not tolerate any attempt to breach it."
Chief operating officer Neil Bare and former chief executive Joe Kelly, who is now at the Sydney Roosters, have been suspended for 12 months.
The Sea Eagles were not stripped of any competition points this season because their squad is now compliant with the cap, thanks in part to their decision to release former Hull KR and Wigan playmaker Blake Green without signing a replacement.
The club and officials are able to appeal the sanctions.
The NRL have handed breach notices to two spectators who they claim made offensive comments towards Greg Inglis during South Sydney's round-two defeat to Penrith.
The culprits have until Thursday to respond to the notices, before any punishment is finalised by the NRL.
The alleged incident occurred when the Rabbitohs captain was leaving the pitch during the second half for a concussion check. Inglis was booed by fans and reported he heard someone from the crowd yell a racial slur.
It's believed one of the spectators is a Penrith member, whose membership has been suspended pending the investigation.
The governing body have not indicated what penalties will be handed down, if the spectators are found guilty of the abuse, but NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has said he will 'throw the book' at the culprits if found guilty.
You can see Inglis and his South Sydney side in action on Friday against the Bulldogs, live on Sky Sports Arena.
Round 3 controversy
While there are many Super League pundits, players, coaches and fans who want to see golden point brought into the European competition, there are just as many in the NRL who would like to see it eradicated.
The latest golden-point controversy comes after the Wests Tigers 9-7 defeat to Brisbane on Friday. The score was level at 7-7, when the game headed into the second-half of golden point extra-time.
Former Super League referee Ashley Klein penalised the Tigers for not staying square at marker, which handed Brisbane an easy shot at goal to seal the win, leaving the Tigers players and coaches questioning the decision.
"There's one thing, do you give penalties in golden point, which historically you don't," Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary said.
"And the other thing is, was it a penalty and I don't think it was. We all make mistakes but that's a big one.
"It throws golden point into a whole new light because, was that a spectacle when the game finishes like that tonight because of that?"
Referee boss, Bernard Sutton admits it was the wrong decision.
"Ultimately, the penalty was incorrect," Sutton told Fairfax Media. "There are a couple of contributing factors to how the referees came to that decision."
"Everyone [Klein and assistant referee Matt Noyen] matched up their information in arriving to that decision. There is no one person responsible."
Klein has been demoted to an assistant referee, while Noyen, who was the assistant referee in the Broncos' controversial win over the Tigers, has been dropped to touch judge duties for round four.
I know I have mentioned Gareth Widdop a lot already this season, but the St George Illawarra captain is having a blockbuster year so far.
We might only be heading into round four, but the England international sits alongside Nathan Cleary and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck at the top of the Dally M leaderboard with six points.
Just listen to Widdop's NRL stats so far. He is the leading point scorer this season, scoring a total of 44 points. He has also kicked 20 goals over three games, the most in the league, and the playmaker has set-up the most tries, with nine assists.
I'm looking forward to seeing what else the five-eighth brings to the game in 2018.