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‘Stronger action’: Refs boss wants send-offs and sin bins to stamp out high shots

“If it’s warranted, absolutely,” Maxwell said. “I don’t want to be seeking a weaker approach in relation to foul play.”

Maxwell said match officials and the bunker needed to work together to ensure future instances of foul play were punished.

Felise Kaufusi did not receive his marching orders against the Eels.

Felise Kaufusi did not receive his marching orders against the Eels.Credit:Getty

“There’s just one or two instances last weekend where we needed to consider stronger action,” Maxwell said. “It only takes one instance for the consistency to be questioned. We need to make sure that message is clear in our approach to foul play.”

Players believe the number of high shots will decrease in coming rounds as they get fitter and better able to handle the speed of the game in 2021, which has increased due to rule changes.

“No one goes out there to purposely put someone in a high shot or in a dangerous position,” Dragons forward Tariq Sims said.

“I think definitely fatigue plays a major factor in that and that’s something that will come the more we play. The more we play, the more game fitness you get. I think you will see the penalty and those high shots definitely come creeping down because people will get used to the speed of the game.”

The NRL has just completed a review and restructure of its medical department which will result in the establishment of an expanded medical advisory panel. The restructure means the role of chief medical officer, occupied by Paul Bloomfield for the past six years, will leave the business at the end of the month.

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A medical operations manager will be appointed to liaise with clubs. The panel will be expanded to include specialist doctors in sports medicine, occupational health, neurology, and other disciplines as required. The NRL claims this will provide access to more specialist physicians than before.

“I want to thank all 16 clubs, especially the club doctors, for their support over the last six years. I believe the innovations we have implemented in all aspects of medical management, not just concussion, have significantly benefited player safety and welfare, and the game as a whole,” Dr Bloomfield said.

“We’ve taken enormous steps to implement protocols that reduce the risk of head injuries. I’m also extremely proud the NRL has linked with the University of Newcastle and Harvard University for one of the world’s largest studies into head injuries in collision sport, both for past and present players. The work done during this study will benefit generations to come.”

WITH SARAH KEOGHAN

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