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NRL head of football Graham Annesley has warned players and coaches to "take note" of a worrying tackling trend before it causes serious injury.

Annesley on Monday said there had been an increase in defenders dropping their hips and body weight onto the unprotected back legs of ball carriers to finish a tackle.

He showed two such incidents from 2019, both of which resulted in grade-one dangerous contact charges, where the second or third man into the tackle awkwardly landed on and folded the attacker's legs.

The technique in focus is different to the cannonball-type effort that resulted in Bulldogs centre Reimis Smith's one-match ban after Broncos captain Alex Glenn suffered an MCL injury in round nine.

"It's not the fact they're coming in low that's the concern here," Annesley said at his weekly football briefing.

Annesley 'awards' try to Hunt a day later

"I'm not suggesting that these things are deliberate acts but they're certainly a concern from a player safety perspective."

Annesley "would like to think that they are accidents rather than a manoeuvre that's being coached" but said the match review committee would not hesitate to lay charges.

"I'm not suggesting that every time there's an awkward fall in a game that it would necessarily bring itself to the notice of the match review committee and result in a charge," Annesley said.

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"It's not something that we're saying we're introducing as a new crackdown or a new charge that hasn't been used before … But it's best to try and nip these things in the bud if we can.

"Every player on the field, whether or not they appear before the judiciary, has a duty of care to protect the safety of other players … We're raising it today to try and prevent something from happening rather than waiting until it's too late.

"I'm only talking about the type of incident where a player will drop with his full weight on the leg of an opponent in an unprotected position.

"There are [some] that have happened this year that have come under the scrutiny of the match review committee, but at this stage haven't been charged."

Annesley also conceded players taking a dive in the hope of earning a penalty following minimal off-the-ball contact could become an issue.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart on Friday told the Sydney Morning Herald "our game is in danger of becoming soccer".

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His comments came after Canberra winger Jordan Rapana was penalised for an escort on Roosters centre Josh Morris as they jostled to catch a bomb in the second half of last round's grand final rematch.

The Raiders successfully challenged the call and Morris had been accusing of foxing.

"We have to make sure they're not bringing the game into ridicule, for the want of a better term, as we see in some other sports – players taking ridiculous dives in situations where the contact is minimal," Annesley said.

"Diving is a problem in other sports. We don't want to see it become a problem in rugby league. Does it happen from time to time? Of course it does, but it's a matter of finding that balance.

"You can't weigh the scales too heavily one way or the other. You can't allow players to get away with taking other players out when they don't have possession of the ball.

"But equally you don't want to see soft penalties for players being taken out when the contact has been minimal or there's been a brushing contact."

Elsewhere, Annesley was comfortable with the NRL Bunker's decision to award Eels centre Waqa Blake a controversial try against Manly.

NRL Bunker confirms try to Blake

Blake streaked 90 metres after he took possession from prop Martin Taupau in a two-man tackle.

Annesley believes it was 50-50 as to whether Taupau had lost control or Blake had stripped the ball.

"I'm not prepared to say it was wrong ... I think there is definitely an obligation of the ball-carrier to try and secure the ball," he said.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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