Billy Slater of the Storm watches from the sidelines during the NRL trial match against the Raiders. Photo: Getty Images
A FURIOUS Canberra will issue a ''please explain'' to the NRL, demanding answers why Melbourne's Billy Slater was allowed to withdraw from the All Stars clash and play in a trial when the Raiders' All Stars players were banned from doing so.
Canberra was left fuming when Slater was given two cameos on Friday night, despite pulling out of Saturday's night's All Stars clash in Brisbane with an ankle injury.
The Raiders wanted to withdraw Jack Wighton (hand) and Joel Thompson (shoulder) from the Indigenous All Stars side, but were warned by the NRL the players couldn't be named for the Storm trial.
Canberra's six-strong All Stars representation was more than any other club, and Raiders officials were ropeable when Slater lined up in Geelong.
Manly back-rower Anthony Watmough also pulled out of the NRL All Stars side, but played in a trial against Cronulla on Friday night.
The Raiders insist Wighton and Thompson were unlikely to play in Friday's trial anyway, but believe they were victims of double standards.
Incensed Canberra chief executive Don Furner plans to write to the NRL on Monday to clarify the situation.
''We'll write a 'please explain' asking how they can do that,'' Furner said.
''Jack Wighton's had to have some treatment on a hand and Joel Thompson on a shoulder, most clubs would have pulled them out.
''We said if we pull them out we're not going to play them in the trial, we wouldn't do that.
''Once again we do the right thing, and I'm not sure the other clubs do.''
Furner said the Raiders would have to reassess their support for the All Stars concept if other clubs don't treat it with similar respect.
''We treat it seriously. We're the ones supplying six players, and probably seven if Tom Learoyd-Lahrs was fit,'' Furner said.
''If other clubs aren't going to treat it seriously, well then we're not going to in the future.''
The Raiders will be on the warpath should Wighton and Thompson's injuries worsen after playing in the All Stars clash.
''We'll be watching it, and fingers crossed they don't aggravate it,'' Furner said.
Storm boss Frank Ponissi defended the Slater situation in The Canberra Times on Friday.
''What people forget is the All Stars now, the players tell you when they get back it's not a trial, the intensity and speed of the game is very high,'' he said.
''He just wasn't confident of getting through 80 minutes given the lack of training he's had.''
AT A GLANCE
NRL trial match: CANBERRA RAIDERS 40 (D Pelo 2, S Earl 2, J Dugan, J Papalii, H Hodge, E Lee tries; J Croker 2, J Dugan 2 goals) bt MELBOURNE STORM 8 (M Duffie; R Kennar tries) at Simonds Stadium, Geelong on Friday.