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Instant red and yellow cards for head contact in the NRL


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I'd make it a penalty offence, without necessarily issuing a yellow or red card, if the point of contact is above the nipples/armpits/middle of the breast bone rather than (as it is now) above the collarbones. This will force tacklers to aim about 150 mm lower to stay legal (and avoid a penalty) and reduce the risk of tacklers shoulders or arms, ''riding up'' and making contact with the head. If this ''limit'' is accepted by the current players and taught to all newcomers, then it should have a beneficial effect by significantly reducing the incidence of contact with the head. 

Edited by fighting irish
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5 hours ago, Man of Kent said:

I'm all for a clamp down on deliberate contact to the head but I'm instinctively wary of zero tolerance rules that leave no margin for interpretation.

Exactly . We often react by overreacting and some of the things we’re seeing penalised and put on report are ridiculous . Yellow and red cards for reckless and dangerous contact fine , I’ve been calling for onfield sanctions , but there’s got to be some nuance and common sense . I keep hearing about eradicating contact to the head but I’ve never heard how we do it yet . It’s a high speed collision sport , players are moving and things are split second . Often it’s accidental or incidental or minimal . Guy falls over and a defender with his arm by his side makes contact with his head at ankle height ... he gets put on report and potentially sin binned. How do you eradicate all these things . Grant ATKINS said this morning ‘ it’s not my problem it’s how it is ‘ . There’s gonna be some mayhem with hard and fast rules without gray areas or any application of empathy with the game . I say again , dangerous reckless foul play use the sanctions , on report is a cop out . Clampdown all you want without distinction in terms of officialdom but many things in the nature of the game just won’t change . It’s rugby league . In terms of 6 again , just use the penalty more to begin with 

Edited by DavidM
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3 hours ago, Dave T said:

The fact that this has gone down the route of accidental tackles is interesting. I don't know what games other people are watching, but I dont see many high tackles where the tackler has done no wrong. 

I mean even the OP has alleged that the ball carriers aim their heads at a tackles arm to get them penalised. 

High tackles in relation to the tackled player's height I will agree with you, but if you suggest you have never witnessed a "high tackle" awarded when a player has suddenly lost 6, 12 18" or more through slipping or stumbling as the tackle is in the motion of being effected then you are either telling fibs to back up your argument or you had your eyes closed at the time.

Edited by Harry Stottle
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It’s going to be tough for a few weeks whilst the players get used to the stricter rules but ultimately we’re going to be left with a safer game and less concussions/injuries. And less court cases! 

Short term pain for long term game I think!

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7 minutes ago, Southerner said:

 

It’s going to be tough for a few weeks whilst the players get used to the stricter rules but ultimately we’re going to be left with a safer game and less concussions/injuries. And less court cases! 

Short term pain for long term game I think!

But it looks knee jerk after some high profile errors of officialdom  , and that we’ve went from one extreme to the other . The game is quick and getting quicker , accidents happen , minimal contact happens , some things are just unavoidable in the nature of the sport . Having one catch all rule with no common sense or nuance at all is just silly and won’t end well in terms of the perception or quality of the spectacle . Some of these things are just ridiculous . Players aren’t trying to do all this , so stricter rules won’t make the difference unless everyone tackles low ... and get concussion from getting their head in the wrong place 

Edited by DavidM
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It looks to be me a case of being seen to be doing something. I imagine the NRL probably know it's not straight head shots that make up the main of the concussion problem, most of it is general high speed collisions especially in quick succession, but head shots you can outlaw. What does rugby league look like without high speed collisions? It's a different sport, they're just doing what they can in anticipation of the court case that's no doubt coming. If it becomes apparent they let the game continue how it was with what they know now they'd be in much bigger hot water. 

I was born to run a club like this. Number 1, I do not spook easily, and those who think I do, are wasting their time, with their surprise attacks.

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Playing Devil's advocate here but I'd like to know how many Head Injury Assessments are for the defender who gets his head in the wrong place whilst tackling low.

Secondly, if this rule is taken to other competitions, I can see plenty of instances where a player stays down holding their chin to exaggerate the contact, much like the neck rubbing from a few years ago.

I gave up on the game a few years ago when as a defender McIlorum (of Wigan) stumbled and fell into the arm/elbow of a Hull FC attacker and the Hull player was sent off.

This could end up like VAR upsetting spectators and it could actually deter children from playing, not because it's deemed safer but because it seems less enjoyable and more disruptive. A potential benefit to Tag rugby though.

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9 hours ago, The Daddy said:

In one Championship game I watched on the weekend there were 3-4 penalties against a single team for a high tackle which means with the new rule they'd have 9 players left on the field.

I suspect that if they knew the rule before taking to the field they’d be more careful.

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36 minutes ago, Copa said:

I suspect that if they knew the rule before taking to the field they’d be more careful.

Yes but the game is fast and players act on instinct. Sometimes they stick an arm out instinctively and catch someone. Under this rule all players who do this would be sin binned. The current rules still allow discretion, for example if they accidentally caught someone but didn't hurt them. Equally wreckless or dangerous play, even instinctively, can still be punished. I'm not convinced punishing everyone like this will help. I would prefer to see more severe punishment for wreckless or dangerous play which connects with a player above head height 

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5 hours ago, hindle xiii said:

If anyone wants reminding or to disagree the McIlorum and Watts clash is here.

I know it's off topic but maybe it's more relevant than I realise.

Ive never seen that clip before.

Rarely have I seen an official’s interpretation of events being so far removed from the incident he witnessed.

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Surely the sensible thing to do is use lower profile competitions, like the NSW/Qld Cup or Championship/L1, to trial rule changes and gather data on their impact on the game, players, fans, etc. Instead we make it up on the hoof and unleash them on one of the showpiece events of the calendar. I fear we're doing the same with the RLWC, where the IRL had to effectively negotiate the rules for the event a couple of weeks back.

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2 hours ago, nadera78 said:

Surely the sensible thing to do is use lower profile competitions, like the NSW/Qld Cup or Championship/L1, to trial rule changes and gather data on their impact on the game, players, fans, etc.

This is a really good point but I think it speaks to how disjointed we are that that simply doesn't occur to anyone.

(Ongoing examples right now that I'm aware: some of the local football leagues are involved in the ongoing trial around sin bins; baseball ("just rounders that") using 'partner leagues' last season and this to test out changes like pitch clocks and using tech to call strikes).

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15 hours ago, Harry Stottle said:

High tackles in relation to the tackled player's height I will agree with you, but if you suggest you have never witnessed a "high tackle" awarded when a player has suddenly lost 6, 12 18" or more through slipping or stumbling as the tackle is in the motion of being effected then you are either telling fibs to back up your argument or you had your eyes closed at the time.

Of course I have, but it is a rarity which makes it odd that it has become the main focus of the defence here. 

I remember Matty Russell getting his face bashed and his teeth knocked out by a reckless tackle that the RFL defended because he wasn't stood 100% upright. It was still a horrendous reckless tackle and nobody had the right to do that. 

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7 hours ago, Sports Prophet said:

 

4 hours ago, Big Picture said:

WTF?  Since when is contact around the shoulders high?

That wasn't round the shoulders. It was high and reckless and the tackler actually had his feet off the ground during parts of the Tackle. 

These tackles should absolutely be banned, no matter how 'surprised' the tackler looks and the commentators sound. 

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I don't really get the overreaction comments. High tackles have been a huge issue for as long as I can remember and the game goes round and round in circles with various short term directives and always ends up in the same place with no improvement.

I think firm action is exactly what is needed to permanently change behaviour and attitudes. There is simply no reason why players cant be targeting no higher than armpit level and the chest area with still a little margin for error. It is often laziness, especially with shoulder contact to the head, and poor technique that leads to high tackles. There is little excuse for that.

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6 minutes ago, Damien said:

 

I think firm action is exactly what is needed to permanently change behaviour and attitudes. There is simply no reason why players cant be targeting no higher than armpit level and the chest area with still a little margin for error. It is often laziness, especially with shoulder contact to the head, and poor technique that leads to high tackles. There is little excuse for that.

Agree with all your comments, people will always use unintentionally outcomes of tackles to stop a change that in modern society that sports need to make. 

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3 hours ago, Davo5 said:

Total overreaction from the NRL that will kill the game if it continues.

I stopped watching football when it became a non contact sport and we are in danger of making RL unwatchable.

So very very true Dav, the ref managed to spoil the Souths v Cronulla game, Chad Townsend penalised and put on report for nothing at all.

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22 minutes ago, ELBOWSEYE said:

Agree with all your comments, people will always use unintentionally outcomes of tackles to stop a change that in modern society that sports need to make. 

I understand from your emoji you disagree with my comments, you are free to put alternative opinions or just post daft emojis. 

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I watched the Raiders game where Papalii was sent off for a hit to the head. As I saw it, the rule was made for this exact reason. The hit to the head involved the shoulder and was avoidable. 
RL will not survive as a game unless players change their technique. I don’t care if a team is disadvantaged for head shot send offs and becomes one sided. A sportsman's career is short but he has to live with the effects of the game for a lifetime. 

Edited by RayCee
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2 hours ago, Dave T said:

 

That wasn't round the shoulders. It was high and reckless and the tackler actually had his feet off the ground during parts of the Tackle. 

These tackles should absolutely be banned, no matter how 'surprised' the tackler looks and the commentators sound. 

So how would you term this tackle?

If it had been deliberate I am sure Hep Cahill would have had some reaction from the Warrington players around him but they didn't do anything whatsoever, in my opinion they all saw it for what it was, a tackle aimed at the midriff which it would have been had Hodgson not put his head in the collision area, no way whatsoever could Cahill pull out of it, and had Hodgson been upright we would all be saying what a great timed tackle it was. 

Cahill got sent off and suffered a long suspension which was absolutely ridiculous.

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22 hours ago, Chris22 said:

A 2014 study found that 39% of all injuries in rugby league were related to concussion.

The review found that concussion accounted for 29% of all injuries associated with illegal play, but 9% of injuries sustained in legal play. 

This week we have reports that a player is getting headaches and concussion like symptoms riding a bike after suffering two HIA's this year.

Stevie Ward has retired very early due to concussions and continues with severe symptoms.

Players are suing the sport for negligence due to concussion.

Like it or not this is an issue that will not go away. Positive action to deal with it and keep our best players playing should always be welcomed.

They are being sued by ambulance chasing lawyers. The game is a fast moving  contact sport. 

In soccer,  players deliberately head the ball, repeatedly, legally.   Boxers regularly hit each other in the head, repeatedly. 

Go figure. 

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