Peter V’landys not satisfied with Stephen Crichton’s $1350 fine for sparking melee

Peter V’landys not satisfied with Stephen Crichton’s $1350 fine for sparking melee

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys wasn’t impressed by the paltry fine handed to Penrith’s Stephen Crichton for sparking a melee and wants tougher penalties for bad sportsmanship.

Paul CrawleyPaul Crawley

April 15, 2021 - 6:52PM

News Corp Australia Sports Newsroom

NRL: Phil Crawley was not a fan of how the Penrith Panthers celebrated against the Canberra Raiders, insisting Stephen Crichton should have been…

Peter V’landys wants tougher penalties for bad sportsmanship after labelling the $1350 fine handed out to Penrith’s Stephen Crichton “ridiculous”.

It comes amid growing concern that grubby niggling tactics that are becoming more frequent in the NRL this season will ultimately spill over into junior sport.

The ARL Commission chairman also reminded players that they “are role models and things they do are replicated at junior levels”.

It follows a war of words that erupted between Canberra and Penrith over the NRL’s decision to slap the Raiders with a $10,000 fine for a trainer’s involvement in the ugly melee last round.

The Raiders are furious they are facing a far more significant penalty for the trainer touching the arm of Penrith prop James Fisher-Harris and also Tyrone May.

Stephen Crichton came under fire after a tussle with Joseph Tapine.

This is despite Crichton sparking the melee by pulling Joe Tapine into a Penrith post-try celebration, before May ripped at the back of the Canberra forward’s jumper while he was already surrounded by Panthers players.

At the time, Tapine was standing near the sideline minding his own business as he waited to come back off the interchange bench.

It was only because of Tapine’s restraint that the incident didn’t escalate into a full scale brawl within metres of the crowd.

Raiders chief executive Don Furner has spoken to NRL boss Andrew Abdo and is understood to have been in contact with Penrith directly after his heavy spray directed at coach Ivan Cleary. The Raiders are expected to appeal against the fine.

Furner told Fox Sports this week that Cleary “should teach his players some humility”.

Furner also questioned if this “is the example the Panthers want to set for young kids watching and playing the game”.

V’landys has requested a report from management to look at implementing tougher penalties for grade one contrary conduct offences.

“I don’t want to comment on this incident because I don’t know enough about it, I just found that the ($1350) fine was ridiculous,” V’landys said.

“In that situation it is a match review committee decision, and to be fair to the match review committee, it was a grade one and that is a fine. But I think that has to be looked at … it is a little bit inequitable between the two fines so that has to be corrected.”

Asked if he could comment directly on Crichton’s behaviour, V’landys added: “I have been put on record many, many times that these players are role models and things they do are replicated at junior levels.

“I don’t know too much about the incident because I didn’t really see it.

“But the overall principle is that they are role models and should act accordingly. And that is why abuse to officials and all that is always replicated back down to the junior levels.”

Jarome Luai has come under fire for ‘running in as third man for a while now.’

The Raiders are certainly not the only club who have expressed concerns about ongoing niggling tactics that seem to be becoming more frequent across the game.

While there were other questionable incidents last weekend, the one sparked by Crichton crossed the line of what most consider acceptable behaviour.

“We all understand coaches stand up for their players, but (Cleary) trying to justify that behaviour is ludicrous,” Furner told Fox League.

“He has three or four players in his team that carry on like mug lairs. Their five-eighth (Jarome Luai) has been pushing players in the back and running in as third man for a while now.

“I can’t believe that is the example the Panthers want to set for young kids watching and playing the game. If they think that behaviour is acceptable they are kidding themselves.”

Though Cleary said on Wednesday he was “just a bit confused as to what’s the problem”.

Ivan Cleary ‘can’t see where the problem is’.

Arrogant or confident? Why Panthers won’t change wild ways

— Nick Campton

There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and Penrith are comfortable on both sides of it.

No longer a rising force, Penrith are now well-established as one of the competition’s super powers – to the point where their swagger, formerly categorised as youthful exuberance, is now being labelled as disrespectful.

But so long as Penrith walk the walk they can talk the talk, and given it’s been almost a year since their last regular season defeat there’s a whole lot of walking worth talking about.

Even when the Panthers have their feet to the fire, like when they were down early against Canberra last week, they never panic or go into their shells.

“When it comes to times like that, when we’re in the arm wrestle, we know our team won’t break,” Crichton said. “We know our boys are trained not to break. That’s where we get (our confidence) from.”

The Raiders, a top four contender and potential premiership rival, did their best to get under Penrith’s skin last Friday and maybe give that self-belief a little bit of a shake.

The match was full of heat and niggle, but in the end it didn’t work but in the end Canberra went down hard, just like almost everyone who’s locked horns with the Panthers over the last 12 months.

Sometimes things went a little too far — like when Crichton tussled with Raiders lock Joseph Tapine late in the match, for which he was fined by the match review committee. But the Panthers only know how to play their way, and they won’t be changing their stripes for anybody.

“They were trying to get us off our game, but we knew that was coming. We just stuck to what we know and that’s how we won,” Crichton said.

“We just narrow it down back to what we do best, to our own individual roles. If everyone does what they need to do for the team we’re on the road to getting the win.”

Stephen Crichton said the Panthers won’t changing their ways. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Joel Carrett

Penrith’s attitude might not endear them to their rivals, but so long as they keep winning it’s unlikely the mountain men will lose any sleep over it.

There was a school of thought that last year’s grand final loss to Melbourne, the one time over the last 12 months Penrith looked rattled, would have a lasting impact on the team’s psyche.

Instead, things have gone the other way - Penrith look more assured than ever and should easily account for the Broncos on Thursday night and remain the only unbeaten team in 2021.

“There’s been a few little tweaks in our game, trying to bring out the better player, that’s what Coach (Ivan Cleary) is trying to do as well. I guess it makes all of us look good,” Crichton said. “That’s what we want to be, Coach always talks to us about team culture and he wants our culture to be the best.

“That’s our team culture, turning up every week, not having weeks off. Even if we do fall down on one part of our game we have another part that can back us up.”

Panthers take another jab at ‘arrogant’ claims with cheeky handshake try celebration


Brian To’o and Matt Burton shake hands to celebrate Burton’s try. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

The undefeated Panthers were accused of lacking “class and respect” in their win over the Raiders last Friday.

News Corp journalistPaul Crawley slammed the young playing group’s on-field antics, saying on NRL 360 their behaviour “crossed the line of what’s acceptable” and that “sometimes there’s 12-year olds that behave better than that.”

Crawley was referring to an incident where star centre Stephen Crichton dragged unsuspecting Raiders forward Joe Tapine into the Panthers’ try celebrations. It was an odd decision that saw players from all angles run in.

Paul Kent also accused Penrith of “bloated behaviour” and brought up an incident involving Jarome Luai when the star five-eighth stomped on the back of the head of an opposition player last season.

The Panthers responded in a way that suggests they not only don’t take the accusations seriously, but also are making a mockery of the claims.

Panthers' cheeky celebration

Panthers’ cheeky celebration


After Matt Burton’s scored in the first half of Thursday’s clash, he shook Brian To’o and Jarome Luai’s hands.

It came after the club’s Instagram account posted a video of Burton scoring a try at training and then turning around for a very polite handshake with teammate Charlie Staines. It was captioned “is this more acceptable?”

Coach Ivan Cleary said earlier in the week that he’s “not too worried” about the claims and argued his young squad has begun to stand up to the niggle they cop from other teams.

“We’ve been reasonably successful and what comes with that is we get a little bit of niggle toward our boys, especially because we are young,” he said on Wednesday.

“I guess at the moment our boys are combating that however they can.

“I’m always on the lookout to make sure we’re behaving the right way… I’m not too worried.

“You want that (players sticking up for themselves) because if you don’t then teams will keep niggling you. That’s just competitive combat, it’s not really anything more than that.

“I would back our team to be respectful as much as anyone in the game. They are young and in the heat of battle they might do things they might learn from, and that’s what it’s all about.”

It’s interesting the outside noise is being reacted to by the Panthers which could be their downfall. If I were their coach I would have told them to not listen to it and just focus on the task at hand. Outside distractions are not want you want in trying to win a premiership. The Panthers were expected to blow the Broncos off the park last night which they didn’t. If they had played us, the Storm or Roosters last night, they don’t win that game


He’s being asked the questions so he needs to respond.

Playing a straight bat and supporting his team.

Since Ivan dumped the Tigers I always hope the Panthers get smashed


I actually loved this one. So funny. Great reaction to shake hands

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Agree with Apollo on this one, Chrichton got off light after being a dead set farkwit to Tapine who was minding his own business on the sideline. Then you have that sleezy grub Luai with a cupboard full of antics and they make for a good quinella.

Be a captain Chin and pull them in to line.


I think people don’t like their arrogance because they haven’t really earned the right to be arrogant.


This also goes along with that article from a couple of weeks ago that was talking about how Uncle Wayne’s comments to the media really mentally affected Cleary and his form. You can guarantee some of the smart coaches will be playing major mind games with Penrith via the media because we all know now that they’re reading their own good and bad press.

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Smartarse Ivan Cleary is responsible for their arrogance I believe.


Penrith have a target on their backs now I reckon. Too smart for their own good.

But did you notice they used this focus to get Mitchell

Watched NRL 360 last night, and agree with Ricky Stuart, that a push and shove make the weak look tough. Imagine if Chrichton had done that to Davidson or Boyle, or Webke. Seriously, the bloke would have a broken jaw.

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Let them be arrogant,all that got them was being 26 zero down in a GF and the horse had bolted.
They are defending runners up,if we had Mitchell playing they wouldn’t even be that.
Penny Pussies!