NRL constantly inconsistent in the case of punishments for head-high contact

Over the previous couple of years, the NRL has launched so many new guidelines that I’m genuinely struggling to maintain monitor.
However there’s no level in introducing new guidelines if they don’t seem to be enforced or worse, if the one consistency we are able to rely on is inconsistency.

One space the place we’re more and more seeing inconsistency is within the policing of excessive/late pictures.

Final Friday night time, within the match between the Parramatta Eels and Penrith Panthers, Bailey Simonsson was taken off the sector for an HIA within the first two minutes of the sport, after a excessive shot from Jarome Luai.

Simonsson failed his HIA and didn’t return. This had an affect on the sport. Coaches not often carry an additional outdoors again on their benches and naturally, don’t plan to lose an outdoor again so early.

Parramatta are already stretched for outdoor backs and its considered one of their weak factors for his or her 2024 marketing campaign. Fairly than disrupt the halves pairing or one other mixture on the sector Brad Arthur made the choice to shift Kelma Tuilagi to centre and Morgan Harper to the wing. Penrith are a wise soccer staff so simply saved attacking that edge with nice success all through the sport.

My query is, why did Luai stay on the sector?

It doesn’t appear honest {that a} staff can lose a participant so early (or at any level in any respect) and that the one actual punishment for Luai was a penalty towards him. It rubbed salt into the wound when Luai was placed on report a second time within the recreation for tripping Mitchell Moses. I perceive that is not a ‘straight to the sin bin’ offence, however my query is why?

It’s a grubby and harmful act, to not point out utterly pointless.

In some way Laui has escaped suspension, regardless of being placed on report twice. However the end result for Parramatta is extra dire. Parramatta might be with out Simonsson this week because of the NRL concussion protocols, which should be in place.

It wasn’t the one incident on the weekend although.

There was additionally the late shot on Viliame Kikau. Briton Nikora stayed on the sector however has now copped a two-week suspension.

Nikora is, to many individuals’s shock not a giant participant. I ponder whether the result would have been the identical if the roles had been reversed and a much bigger man in Kikau put a late shot on Nikora?

After we are speaking about concussion and excessive pictures, it’s not nearly making use of the principles constantly for the sake of consistency.

There’s most likely no larger concern going through contact sports activities in the intervening time than concussion.

Within the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday, there was one other article about concussion and particularly seven circumstances present in former footy gamers’ brains. It’s sobering studying and scary to consider a few of the different neurological points that had been present in all six brains of former rugby league and rugby union gamers that had been studied (together with Alzheimer’s, Lewy physique illness and sclerosis).

Whereas gamers might have a laissez-faire method to concussion whereas they’re taking part in, considering that they’re invincible, it’s changing into clearer that protocols should be put in place in order that our recreation is as protected as attainable for present gamers and for the technology of gamers to come back.

It’s additionally essential from a threat administration perspective for sports activities to handle their legal responsibility in the case of neglecting to grasp the affect of ongoing collisions.

That’s the place the NRL has a task as a governing physique, to set requirements and put practices in place. However that is solely as efficient as it may be with enforcement.

The start of the 12 months is a chance for the NRL, the referees and the judiciary to work collectively to set the usual of expectation for the approaching 12 months.

I’m underwhelmed with what I’ve seen to date in the case of concussion.

I keep in mind a few years again throughout Magic Spherical, when the NRL introduced its ‘crackdown’ on excessive pictures. And a crackdown it was with participant after participant being despatched to the bin for top contact. It might have felt extreme, however within the weeks that adopted the variety of excessive pictures lowered.

The issue was that the NRL didn’t stick with its weapons, and we at the moment are again in a world the place its unclear to me when a participant ought to and shouldn’t be despatched off for a excessive shot and the way we’re deterring gamers from that kind of conduct sooner or later.

If it’s unclear to me, little question its unclear to the gamers and to the coaches. It’s an space the place we are able to’t afford for that lack of readability to grow to be the norm.

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