ARLC shoulder charge ban too ‘reactive’

Melanie Dinjaski November 21, 2012, 1:40 pm

Bone crunching, shudder inducing, and bloody awesome.

Is there anything more beautiful than a player been flattened by the surging force of a rugby league player? It’s raw power on show in one of the toughest contact sports in the world, but now we have to say goodbye to it all because a few players got it a little bit wrong.

Thanks to the ARLC’s banning of shoulder charges yesterday, the delightful thud of muscles impacting at full speed will now be muted, leaving the league world in mourning.

No longer will we be exalting at rib-rattling hits from the likes of Greg Inglis, Jamal Idris and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

I suppose we should just drop the ‘league’ in ‘rugby league’ and be done with it then, right?

Because we’ve now lost a major crowd-pleasing part of our game, and the one thing that made the sport that little bit more thrilling than union.

Instead of having greater difference, each year it appears we’re becoming more and more like it.

Expect to be treated to more penalties from referees struggling to enforce the ban during games next season, and don’t be surprised if there are more suspensions as a result too, with players having trouble switching off what is a purely instinctual attacking and defensive component of rugby league.

And let’s not even go into the potential grey area of what is a deliberate shoulder charge or body check and what is an attempted tackle. It’s sure to cause confusion on the field and at the judiciary.

The reason for the ban? Player safety. Which is a good initiative, sure, however tackles can go awry too, but we’re not about to ban tackles are we?

When shoulder charges are such a rare and special part of the game that reportedly result in injury to less than five percent of those involved, it seems premature to simply ban them outright like this. Especially when there are other methods to manage the shoulder charge and ensure player safety in the game all around (few options of which have been adequately explored).

No-one wants this except the ARLC.

The fans don’t want it. Judging by the outrage shared by players on social media, they don’t want it either and I can bet newly recruited Sydney Rooster Sonny Bill Williams won’t be too happy with the decision.

So what gives, ARLC? A little bit “reactive” don’t you think?

Follow Melanie on Twitter, @MelanieDinjaski

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  1. Adam03:12pm Wednesday 21st November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    It seems quite reactive and maybe hasty too yes, however, anything to lessen injuries in the game is in theory a good thing. Yes, it's a good exciting part of the game that we seem to be losing, but I personally will reserve my judgement until next season starts and I watch a few games. Then and only then will it become clear (to me at least) whether it was too reactive and premature.

  2. KRISH12:48pm Thursday 22nd November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Next what...NFL type protective gear?!

  3. Stephen10:38pm Thursday 22nd November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    We just got one step closer to being afl.

  4. LOL08:22pm Friday 23rd November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Not reactive at all. The medical experts dont think so. AFL and Union are both step ahead. NRL players and administrators have the lowest IQ on average of the 3 footy codes. The reaction to the ban says it all.

  5. NIck03:30pm Thursday 03rd January 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Bone breaking, concussion causing and a deliberate attempt to take the player "out". This is the most positive and proactive step in Australian Rugby League for many a year. Congratulations. Many will not have the nouse to understand the medical decisions behind this action.

  6. Chapelli06:02pm Tuesday 05th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    You see knuckleheads, it's not that AFL was too soft, its just that it is a more played, more popular (TV, crowds, etc). It saw what was happening in Euro Soccer and USA NFL and realised that it was too costly (read insurance) to have the collisions it once had- it therefore took out the slam (where player was thrown to the ground) tackle and 'shirt front' (front-on) tackle. NRL being a smaller/less folllowed comp, than AFL, were slower to understand this. Watch for further developments. My bet is that the 'above the shoulder' tackle will be enforced as stringently as it is the AFL.