Manly players threaten boycott over pride jersey, Waddell, Finucane face bans, Storm’s Foxx plea denied

Manly players have reportedly threatened to boycott Thursday night’s home clash with the Roosters because the team is due to wear a jersey promoting inclusiveness for the LGBTQIA+ community.

The Sea Eagles had announced they would wear an LGBTIQA+ jersey for the crucial match, with a rainbow design replacing the strip’s white hoops.

But that decision has caused some unrest among players who are unhappy they were not consulted by club management.

Kieran Foran, Reuben Garrick and Sean Keppie were among those to help launch the strip but other players claim they learned about the move over social media once the news broke on Sunday night.

Their concerns relate to questions that could arise from within their respective cultures.

Manly’s management were to meet over the issue on Tuesday but that was set to be rushed forward to Monday night.

The Round 20 match looms as a crucial one for Manly, with the Roosters and Sea Eagles equal on wins in eighth and ninth place respectively and separated only by for-and-against points.

The “Everyone in League” jersey is the first of its kind for an NRL club while the AFL and AFLW have held a pride round for the past few years.

Interim Sea Eagles CEO Gary Wolman said the club was proud of the jersey which embraces the LGBTQIA+ community.

Former international Ian Roberts became the first professional sportsman in Australia to declare they were openly gay during their career while playing for the Sea Eagles in the 1990s.

“The Sea Eagles have such a rich and diverse history in rugby league and in the community,’’ Wolman said.

“To be able to bring this concept to life with [manufacturer] Dynasty Sport is a fantastic achievement and we are pleased to be able to share such an important message that means so much to many people in the community.”

Waddell, Finucane to face judiciary

Canterbury forward Corey Waddell will front the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night after being referred directly to a panel hearing by the match review committee.

Waddell was charged with dangerous contact over an incident in the 23rd minute of his team’s win over the Gold Coast at CommBank Stadium on Sunday.

The back-rower grabbed Titans captain Tino Fa’asuamaleaui on the face during a tackle and the Maroons forward immediately protested to referee Ben Cummins that he had been eye-gouged.

After the game he told Fox League he didn’t think there was any intent from the Bulldogs forward to cause damage.

“It’s just footy. Sometimes your hand goes somewhere and you don’t know where it is,” he said. “I guess it was just around my forehead and hit my eye but it was just accidental.

“I didn’t speak to him [after the game] but it’s just an incident on the field where it’s accidental.

“Your hand ends up in places that you don’t know.”

Wests Tigers winger Ken Maumalo is facing a fine of $1000-$1500 for a shoulder charge on Cowboys playmaker Tom Dearden in Sunday’s controversial one-point win to North Queensland in Townsville.

Cronulla will also head to the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night to plead not guilty to the grade-three dangerous contact charge levelled against Dale Finucane.

The veteran lock was charged by the match review committee following a tackle on Panthers centre Stephen Crichton in the 72nd minute of the loss to Penrith which left the NSW representative with a badly lacerated ear which coach Ivan Cleary likened to a car crash injury.

Corey Waddell tackles Tino Fa’asuamaleaui. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Ponga season in doubt

Kalyn Ponga may have played his last game for 2022 with the Newcastle fullback to see specialists this week to determine whether he needs an extended break after a string of concussions.

The Knights star was forced off early in the loss to the Roosters on the weekend, his third concussion in the past two months.

The club is reportedly considering ending his season early to give him the best possible chance to make a full recovery. Newcastle are in 14th spot and no chance of making the finals after their defeat in Round 19.

“It’s a weird one, I’m sort of guided now by the specialists and I’ll see them as soon as I can and just go from there really,” Ponga said on The Matty Johns Show on Sunday night.

“I’m not really too sure, I’m guided by what the specialist says. It’s an unfortunate thing, you can’t really do physio on your brain or anything like that, it’s just time away from the game.”

Knights Immortal Andrew Johns earlier in the day said Ponga should not take to the field again until 2023.

“They’re not going to make the semis, so why would you risk a player like Kalyn?” Johns said on The Sunday Footy Show.

“I think that’s it for the year. Just let him have some time off because he’s too important to the team.”

Kalyn Ponga in action for Newcastle Knights

(Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Dogs reject Storm loan request for Foxx

Melbourne are desperately trying to bolster their outside backs before the August 1 signings deadline but Canterbury have rejected an attempt from the Storm to have Josh Addo-Carr return for the rest of the season.

The Storm enquired to see if the Dogs would loan The Foxx to them after fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen became the latest outside back to suffer a serious injury with his fractured kneecap sidelining him until 2023.

Reimis Smith and George Jennings are also gone for the year.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Addo-Carr would have returned to Canterbury following the short-term stint to see out the final two years of his contract under the Storm’s proposal but they were not interested.

Addo-Carr scored three tries in Sunday’s 36-26 triumph over the Titans and despite missing out on State of Origin selection for NSW, is a frontrunner for a wing berth in the Australian squad for the World Cup.

According to the SMH, the Storm have also asked about Titans rising star Jayden Campbell and Tigers duo Daine Laurie and Adam Doueihi, while last week they unsuccessfully tried to get Broncos-bound fullback Reece Walsh from the Warriors.

Coates is close to making a return from the ankle injury he suffered in Origin I. The Storm have dropped to fifth after a four-game losing streak and travel to Auckland on Friday to face the Warriors.

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