Panthers defend Burton after high shot knocks out Taupau

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said referee Ashley Klein almost appeared “sheepish” when forced to blow a late penalty for Manly after Marty Taupau was knocked out by Matt Burton.

Burton was placed on report in the dying minutes of Penrith’s 28-16 win in Bathurst, and will have a nervous wait to see if he is charged by the match review committee on Sunday for dangerous contact to the head.

Sea Eagles forward Martin Taupau is attended to by a trainer on Saturday.Credit:Getty

“The fact he didn’t sin-bin him suggests he thought he was unlucky.”

Burton continues to improve each week on the left edge and will be keen to play against the Sharks, the Shire club who held talks with him before Christmas about joining them next year.

Should Burton be sidelined, the Panthers could be forced to recall Bulldogs-bound Brent Naden given Paul Momirovski will miss one more week because of a dangerous contact suspension.

Martin said: “I loved the tackle. ‘Burto’ is a young bloke and served it up to the ‘old bull’ [Taupau]. It was good to see. I thought there was nothing in it.”

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