Criticism of chirpy Mahoney out of proportion: Bulldogs

Jasper Bruce |

Canterbury hooker Reed Mahoney (centre) is adept at provoking a reaction from opponents.
Canterbury hooker Reed Mahoney (centre) is adept at provoking a reaction from opponents.

Criticism of Reed Mahoney’s niggling is over the top Cameron Ciraldo says, the Canterbury coach insisting his hooker is doing nothing to fall foul of the NRL’s rulebook.

Mahoney became entangled with Nicho Hynes at halftime of last week’s 15-14 defeat of Cronulla, standing toe-to-toe with the Sharks halfback after the pair collided during the last play before the break.

It was the latest instance of Mahoney causing a stir by clashing with a rival, having got under the skin of Newcastle prop Jack Hetherington and Wests Tigers’ Alex Seyfarth during games this year.

Media scrutiny on the hooker flared up following his latest confrontation, while Billy Slater and Andrew Johns have previously warned Mahoney against developing a reputation as an on-field pest.

But ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Warriors, Ciraldo felt too much was being made of the 26-year-old’s chirpy ways.

“Reed earlier in the year set the tone for us sticking up for each other as a group but it’s been taken out of proportion since then,” the Bulldogs coach said.

“I think back to a couple of earlier games (when) he was probably in the thick of it, but since then he hasn’t really done anything. 

“Then as soon as he’s in there (against Hynes), everyone thinks it’s his fault.

“Everyone thinks it’s Reed that initiated it, but it clearly wasn’t.”

Ciraldo was keen for Mahoney to continue sticking up for his teammates.

“I’m very comfortable with what Reed’s doing,” he said. 

“I’ve spoken to the referees and they’re really clear with what he’s doing as well.

“He’s not going anywhere near breaking the rules.

“He’s having a really good year, building his game on effort and energy. We’re really excited about how he’s going and where he’s developing.”

Connor Tracey will reclaim the fullback jersey on his return from a head knock for the clash against the Warriors, pushing Jacob Kiraz to the wing.

“It won’t be too bad for him having the week off last week and just getting his body right,” Ciraldo said.

Meanwhile, Warriors captain Tohu Harris has been ruled out of Saturday’s game with a wrist injury.

Dylan Walker will pack down at lock with prop Bunty Afoa coming onto the Warriors’ bench.