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