Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary has backed the NRL after Ricky Stuart was suspended from coaching the Canberra Raiders this weekend and fined $25,000 for his attack on young Penrith half Jaeman Salmon in a post-match press conference last round.
Stuart called Salmon a “weak-gutted dog” which sent the rugby league world into meltdown with speculation Stuart’s attack came after interactions Salmon had with Stuart’s children many years ago.
“As a club, we support the NRL,” Cleary said.
“It‘s been handled pretty well by the NRL. I think it is fair (the penalty).
“We‘ve been sticking close to Jaeman this week and hopefully he and everyone else can move on.”
Despite the growing drama, Cleary said Salmon was ready to take on Melbourne on Thursday night.
“He was a bit rattled on the night,” Cleary said.
“He was also a bit concerned about his family. They were quite upset, so I guess when that happens, it brings it to another level.
“But this week he‘s seemed OK – he’s shown he’s pretty strong-minded.
“He’s a really popular member of the team on and off the field. We love him. We certainly thought it was best if he just kept his head down and just let it blow over and got on with his footy.
“It‘s a really important game for him and the club tomorrow night.”