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NRL set to crack down on crusher tackles, late hits

“Looking at the demerit points is certainly one of our options,” Annesley said at his weekly briefing.

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“We need to make sure there is a deterrent factor there to try and minimise the risk of any future occurrences.

“If that means increasing points or issuing policy direction that the Match Review Committee should grade these things higher, there are a few levers that we can pull.”

Before the season started, the Match Review Committee elevated the base penalties for crushers to align them with spear tackles, which have been all but eliminated from today’s game.

But there are still concerns at League Central that a player will soon be seriously injured should crushers in the same vein as Barnett’s not be stamped out.

“Of course that’s the concern. There have been things that have happened in our game over many decades where we have had to take particular policy decisions to try and ensure that our environment is as safe as possible,” Annesley said.

“High tackles are a classic example, dangerous throws is another example where penalties have had to be beefed up and we have needed to create a deterrent so we can eliminate these things from the game.

“The risk of injury is our primary concern. It’s a tough game but it doesn’t have to be any tougher.”

Members of the ARL Commission have also privately expressed their concern about crushers.

A pair of late hits – one from Adam Blair on Tyrone Roberts and another from Sauaso Sue on Cooper Cronk – have also been put on the agenda.

Tevita Pangai jnr was suspended for a late shot on Cronk earlier in the year. Cronk’s former Queensland teammate Johnathan Thurston has previously said not enough is being done to protect playmakers who regularly put their bodies on the line.

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