Cameron Smith calls for change as NRL blasted over 'embarrassing' Harry Grant incident

The NRL great has let his feelings known after the Harry Grant sin-bin left fans fuming.

Storm great Cameron Smith has called for the league to start using 'common sense' when it comes to protecting the kicker after Harry Grant's 10 minutes in the bin prompted uproar. NRL fans was left absolutely baffled on the weekend when Grant made minimal contact with Daniel Atkinson's leg when the halfback made a clearing kick from inside his own half.

Grant grazed Atkinson's leg and fans couldn't believe it meant the Storm hooker would need to spend 10 minutes in the bin to finish the first half. As seen a number of times in 2024, any contact with the kicker's leg will see a penalty for the attacking team.

Harry Grant sent to the sin-bin and Cameron Smith reacts.
Storm great Cameron Smith (pictured right) has called out the NRL for not using 'common sense' when it comes when it comes to the new rules, following the Harry Grant sin-bin. (Images: Fox Sports/Getty Images)

Except, Grant found himself walking to the sidelines. His reaction said it all when he was completely gobsmacked the minimal contact was deemed sin-bin worthy by the referee and the bunker. The Sharks then went up the other end to score a try. Most former players understand the NRL's move to protect the kicker, but Smith has slammed the competition for taking the rule too far.

The Storm legend said the NRL isn't using common sense with the new rule and claimed the game is suffering. "The other night, with the Harry Grant thing on Daniel Atkinson, it barely touched his leg," Smith said on SEN Radio. "Common sense needs to prevail here. As a game, we are going a little bit too far as to protect players from contact."

Smith spent time with Atkinson when he was at the Storm and did not feel like the contact would have hurt the halfback. And the former No.9 claimed the game has gone too far to protect the players from the slightest of contact. "I can understand the NRL cracking down on direct or forceful contact with the legs of kickers," he added.

"Let's acknowledge, they are in vulnerable position when they are kicking. But to charge someone and to put someone in the sin-bin for that incident the other night, I think we have gone a little bit overboard with this stuff."

Harry Grant celebrates with his teammates.
Harry Grant (pictured second from the left) was sent to the sin-bin after touching the kicker's leg against the Sharks.

Grant copped a grade one dangerous contact charge and a $1,000 fine for the incident. He would miss no games if he accepted the charge. However, Grant said the Storm would defend the charge at the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night.

"There was no intention to put the kicker in any (dangerous) position and I don't feel he was in a dangerous position," Grant said on Monday. "You can look back at a lot of incidents that have occurred this year and a lot of those didn't result in too much or a lot were a lot more (dangerous) and didn't result in a sin-bin.

"It's more so the understanding as well." Roosters great Braith Anasta let rip at the on-field decision on Monday and labelled it an embarrassment to the game. "I think that takes away from the game and the fans as's an embarrassing call," Anasta said on NRL 360.

Harry Gran during training.
Harry Grant (pictured) was left gobsmacked when he was sent to the sin-bin for contact on the kicker.

Lachlan Illias broke his leg when a player made contact with his kicking foot earlier this year. And Anasta agreed the game is moving in the right direction to protect kickers. However, he echoed Smith's call and claimed the referees need to use common sense when deciding whether to send a player off for 10 minutes over such minimal contact. "I understand what the NRL are trying to do, they are trying to protect the players...but there has got to be common sense and there has to be consistency," he added. Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster said he didn't have an issue with the ruling against Grant, as long as the referees were consistent for all games.

"I'm happy for referees in our game to make those decisions but you can't have one rule for one game and then go away from it in different games," Munster said. "I just want a bit more consistency, I think that's what everyone wants, so if that's the line in the sand then we understand that."