Nathan Cleary will be watching from the sideline for a while, apologising for his dangerous tackle on Dylan Brown after being sent off during Penrith’s 34-10 loss to Parramatta on Friday night.
The Panthers halfback was given his marching orders in the first half for a dumping, spear tackle on the Eels five-eighth.
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Cleary has been whacked with a grade three dangerous throw charge, meaning he will miss five games with an early guilty plea. That will rule him out of the rest of the home-and-away season, with five rounds remaining until finals.
The 24-year-old will be rubbed out for six weeks if he chooses to fight the charge at the judiciary and is found guilty.
Taking to Instagram after the game, Cleary took full responsibility for his actions.
“Massive apologies for tonight,” Cleary posted. “Filthy at myself for such a dumb moment that let the boys and the fans down.
“I’m not about that, it was terrible technique and I need to be better.”
Cleary’s suspension is a huge blow in the lead-up to finals for Penrith, who are already missing gun five-eighth Jarome Luai for an extended period through injury. It means they will have to experiment with a brand new halves combination before the playoffs.
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary — Nathan’s dad — accepted a send-off was the right call and said his son was “shattered”.
“Yeah I can understand it,” Ivan said of the referee’s decision. “I think he is going to be missing for a bit. I don’t know how long, but judged on and based on other examples this year it is probably likely (four weeks).
“I was just having a look at the incident then and it was a two man tackle that turned into a one man tackle, which I think had something to do with it.
“But at the end of the day he ended up in a position that we don’t want, so obviously being sent from the field I can’t argue with that.
CHECK OUT THE TACKLE IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE
“Nathan was underneath and I think Liam Martin was on top. I think James Fisher-Harris was going to come in as well, so Nathan just took his base away and probably lifted a little too much.
“We would expect at that point that the guys at the top could control that part of it and there was actually no control there and I think that’s why it ended up how it did.
“But that’s the outcome and that’s fair enough, but how it all started it wasn’t meant to look like that.
“He feels like he has let everyone down.
“I didn’t say anything to him. I think all the boys who have been in that position would feel the same.
“He certainly didn’t mean to do it. I know him pretty well and I know it will just fuel his fire for later. But what can you say really?”
Penrith captain Isaah Yeo tried to talk the referee out of taking drastic action on the field but admitted afterwards the whistleblower was left with no choice.
“No I was probably saying the wrong thing,” Yeo said.
“I was just hoping it wasn’t going to be worst case scenario and it was, so I was obviously just trying to plead the case and hopefully … but it was reviewed by the Bunker and they made that call.
“I sort of missed it because I was a bit obscured.
“I thought it was his back that landed flat and his legs maybe looked worse, but I haven’t seen the replay.
“But obviously that wasn’t the case though if you are going to get sent off.”
Originally published as Nathan Cleary ‘filthy’, hit with monster ban after being sent off