Lowe walking proof NRL crackdown needed

·2-min read

Ethan Lowe need look no further than the abrupt end to his own NRL career for proof the league's crackdown on foul play had to come.

Lowe was forced into a medical retirement last year after rupturing a disc in his neck and suffering spinal cord damage as a result of a crusher tackle.

The injury came at the worst possible time for Lowe, who had only made his Queensland State of Origin debut the previous year when he starred in the decider.

"It's definitely made it hard," Lowe told AAP.

"Realistically I was hoping to play another three or four years. I was only 29 at the time of the injury.

"I wasn't old, I was in the middle of my career.

"There is always those types of things you want to keep doing, you want to do more.

"But then I look back and think what I was able to achieve as a footy player. I was part of some pretty special things in my time."

Lowe now works for South Sydney and still has ongoing issues from the damage he classes as manageable.

But he's happy to admit he still shudders when he sees a crusher tackle, knowing the damage it did to him.

And beyond that, it acts as proof the NRL's controversial crackdown is needed.

"Definitely (the crackdown is right), when you can see the end effects of it," Lowe said.

"As a footy player before the injury I wasn't thinking you would end up with a spinal cord injury from it. That's not something that goes through your head.

"And now I've been able to see the consequences first hand, it's definitely positive they are cracking down as hard as they are.

"It's one of those things, sometimes it just ends up in an awkward situation which is not what you want.

"There are times when it is unavoidable and unfortunately people get suspended for stuff that is out of their control.

"But you have to crack down on all of them so they get the point across."

Of the 101 charges players have been found guilty of this year, 12 have been from crusher tackles.

More than half of the others have also pertained to head and neck contact, along with seven of the 14 sin-bins in Magic Round and all three send-offs.

"With all the stuff that has come out on concussions and what we know about them, knocks to the head aren't the best," Lowe said.

"Some people might think it's over-reaching, but you talk to people who have had multiple concussions and head injuries.

"I'm sure they wish that it was cracked down on a bit more back in the time as well."

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