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NRL NEWS: Cleary avoids suspension, Hetherington hair pull cops fine, slapfest unpunished

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

There had been fears that the Panthers star could be suspended, but the NRL judiciary has settled on a $1000 fine – $1,500 if challenged – for dangerous contact.

Kobe Hetherington has also escaped a charge from an incident in the same game where he pulled the hair of Jarome Luai. He also faces the same fine situation, as does Brandon Wakeham, who was put on report for a crusher tackle in the Bulldogs – Souths game.

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

Immortal halfback Andrew Johns cannot believe St George Illawarra exercised an option to retain Anthony Griffin for 2023 before a ball was kicked this year as the heat intensifies on the under-fire coach.

The Dragons have been beaten in 12 of their past 13 matches and head into Sunday’s WIN Stadium showdown with Newcastle on the back of a four-game losing streak.

Johns, on Freddy & The Eighth, blasted 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.

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

“So their decision is purely to stop publicly people speculating who’s going to be coach. If that is the reason why they extended him, they need their head read.”

Griffin has attracted plenty of criticism in recent weeks for dropping young guns Tyrell Sloan and Junior Amone, seen as the future of the club, with veterans Moses Mbye and Jack Bird preferred at fullback and five-eighth respectively.

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

Anthony Seibold

Anthony Seibold. (Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Seibold regrets turning back on Bunnies

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 finals for a lucrative offer at Brisbane.

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

“There’s so many things that went down that I look back on and reflect on. 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 went pear shaped. There’s a lot of reasons for that, but I’ve got to hold my hand up because, ultimately, I’m the main reason it went 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 at the Broncos.”

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

Josh Addo-Carr of the Bulldogs looks on during the NRL Trial Match between the Cronulla Sharks and the 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 to blame for Foxx’s drought

Canterbury know the key to ending the longest try-scoring drought of Josh Addo-Carr’s career isn’t as simple as just getting the game’s fastest man more ball.

It’s about good ball, in good space. Addo-Carr will enter the traditional Good Friday clash against South Sydney without a try in his last seven games.

Five of those have been in Bulldogs colours, with the drought dating back to the first week of the finals last year at the Storm.

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

Getting through work with ball in hand hasn’t been a problem for Addo-Carr. Notably he is doing more of it than in any other year of his career, taking more than 13 carries a match.

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

Of Canterbury’s 44 play-the-balls in Penrith’s half last week, the ball was not passed to Addo-Carr at all. In fact, the Bulldogs flyer touched it just three times inside the opposing half.

Twice when he went to dummy-half and passed off the ground, and once more when he broke free from his own end and put Joe Stimson over.

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

It’s something the Bulldogs know they must find a solution to, with more ways to get Addo-Carr into free space.

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

“The more we can move the ball and the better we can get there and the better field position we can get. It’s earning the right to play too. Our forwards have a job to gain some momentum before we can shift the footy.

“It’s all linked in together, and the whole 17 need to play well for the individuals to play well.”

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