Rugby League

Canberra Raiders forward Jarrad Kennedy brushes off groin grab from Cronulla Sharks

Canberra fans have taken a Secret Squirrel approach and continue to cry foul over alleged niggling tactics by the Cronulla Sharks, but Raiders players assure there's nothing to worry about.

Images are circulating on social media of Sharks players allegedly grabbing at the groins of Canberra players in Sunday night's season opener at Cronulla.

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Sharks skipper Paul Gallen was pictured with his hands down the pants of Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson, which the England international dismissed as an accident.

Raiders fans have also suggested that fullback Jack Wighton lashed out in retaliation to being "manhandled" in a tackle, which resulted in his sin-binning.

Focus on Warriors: Raiders second-rower Jarrad Kennedy has moved on from the Sharks game.
Focus on Warriors: Raiders second-rower Jarrad Kennedy has moved on from the Sharks game. Photo: Graham Tidy

Raiders back-rower Jarrad Kennedy has responded to a still image of a tackle early in the game, showing Gallen's hand near his groin.

"What happens on the field, stays on the field," Kennedy said.

"We just go out there and play the game … there's that much hype and adrenaline in the game.

"It's a game of footy, you don't notice that sort of thing."

An NRL spokesman said the NRL match review committee had reviewed the game and was comfortable with its position after the game.

In 2008, Gallen was fuming after Gold Coast Titans utility Josh Graham accused the Sharks forward of grabbing and squeezing his "wheels".

The complaint was examined by the NRL's match review committee, but Gallen was cleared because of a lack of evidence.

Kennedy was a late inclusion against the Sharks, recovering from a leg injury to play the entire 80 minutes in Canberra's 24-20 win.

He said the squad was only concerned about moving on and focusing on Sunday's first home game, against the New Zealand Warriors at Canberra Stadium.

Kennedy is coming off a breakthrough season where he played 20 first-grade games for the Raiders after debuting in 2012.

Raiders recruit Sia Soliola made a solid return to the NRL last weekend after five years in the UK Super League.

The 28-year-old back-rower racked up 117 metres from 15 hit ups and 38 tackles.

While Warriors Shaun Johnson and Manu Vatuvei have terrorised the Raiders in recent seasons, Soliola said Canberra would also be wary of English fullback Sam Tomkins, who returns to the New Zealand squad this week.

"Sam's always a handful and he didn't get Man of Steel for nothing, he brings a lot to the table and adds a lot of potency to their attack," Soliola said.

NRL Round Two: Canberra Raiders v New Zealand Warriors on Sunday at Canberra Stadium, 6.30pm. TV: Live on Fox Sports. Tickets from Ticketek.