SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 23: Panthers coach Ivan Cleary looks on after the NRL trial match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Penrith Panthers at Redfern Oval on February 23, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary has been fined by the NRL after he questioned referees’ “really, really strange calls” in his side’s 28-12 win over Canberra.

The league issued a breach notice to Cleary of $20,000 for questioning the integrity of officials.

“I am disappointed that a person in a leadership position within our game has made comments that question the integrity of our officials. Our leaders should be professional and set the standard for our game. Comments like this will not be tolerated. The foundation of our competition is its integrity and Ivan’s comments undermined that,” Acting Chief executive Andrew Abdo said in a statement.

“At times our officials, like players, will make errors during games. Everyone is entitled to their opinion on those individual decisions, but we will not accept the integrity of our officials being questioned.

“Every Monday we live stream a football briefing explaining every contentious decision. Our officiating is as open and transparent as it can possibly be. Ivan’s comments were disappointing, not aligned to the standards we uphold and will not be tolerated.”

Asked post-game whether some “dodgy” decisions went Canberra’s way to help them back into the match, Cleary didn’t hold back.

“Yeah, I’d agree,” Cleary said.

“I don’t know, it felt like they were being managed back into the game … that’s all I can say.

“There were some really, really strange calls but I guess it gave us the opportunity to continue throughout the 80 minutes which we had to and in the end that will only serve us well down the track.”

ARLC boss Peter V’Landys was reportedly furious and insisted Cleary be reprimanded, according to Fox Sport’s Hannah Hollis.

Hollis related that V’Landys said: “Those comments are deplorable, and if anyone thinks they can question the integrity of our officials they have another thing coming”.