Heavy handed: NRL cracks down on foul play
Tue, 24 Jul 2012 6:39p.m.
By Australia Correspondent Rachel Morton
Six weeks out from the playoffs the NRL has come down hard on foul play in an extraordinary crackdown.
Eight players have been charged with on-field offences, and one of them is facing the biggest ban handed out in the last seven years.
When the Panthers' Travis Burns was sent off he would have expected a trip to the NRL judiciary, but not that he would become the first player in 12 years to be charged with an "intentional" high tackle.
That, on top of a so-called ‘chicken wing tackle’ earlier in the game and previous form at the judiciary, means Burns faces up to 17 weeks on the sideline.
But many believe the punishment doesn't match the crime.
“I don't think it was directly intentional, I certainly don't think those two tackles combined, that Travis Burns’ career deserves to be in threat because of it,” says Mathew Johns.
The match review committee's hard line stance on anyone who crossed the line at the weekend has stirred up plenty of controversy.
While Kiwis fullback Josh Hoffman's two-week ban for dangerous contact and Auckland-born Queenslander Ben Te'o's one game for a careless tackle aren't debated, the one that has created a storm is once again the shoulder charge.
The Rabbitohs are risking a potential five-game ban to superstar Greg Inglis by fighting a grade four dangerous contact charge that's left them incensed, when previous incidents that put the shoulder charge under the microscope didn't receive the same treatment.
And more talk of outlawing the code's controversial tackling technique doesn't go down well with former Kangaroos hardman Gorden Tallis.
“Nearly 90,000 thousand tackles [made so far this season], and we've had nine of them shoulder charges, c'mon tree huggers, get out of our game,” says Tallis.
The NRL’s shoulder charge review committee isn’t due to report back until at least the end of the season.
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