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Penrith coach Ivan Cleary supports NRL decision to suspend Ricky Stuart

Penrith coach Evan Cleary has thrown his support behind a one-week ban for Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stewart after he verbally attacked Panthers Jayman Salmon after the game, saying the NRL had handled the situation “well”.

Stewart has been suspended for a week from all coaching duties, including any contact with the players, for calling Salmon a “weak dog” after the Panthers’ win over the Raiders last weekend.

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Salmon Ride hit Tom Starlin in the groin during the match, for which he was fined $1000. Stewart responded by apologizing.

Cleary said Salmon and his family were “furious” and the NRL suspended comments after the first game, saying Stewart’s punishment was enough.

“As a club, we support the NRL,” Cleary said.

“It’s been handled very well by the NRL. I think[the punishment]is fair.

“We’ve been sticking with Jeman this week and hopefully he and everyone else can continue.”

Penrith Panthers coach Evan Cleary has backed Ricky Stewart’s ban. Photo: Jonathan NgSource: News Corp Australia

Salmon, who will start again as Penrith five-eighth in Thursday night’s blockbuster showdown at home to Melbourne, is yet to speak publicly on the matter.

But Cree said the week’s drama would not affect Salmon’s performance and was in better spirits at training after being surprised by Stewart’s outburst.

“He was a little nervous at night,” Cleary said.

“He was also a little concerned about his family. They were really upset, so I guess when that happens it takes it to another level.

“But this week he seemed fine … he showed he has a very strong mind.

Jayman Salmon was upset by Stewart’s comments. Photo: Mark Evans / Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

“He’s definitely a popular figure in the team, both on and off the field. We love it.

“We really thought it would be good if he kept his head down and let it blow and walked away.

Tomorrow night is a very important game for him and the club.

Penrith can seal a second minor premiership in three seasons with a win over the Storm.

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