Ciraldo, Fitzgibbon back 11-day concussion stand down
Canterbury coach Cameron Ciraldo has backed calls for a mandatory stand-down period after concussion, with the NRL considering removing exemptions that allow players to return early.
The league is seriously considering beefing up its concussion protocols, with a review continuing into whether mandatory 11-day stand downs should be enforced.
Under current rules, players are stood down for the following round after being diagnosed with a concussion, but can return to the field if cleared by an independent specialist.
While some players sit out the 11 days after a hit, it is not uncommon for others to be granted the exemption.
New rules being considered by the NRL would remove that possibility.
Ciraldo this week inadvertently became tied up in the debate around concussion and the NRL's use of an independent doctor in the bunker to look at head knocks during matches.
The rookie head coach questioned the doctor's decision to stop play to remove Bulldogs winger Jacob Kiraz from the field for a test during Saturday's loss to Manly.
That prompted his name to be mentioned among a range of coaches opposed to the independent doctor measure, alongside the more vocal Wayne Bennett and Ricky Stuart.
Bulldogs GM Phil Gould also caused headlines on Monday when he labelled the independent doctor "the greatest abomination perpetrated on our game in history", and claimed it was "overkill" from the NRL.
But Ciraldo insisted on Thursday he had no strong opinion on the use of the independent doctor, and would support the NRL taking the extra step of enforcing mandatory stand downs after diagnoses concussions.
"As someone who has kids playing the sport, you want to do whatever is best for the players," Ciraldo said.
"We are here to look after them first and foremost.
"Whatever that looks like, trust the medical professionals. We have some really good ones at this club and we go off their advice at the moment."
Cronulla coach Craig Fitzgibbon also backed the potential mandatory stand-down move on Thursday, but said it was still important concussions were treated on a case-by-case basis.
The Sharks mentor spent years as an assistant at the Sydney Roosters, where the likes of Boyd Cordner, Jake Friend and Luke Keary have been given far longer than 11 days to recover from repeated concussions.
"Whatever they come in with, we will just follow the rules accordingly," Fitzgibbon said.
"They're obviously in the interest of player health and safety. They are all case by case scenarios."
Tigers halfback Luke Brooks said player safety should be a priority, and backed the current measures.
"What they're doing at the moment is pretty good," Brooks said.
"You have to go through a lot of protocols to be deemed fit to play."