Written by Callum Walker
It’s one of the most horrendous things to witness on a rugby league field, but finally, action against the crusher tackle has been taken by the NRL.
Crusher tackles are now going to be given a minimum one-game ban in a bid to reduce the dangerous move with the ARL Commission also announcing a separate ‘crusher tackle’ charge has been added to the sport’s judiciary code.
That decision has been taken by head of football Graham Annesley who brought attention to the number of grade one offences that have not been punished by suspension in the NRL this season.
According to Annesley, the number of crusher-style tackle charges this season totals 18, which is more than per weekend of rugby league.
Crusher tackles will now hold 200 points for a grade one with 350 points for a grade two and 500 for a grade three.
The NRL’s current judiciary code sees 100 points enough for a one-game suspension, but any offence more dangerous than a grade three categorisation goes straight to the judiciary.
Before, however, an early guilty plea to a grade one crusher-style tackle would have enabled a player to escape suspension if they hadn’t been cited before.
Some have claimed it doesn’t go far enough with calls for a minimum of a three-game ban doing the rounds, but it is certainly a start to reverse the trend plaguing the NRL.
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Crusher tackles are incredibly precarious for the person on the ground, with the consequences often harrowing if the pressure applied to the neck is heavy.
And, despite the warnings given by the governing body, offences have increased rather than decrease. As such, it has left the hierarchy with no option but to increase the level of punishment in a bid to deter players from engaging in such action.
Of course, player safety is paramount and the Rugby League Players Association is in agreement with the changes. Like anything dangerous, players need to be educated in the potential consequences and making the charge more serious is certainly a good way to start.