The NRL’s tactical football analyst Scott Barker has been monitoring patterns in the game and advising the governing body. The role was created this season in a bid to clean up the ruck.
Yet the method of defenders swivelling and dropping their hip into the lower leg of unsuspecting ball carriers has emerged as the latest way to slow down the speed of the play-the-ball.
“I’m not suggesting these are deliberate acts, but they’re a cause for concern,” Annesley said.
I’m not suggesting these are deliberate acts, but they’re a cause for concern.
“The only reason I’m raising it is we have been seeing more of this type of tackle and I would like to think that they are accidents more than the type of manoeuvre that is being coached, but we have to take action to protect the safety of players – particularly when they’re exposed in those sorts of situations.
“We are starting to see a few of these incidents creep into the game. If charges are warranted, they won’t hesitate to charge.”
Brisbane forward Joe Ofahengaue was one of two players charged over a similar tackle last year. He was free to make his State of Origin debut for Queensland after accepting an early guilty plea for the incident involving Warriors forward Jazz Tevaga.
Canterbury’s Sauaso Sue was also charged for collapsing on the legs of the Dragons’ Paul Vaughan.
The NRL will write to all clubs this week to provide an official warning over the move.
“That’s the type of tackle that can injure a player they need to be aware of,” Annesley said. “We don’t want to see players charged and we certainly don’t want to see players injured. If we can achieve both of those outcomes by raising it, that’s a better situation than waiting for someone to be charged.
“It’s something every player should take note of and every coach should take note of.
“The match review committee are seeing more and more of these types of tackles, not necessarily serious enough to warrant a charge but it’s best to try to nip these things in the bud if you can.”
St George Illawarra’s Tariq Sims will be banned for one match after collecting Kieran Foran high in the Dragons’ comeback win over the Bulldogs. He accepted an early guilty plea.
Brisbane’s Issac Luke will also be banned for one game for a dangerous throw on Chris Lawrence after also opting not to head to the judiciary.
Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.