The National Rugby League has warned all clubs that referees will closely monitor any tackle that would constitute dangerous contact during this week’s Telstra Premiership matches and that there would be further guidelines in relation to unnecessary attacks on a player’s legs during a tackle.
NRL Director of Football Operations, Mr Nathan McGuirk, has met with Referees Coaches Stuart Raper and Bill Harrigan this week to highlight concerns regarding defenders who act as second or third men into a tackle by targeting the legs of player who is largely held.
“The last thing anyone wants to do is prevent someone tackling around the legs but there is clearly a potential for a dangerous situation to develop around the trend of players charging at the legs comparatively late in the tackle,” Mr McGuirk said.
“The first thing everyone needs to remind themselves of is the existing provisions of the judiciary code which state that ‘conduct which involves an unacceptable risk of injury to the opposing player’ can be charged as Contrary Conduct.
“The ‘missile’ or ‘cannon-ball’ tackle is one we have been looking at closely for some months and we are very close to finalising a number of guidelines that we believe will reduce the potential risks.
“This will require a time of further communication with clubs and football departments but we expect that it can happen in the very near future and perhaps as early as next week.
“In the meantime, match reviewers and referees will continue to keep a close eye on any conduct which would represent an unacceptable risk under the existing code.”