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Furner fumes over Storm's new head attack tactics


Chris Wilson

Josh Dugan of the Canberra Raiders is tackled during the round one NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Melbourne Storm at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.

Josh Dugan of the Canberra Raiders is tackled during the round one NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Melbourne Storm at Canberra Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Stefan Postles

The Canberra Raiders have sent video footage to NRL referees boss Bill Harrigan, claiming the Melbourne Storm are using a new controversial tackling technique focused on grappling the head and neck of players.

Reacting to complaints from his players about alleged attacks on their necks during Saturday's match against the Storm, Canberra coach David Furner has identified six incidents which he has sent on to the NRL for advice.

Raiders captain Terry Campese made on-field complaints to the referees about the alleged holds during the 24-19 loss to the Storm.

''My concern is the players and its got to do with the head and the chin,'' Furner said.

''They're pulling the chin across with their hands. I could see they were slowing us down by using this technique.''

The Canberra Times has since learned that there is a similar grappling hold known as the chinstrap, which is intended to immobilise victims by forcing their head to one side.

The accusation is sure to inflame Canberra's relationship with Storm, who have been at the centre of previous accusations over controversial tackling techniques.

It was then-Raiders coach Matt Elliott who first highlighted the Storm's alleged use of the grapple tackle, which caused a bitter feud before their 2003 finals clash. Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy is a foundation Raiders player from the club's 1982 team.

Various accusations have also been made since about the Storm and tackles such as the chicken wing (an arm lock), crusher (pinning a player's head against the tackler's chest) and rolling pin (kneeling on opponent's calves).

Furner admitted that wrestling had become a regular part of NRL tackling technique, but he said player welfare needed to be maintained.

''You're trying to find a split second on the ground where you can get your defensive line,'' Furner said. ''You're wrestling all the time, whether you've got the ball in your hands or you haven't.

''It's a tactic they [Melbourne] use. It stops your movement. You try and fight to get a quick play the ball, but it stops you moving.''

The NRL match review committee yesterday cleared Storm fullback Billy Slater of any charges for a high tackle on raiders fullback Josh Dugan. Slater had been placed on report, but Dugan had already spoken out in support of Slater.

9 comments so far

  • They were also using a hold where they pin the tackled player's non-ball carrying forearm against his bicep as he tries to get up. This means he can't use that arm to push off the ground to get to his feet. Woukldn't it be great iof the refs treated the Storm the same as every other team? They'd be the most penalised in the NRL.

    Mario Milano
    Date and time
    March 06, 2012, 10:52AM
    • expansion has been a great thing for the game....but can melbourne ever do anything right......from salary cap issues to grapple tackling and now this???? it hard to hold slater,cooper and cronk in any high regard when they are involved in a club that continues to push the boundaries in regards to rules....david furner is an old fashioned footy brain...he wouldnt be complaining if he didnt feel he had just cause.....its time melbourne changed with the times and played football...if i wanted to watch wrestling id subscribe to wwe

      Date and time
      March 06, 2012, 11:30AM
      • Must be Storm bashing season again. Broncos use the same tackling style, as do Manly, Tigers, Titans and Knights and Dragons. David Furner should think back to his playing days. He was hardly a clean skin on the field. He used every tactic he could to prevent the tackled player from getting up and playing the ball quick. He's the last person that should be complaining. If he feels threatened by the Storm again this season then I suggest he clean up his club and his act, get with the modern game or get out.

        Date and time
        March 06, 2012, 12:28PM
        • Furner was simply responding to the players concerns. I think they are in a better position than any of us to know which teams are using illegal or questionable tactics.

          Date and time
          March 06, 2012, 3:06PM
        • David Furner was not a dirty player.

          Date and time
          March 06, 2012, 3:12PM
        • This is Rugby League not wrestling. If you are messing with peoples head and neck region you need to be penalised. David Furner has always been a good tough and FAIR player. He has every right to complain. If you saw the second tackle of the second half on Josh Dugan you would know exactly what David is talking about. Dugan had a tackler forcibly push down on his head and neck region, which is very dangerous and unsportsmanlike. If you can't tackle fair and square within the rules you shouldn't be playing.

          Raiders Dynasty
          Date and time
          March 06, 2012, 9:35PM
      • A tackler cannot make contact with the head or neck of an opposing player at any time during the tackle.
        In the photograph, all 3 Melbourne Storm defenders are doing just that. It's a penalty, period.
        The referees have quite deliberately not enforced the rules. The Storm have got away with illegal, dangerous play for many seasons. Bellamy continues to coach them in this way, I don't know what's not to get.

        Date and time
        March 06, 2012, 1:45PM
        • Reece Robinson is out for 6 weeks with a depressed fracture of the cheekbone.

          Date and time
          March 06, 2012, 3:15PM
      • David Furner might want to take a look at his own players tackling technique. I have to agree with the comment made by Broncos1348. Almost every club and its players are using a wrestling style technique to slow down the play the ball. Anyone who does not wish to acknowledge this is in denial. Parramatta were the first club to ever introduce a wrestling coach to help with tackling techniques but most supporters of the game have forgotten about that and are on a witch hunt to get the Melbourne Storm. My own club Manly does it and I won't deny it. I remember when David Furner gave tackled players facials, in particular around the eye area. Did we ever hear about that? NO! As far as the Raiders were concerned, it was okay to do it provided he didn't rip an eyeball out in the process. If it was okay then, why isn't it okay now for a player from another team to do it to one of his players? The game will never go forward until everyone wakes up to the fact that every clubs using wrestling techniques in tackles just as almost every club is rorting the salary cap. Either cop it sweet or go and follow another sport, perhaps Netball or Soccer?

        Northern Eagle
        Gold Coast
        Date and time
        March 06, 2012, 3:12PM

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