Penrith Co-Captain Dismisses Accusations of Unlawful Blocker Tactics Ahead of Grand Final

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Isaah Yeo, co-captain of Penrith, has voiced criticism over recent allegations surrounding the tactics of his team. Despite claims suggesting that his side is guilty of unlawfully using blockers to shelter their kickers, Yeo dismissed this as “an easy write-up,” reminiscent of similar accusations from two years ago. Kevin Walters, coach of the Broncos, expressed no misgivings about the alleged tactics.

It wasn’t long ago that former Rabbitohs coach, Wayne Bennett, levied a similar accusation against the Panthers, inciting a minor verbal skirmish between the teams. As echoes of these issues reverberate anew, video excerpts from Penrith’s preliminary victory over the Storm spotlight forwards obstructing markers from reaching Nathan Cleary during his kickoff.

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Ivan Cleary, Penrith’s coach, was nonplussed by these recycled allegations, confirming no deviations from their annual strategies. “Perhaps everyone simply revisits their year-old notes and discussions during this week of heightened anticipation,” he mused during a grand final press conference at Circular Quay in front of eager fans.

In the world of sports journalism, it’s not uncommon, especially before a major match, to emphasize and proliferate any contentious episodes. Recent stories underscore Penrith’s extraordinary performance under referee Adam Gee’s watch, who is set to officiate his inaugural NRL Grand Final.

Only one loss in five seasons under Gee’s management is a testament to Penrith’s consistently commendable performance, independent of the match official. Therefore, Yeo remains unperturbed by blocker-related allegations just days before the grand final. Penrith’s star shared, “If penalties were happening, you might question (the rules). It seems the media search for a new controversy each year, and this year it’s blocker tactics. However, it doesn’t dampen our spirit or deviate our focus. We’re aiming to play our finest game this Sunday.”

Walters, on being queried about the alleged tactic, concurred with Yeo, stating all teams experiment with strategies to guard their kickers, thereby making it the official’s responsibility to intervene if the play seems illegal. Walters articulated, “I’m content. I’m not perturbed. Let’s leave it to the referees to maintain the game’s integrity, and we’ll concentrate on our gameplay. The referees, us, and even Penrith are mindful of the heightened scrutiny and pressure. That’s all we can do.”