Cameron Smith fumes over 'unfair' accusation from NRL legend

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Cameron Smith looks on during commentary for a State of Origin game. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
Cameron Smith looks on during commentary for a State of Origin game. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Cameron Smith has hit back at suggestions from NRL legend Greg Alexander that the Melbourne Storm are responsible for the hip-drop tackles currently plaguing the game.

Brisbane forward Patrick Carrigan was suspended for four games this week after a tackle that broke Jackson Hastings' ankle.

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Carrigan was the third man into a tackle during the Broncos' clash with the Tigers, dropping his full weight on Hastings' ankle as he dragged him to the ground.

The Sharks have also asked for a please explain from the NRL after fullback Will Kennedy suffered a serious ankle injury in a tackle from Souths forward Tevita Tatola that they claim was a 'hip-drop'.

Addressing the furore earlier this week, Penrith Panthers great Alexander said the Storm were solely responsible for bringing the hip-drop into the game, saying they 'led the way' with the controversial technique.

However Smith returned serve to Alexander to deny that suggestion.

“Brandy (Alexander) is a great analyst of the game and one of the greatest players of our game,” Smith said on SEN radio.

“I just don’t know how he came up with that comment. To single out one club and to say that they introduced that tackle into our sport, that’s over the top.

“I can’t ever recall seeing Brandy at one of our training sessions throughout my career and my 20 years at Melbourne.

“I work with Brandy on our radio station and he’s a great fella, but to single out the Melbourne Storm, that’s really unfair, really unfair.

“To say that a club or even clubs now are practising or teaching their players to fall into the back of legs, I think that’s a little bit over the top.”

Jackson Hastings, pictured here after breaking his leg.
Jackson Hastings is out for the rest of the NRL season. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Alexander then doubled down on Friday morning in response to Smith.

“I didn’t think it was any type of revelation when I made those comments about the hip-drop emanating out of Melbourne Storm,” he said.

“I thought it was just general consensus that over the last 20 years that all the tackles, the wrestling techniques had come out of Melbourne.

“I might be generalising or even jumping to a conclusion, but I don’t think I am.

“These tackles over the last 20 years, all the different types of techniques, they appear in the game and it takes the game a little while to catch up to them.

“I think history shows - and it’s not a stretch for me to jump to a Melbourne Storm conclusion - that the grapple, the chicken wing, the rolling pin, the crusher, the hip-drop... I think they all emanate out of Melbourne.

“Melbourne have led the way. They have changed the game back in 2002-3 where the wrestle became part of the game.”

Assistant coach Greg Alexander, pictured here during a NSW Blues training session.
Assistant coach Greg Alexander looks on during a NSW Blues training session. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Cameron Smith calls for NRL to make key change

Smith said he believes the 'hip-drop' has crept into the game because there is no reward for defenders to make a textbook legs tackle nowadays.

“It’s harder to make one-on-one tackles so you’re taught to make multiple defender tackles,” he said.

“The game has taken away any reward for good legs tackles, one-on-one legs tackles. You watch the games over this weekend, if someone makes a good covering tackle around the legs, or even just a good front on tackle on-one-one… as soon as the ball carrier hits the turf, the referee is screaming at the tackler to release.

“If you actually watch the game closely and you watch every tackle, these tackles are performed all the time.

“You could almost find one of these tackles in every set. But it’s not until someone gets injured or there’s a really, really ugly, messy looking tackle where someone’s legs get caught and they get bent back over the defender that’s sat down on those legs.

“Maybe the way for the NRL to go if they want to eliminate these tackles from our sport, the MRC need to start going through these games with a fine tooth comb and anytime something like this is performed, then the player needs to be notified any even charged."

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