Storm's Smith avoids ban over Tino tackle

·2-min read

Melbourne hooker Brandon Smith has escaped NRL suspension for a hip drop-style tackle on Gold Coast's Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, following a week of headlines concerning the illegal moves.

Playing his first game back from a three-match suspension for referee dissent, Smith was placed on report for the tackle during the win over Gold Coast on Friday night but was permitted to remain on the field.

Unlike most hip-drop tackles, Smith was the second man into the tackle not the third, and appeared to slide onto Fa'asuamaleaui's legs, rather than make a concerted effort to tackle them.

Fa'asuamaleaui left the field after the tackle but later returned to play.

On Saturday morning, the match review committee imposed a grade one dangerous contact charge, which carries a fine of $1800 if Smith takes an early plea.

Smith's tackle comes after a week of headlines concerning hip-drop tackles, which have the potential to cause serious leg injuries.

Brisbane's Patrick Carrigan was referred directly to the judiciary and banned for four weeks for a hip-drop tackle that broke Jackson Hastings' fibula in the loss to the Wests Tigers.

A hip-drop style tackle from Tevita Tatola left Cronulla's Will Kennedy with a syndesmosis injury last weekend but the South Sydney forward was not sanctioned on-field or after the game.

In the aftermath of these tackles, former Test star turned commentator Greg Alexander told SEN he believed hip-drop tackles and similar "wrestling techniques" originated at the Storm, claims which club legend Cameron Smith labelled "unfair".

"To single out one club and to say that they introduced that tackle into our sport, that's a little bit over the top," Smith said on SEN.

On Friday night, Storm coach Craig Bellamy pleaded with the match review committee not to let recent "hysteria" about similar tackles influence their grading of Smith's.

In the later game, on Friday night, Manly winger Jason Saab was placed on report for a dangerous throw on Will Penisini but he was not charged by the match review committee.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting