Payten wary of any concussion rules to change tackling
Todd Payten has warned against the NRL forcing changes to tackle techniques to reduce concussion incidents, with the North Queensland coach adamant the game must stay true to rugby league.
Payten has joined a throng of coaches in backing the league's new concussion protocols which dictate an 11-day mandatory stand down for players after diagnosis.
Parramatta second-rower Jack Murchie has become the first player sidelined by the rules, set to be ruled out of the Eels' clash with Penrith next week after a concussion against Manly.
Under rules announced by the NRL this week, players will only be eligible to return early if their concussion was not a category one, they were asymptomatic the next day and have returned to normal cognitive levels.
Players must also be cleared by an NRL-appointed neurologist and have had no more than five concussions previously, none in the past three months and never had a prolonged recovery.
The NRL confirmed to AAP on Friday historical concussions would date back to any on record and would not be isolated in first grade, meaning those suffered in schoolboys and junior football would count if recorded.
The league are also adamant exemptions for an early return to training or play would be rare.
Payten supports that but has qualms with enforced changes to tackling techniques.
The NRL are continuing to implement programs surrounding tackle technique education and tools to further prevent injuries.
It comes after the Rugby Football Union in England unanimously voted to ban tackles above the waist for union matches below the elite level from July 1.
"What I'm concerned or wary of is in time if we change and manipulate the rules or laws around tackling," Payten said on Friday.
"I don't want to see that happen. I want us to stay as rugby league and we can try and protect the players as much as we can once the concussion has occurred.
"With all the evidence that's come to light over the recent years I think it's a smart move."
Payten was open to was freeing up an extra bench spot in NRL matches in light of re-worked concussion protocols.
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart, who was critical of the use of the independent doctor in round one, backed the move.
"Player welfare is paramount," Stuart said.
"We've got to be doing everything we can to take care of them and I think the NRL have shown great initiative having the 11-day stand-down period."