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The NRL says imposing a 15-minute crusher tackle assessment period similar to concussion protocols – as proposed by Raiders coach Ricky Stuart to prevent injuries being milked for penalties – "will only open the door to abuse of the interchange rule".

The NRL announced a crackdown on crusher tackles earlier this week and it has taken just one game to raise the spectre of players staying down to receive a penalty – one Stuart says is "rife in the game".

Eels coach Brad Arthur bristled at suggestions Maika Sivo and Nathan Brown had deliberately stayed down in tackles that landed Storm pair Cooper Johns and Albert Vete on report in Parramatta's Thursday night victory.

Johns and Vete were notable absentees from Friday's charge sheet, however Eel Marata Niukora is facing a one-week ban for his own crusher tackle on Tom Eishenhuth.

Match Highlights: Eels v Storm

Without speaking to the two Thursday incidents, Stuart lauded the NRL's move to create a separate crusher tackle charge in a bid to stamp out the "very, very dangerous" tackling technique.

But in the same discussion Stuart called for vigilance on players milking the focus on crusher tackles for penalties, calling for the same assessment protocols used around concussion to stamp out that gamesmanship.

"We have to be very careful though because we have a situation at the moment where a lot of attackers back into the defensive line as well," Stuart said on Friday.

Coaches react to new crusher tackle guidelines

"And we're finding an exorbitant amount of penalties now given with players getting into that position.

"Yes, we have to eradicate the tackle but we've also got to be very, very mindful of players milking a penalty out of it, because you've got a players short-term career on the line.

"I think if there is a concern over a crusher tackle, I think that it should be like the HIA. A player is taken off for 15 minutes to assess the injury. Because we don't want a player having to playing on with any type of risk around the spine or the neck.

"We don't want to be risking any player with the extent of that type of injury or any injury.

"There are accidents in the game too and the last thing we need is players laying down milking a penalty from it because it's rife in the game and we need to get that out of it."

But NRL head of football Graham Annesley told on Friday that introducing such rules would only encourage teams to push the envelope in other ways.

Storm: Round 15

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Players feigning concussion symptoms in order to get their side a free interchange has been a concern for the game since HIA protocols were brought in six years ago.

"It’s extremely difficult for anyone other than a player claiming he is injured to know whether he is in fact, injured or not," Annesley told, stressing he was speaking generally and not in relation to the Eels-Storm clash.

"Referees are not doctors and are certainly not in any position to tell a player he is feigning injury.

Eels: Round 15

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"… In general, players have an ethical responsibility not to abuse rules put in place to protect them from injury.

"Suggestions of having players spend mandatory periods of time off the field if they claim they are injured from these types of tackles will only open the door to abuse of the interchange rule.

"The bottom line is, players always have a duty to accept personal responsibility for their actions as their own integrity and credibility is at stake."

Proctor free to play again in 2020

Meanwhile the NRL is set to deliver Kevin Proctor and Shaun Johnson written warnings over their public comments leading into Proctor's judicial hearing for biting his Kiwi teammate.

Proctor was served a four-game ban on Tuesday over the incident while judiciary chairman Geoff Bellew delivered a strong rebuke directed at Proctor, Johnson and Titans head of culture Mal Meninga for discussing the case on various media platforms.

At one point the NRL Integrity Unit gave consideration to fining the players for potentially prejudicing Proctor's hearing.

But understands the pair are expected to be delivered formal warnings from Rugby League Central over the comments.

It is unclear whether Meninga will also receive the same caution after claiming Proctor "feared his life was in danger" while acting as a panellist for Fox League last Saturday.

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