Yeah it’s complete BS that they grab their head and immediately the ref reacts. In fact I can’t recall this year if I’ve seen a player grab his neck and ref just tell him to get up and play on.
Fair enough if there’s a question on it, pause play and send it upstairs for a second. If it’s a penalty then so be it, if not, the attacking team has wasted their own momentum.
Gutherson is particularly bad for it, after the Packer penalty I watched carefully, he literally backs into 90% of his tackles. And I’m not talking Aaron Woods-style tall-timber backing up, he hunches down and pushes back with his heels, so if you push against him it’s automatically putting pressure on the neck with no intent. And if you let him go, he’ll just spin out of the tackle.
The commentators went overboard for the Packer one, he seems to place light pressure then realise and let the head slip by his side. I honestly didn’t even think it warranted a penalty, but if that’s the precedent, so be it, but by no means should he be suspended.
Otherwise every dude for the rest of the year will be intentionally backing through tackles with his head tucked in.