Immediate crusher tackle crackdown to halt “concerning increase”
Tue 18 Aug 2020, 07:08 PM
Crusher tackles will now draw a minimum one-game ban as the NRL attempts to curb a “concerning increase” in the dangerous tackling technique’s use.
The ARL Commission has announced a separate ‘crusher tackle’ charge has been added to the game’s judiciary code effective immediately after head of football Graham Annesley flagged several grade one offences this year that had not resulted in suspension.
Annesley identified 18 crusher-style tackle charges this year, equating to more than one per weekend of football.
The base penalties for crusher tackles will now be 200 points for a grade one, 350 points for a grade two and 500 points for a grade three.
Under the NRL’s judiciary code 100 points makes for a one-game suspension, with any offence deemed more serious than a grade three categorisation referred directly to the judiciary.
Previously an early guilty plea to a grade one crusher tackle-style offence would see a player escape suspension if they had no carry-over points.
“We have seen a concerning increase in the crusher-type tackles in recent years and the [ARL] Commission has approved stronger deterrents to reverse this trend,” Annesley said.
"Crusher tackles are dangerous and carry with them the real potential for catastrophic consequences to the tackled player.
"Despite the charges and warnings previously imposed, we have not seen a decline in offences, so it has become clear that the penalties we had in place were not sufficient.
"While we never want to see players suspended and would much prefer the offences do not occur, we have a responsibility to strike the right balance between deterrence and punishment.
“This is a serious player-safety issue and the changes are supported by the Rugby League Players Association.”
RLPA chief Clint Newton supported the move on behalf of the union but called for further education around the dangerous tackling style from the NRL to clubs and players.
“It is important that we continue to raise awareness across the playing group about the potential consequences of crusher-style tackles,” Newton said.
“We are supportive of the proposal as we believe it will help in achieving this, however any change endorsed by the commission should also be supported by further data analysis and education programs for players and coaching staff.”