Hasler calls for 18th man replacement
Bulldogs coach Des Hasler has called for the NRL to consider introducing an 18th man replacement to each side's match day squad following the concussion suffered by prop Tim Browne in his side's demoralising 31-6 loss to the Dragons.
With the NRL discussing the possibility of cutting the interchange limit to eight or perhaps six changes moving forward, Hasler said an 18th man replacement player for injuries suffered mid-game needs to be discussed in the same light considering the introduction of stricter concussion guidelines in the past week.
Browne, who is "OK and only suffered a concussion" according to Hasler, was stretchered off after Dragons back-rower Tyson Frizell caught the prop high with a careless stiff arm.
"If they are going to drop it to eight or to six interchanges or whatever number they drop it to then I think the impact of the concussion rule, something which obviously happened [to Browne], means they are going to have to give a bit of thought about allowing each club to play their 18th man," Hasler told media after the game.
"It has been discussed and tossed up previously. Say if we lost another one through a regular concussion and you're talking about six or eight interchanges then they are definitely going to have to give it some consideration."
While Frizell was very lucky to remain on the field following his shot on Browne, Hasler believes the Dragons back-rower shouldn't have been sent from the field, drawing upon the initial low contact from prop Jack de Belin as the cause for the collision.
"Obviously the tackle went on report and let's hope the match review committee doesn't miss it and they'll deal with it accordingly," Hasler said.
"He was the second man in the tackle so no I don't think [he should've been sent from the field]."
As for his side's overall performance, Hasler said the Bulldogs' poor defence when the Dragons were in good territory played the defining part of their loss.
Hasler didn't point his finer at the loss of James Graham, David Klemmer, Sam Kasiano, Brett Morris and Tim Lafai as a contributing factor to the Dogs' third loss of the season.
"I thought we had a fair run of the play but each time they got to our end of the field they walked away with points which was the difference and telling factor," Hasler said.
"There were some poor reads on our part which is probably the most disappointing aspect given our defence is such a strong part of our game."