Ivan Cleary has defended a player's right to brace for contact after his son Nathan was cleared of a shoulder charge against St George Illawarra.
Controversy sparked this week when the 23-year-old halfback wasn't charged by the NRL's match review committee for a hit on Jack Bird that some deemed dangerous.
However, Penrith coach Cleary says anyone who knows rugby league knows it wasn't a shoulder charge.
The Panthers captain stood his ground and turned his body to brace for contact with Bird in Friday's win over the Dragons, which fuelled debate over what constitutes an illegal hit.
“I'm not sure everyone is aware of the rule,” Cleary said on Thursday.
“There's a difference between a shoulder charge and bracing for contact.
“Anyone who understands rugby league, in that situation, Jack Bird has picked out Nathan and ran straight at him.
“He's a bigger body and (Nathan is) also coming back from a serious shoulder injury … he just braced for contact.
“At the end of the day I don't think it was a charge so to speak, it was more just a protection mechanism.
“If we're going to charge those ones we're missing the point of why they were brought in in the first place.”
It comes ahead of Friday night's top-four clash with South Sydney.
It will be halfback Cleary's second NRL game in almost two months after returning from a shoulder injury he copped in State of Origin II at the end of June.
The NSW No.7 was taken from the field late in last week's win over the Dragons with the game wrapped up but has improved even further at training this week.
“He got a lot of confidence out of that (first game back),” coach Cleary said.
“We were never going to play him unless he ticked every box and was confident about playing.
“There's nothing quite like playing.
“He's looked a lot freer and more confident this week which is good.
“He's going to need to be because the challenges the Rabbitohs throw at your edges is probably as good as anyone.”Internet Explorer Channel Network