Cleary avoids suspension, Hetherington pulls cops hair well, slapfest goes unpunished

Nathan Cleary will not be suspended after his alleged tackle on Billy Walters in last night’s clash between Penrith and Brisbane.

It was feared the Panthers star could be suspended, but the NRL court system set a fine of $1,000 – $1,500 if challenged – for dangerous contact.

Kobe Hetherington also escaped a charge of an incident in the same game where he pulled Jarome Luai’s hair. He also faces the same great situation, as does Brandon Wakeham, who was blamed for a crushing tackle in the Bulldogs – Souths game.

The slap fight between Dylan Edwards and Keenan Palasia in the Panthers – Broncos game escaped any censure from the disciplinary panel.

Immortal half-back Andrew Johns can’t believe St George Illawarra exercised an option to retain Anthony Griffin for 2023 before a ball was thrown this year as the heat intensifies on the under-fire coach.

The Dragons have been beaten in 12 of their last 13 games and head into Sunday’s showdown at WIN Stadium with Newcastle after a four-game losing streak.

Johns, on Freddy & The Eighth, lambasted club officials for what he said was purely a public relations exercise.

“I have no idea, I have absolutely no idea why they would extend,” Johns said.

“We would have to talk to the people on the board, to the people at the club. But from the outside, would you say there was someone looking to buy Anthony Griffin? You would say no so I have no idea, I couldn’t give you an answer.

“So their decision is purely to publicly prevent people from speculating who is going to be a coach. If that’s why they extended it, they need to read their heads.

Griffin has drawn widespread criticism in recent weeks for dropping young guns Tyrell Sloan and Junior Amone, seen as the club’s future, with veterans Moses Mbye and Jack Bird favored at full-back and five-eighth respectively.

Johns said the rising stars had gaps in their game and could understand why Griffin sent them off to the NSW Cup to regain their confidence, but he would have persisted with them.

Anthony Seibold. (Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Seibold regrets turning on the Rabbits

Anthony Seibold has admitted it was a mistake to leave South Sydney at the end of 2018 after winning Dally M Coach of the Year and taking them to the final for a lucrative offer to Brisbane.

His stint with the Broncos ended abruptly less than two seasons into his five-year contract with the team imploding on the way to the club’s first wooden spoon in 2020.

“There are so many things that happened that I look back on and think about. I regret leaving South Sydney,” Seibold told Fox Sports.

“I made a business decision. I didn’t make a decision with my heart, I made a decision with my head and it took a pear shape. There are a lot of reasons for this, but I have to raise my hand because, in the end, I’m the main reason why he got pear shaped.

“I regret some things about leaving South Sydney, I would do some things differently. I would do some things differently, I would do some things the same way at the Broncos.

He moved to rugby union as an assistant to compatriot Eddie Jones with the England men’s national team but has left the door open for a return to the NRL if the right opportunity arises.

Josh Addo-Carr of Bulldogs looks on during the NRL Test match between Cronulla Sharks and Canterbury Bulldogs at PointsBet Stadium on February 28, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Barrett says dogs are responsible for Foxx’s dryness

Canterbury know the key to ending Josh Addo-Carr’s longest career drought isn’t as simple as getting more balls for the fastest man in the game.

This is a good ball, in a good space. Addo-Carr will feature in the traditional Good Friday clash against South Sydney without a try in their last seven games.

Five of them wore the colors of the Bulldogs, the drought dating back to the first week of the final last year at the Storm.

That’s a far cry from Addo-Carr who scored 23 tries in 22 games last season. Or the man who, in a game against the Rabbitohs last year, scored six tries on his own.

Getting the job done with the ball in hand was no problem for Addo-Carr. Notably, he does more than in any other year of his career, taking more than 13 carries per game.

His yardage is also up, helping the Bulldogs out of their own doom as they look to end their four-game losing streak. But mostly, it’s about where he gets it.

Of the 44 balls played by Canterbury into Penrith’s half last week, the ball was not passed to Addo-Carr at all. In fact, the Bulldogs flyer only hit him three times in the opposing half.

Twice when he went to the dummy half and went off the floor, and once more when he broke free on his own side and put Joe Stimson on it.

On one occasion in the second half, Addo-Carr moved behind play and across the field to look for the ball with the Bulldogs on offense, but still couldn’t find it.

It’s something the Bulldogs know they need to address, with more ways to get Addo-Carr into free space.

“We do. And obviously with Josh, a lot of the space he gets is created by the guys inside of him,” coach Trent Barrett said. “He’s going to be the beneficiary of that.

“The more we can move the ball the better we can get there and the better the position on the pitch we can get. It is also earning the right to play. Our attackers have a duty to gain momentum before we can change feet.

“It’s all connected, and the 17s have to play well for the individuals to play well.”

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