Revealed: Ivan Cleary’s expletive-laden referee outburst
Penrith coach Ivan Cleary is facing accusations he swore at NRL referee Ashley Klein in a heated half-time blow-up in the tunnel at Panthers Stadium on Sunday.
News Corp understands Fox Sports commentator Andy Raymond has submitted a report to the NRL, indicating he heard Cleary drop the f-bomb.
The NRL approached Fox Sports on Monday for a statement as part of its inquiry into the incident.
A bystander said the exchange was loud and assertive.
"Ashley they're f … ing lying all over us," Cleary is believed to have said.
"You can't let them.
"You've got to stop them."
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Cleary's confrontation with Klein came after the referee had a running battle with Panthers five-eighth James Maloney, who was upset at the slowdown tactics of the Canberra Raiders in their 30-18 defeat.
At one point, Klein can be heard telling an agitated Maloney "you're being very confrontational".
Trailing 12-6 as the half-time siren sounded, Maloney attempted to continue the discussions with Klein, but was ordered away as he instead spoke with Penrith captain James Tamou.
Klein warned that Maloney, who was acting captain when Tamou was off, would be sin-binned if he questioned another refereeing decision.
Moments later Cleary met Klein in the tunnel and delivered his spray.
"We are seeking more information about that," NRL head of football Graham Annesley said on Monday.
"There seems to have been a fair amount of discussion with the players in the tunnel with the referees. We're trying to get to the extent that Ivan interacted, pointing out that he did interact to a degree, before we decide what action if any is required.
"Approaching officials at halftime is not permitted, the referees are there to do their job, the coach is there to do theirs and they should go their separate ways at halftime."
An NRL spokesman confirmed the league was still reviewing the circumstances.
"We are undertaking a review of the matter," the spokesman said. "There was a significant amount of conjecture about the circumstances, and it requires further information to be gathered."