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    Peponis: There's worse things in game than shoulder charge

    Date

    Daniel Lane, Ben Stanley

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    <em>Illustration: michaelmucci.com</em>

    Illustration: michaelmucci.com

    CANTERBURY chairman George Peponis is adamant the NRL has a greater priority than outlawing the shoulder charge to safeguard its players from unnecessary punishment - the former Test skipper believes the four-man tackle is an even greater blight on the sport.

    Peponis, a medical practitioner in the inner west who also captained the 1980 premiership-winning Bulldogs, admitted he held mixed views about the league's stance on shoulder charges. However, he was relentless in his condemnation of the gang tackle.

    ''I think there were other aspects of the game that should've taken a precedence over the shoulder charge,'' he said. ''My pet hate is the third and fourth player coming in to a tackle late while two other defenders are holding the ball carrier up and they hit him in the back.

    ''That to me is a blight on the game. It's something that never used to happen - you have two players holding the player up and he gets hit in the back. It is dangerous, and it is something that should be outlawed before the shoulder charge or anything else for that matter.''

    The NRL's decision to ban the shoulder charge angered players, and supporters, alike with social media going into meltdown when the ruling was announced early in the week. While NRL officials have agreed to meet the Rugby League Professionals Association to discuss the change, it appears unlikely it will reverse the call.

    The players also want the league to quickly clarify what would constitute a shoulder charge in the new era, saying they need to know if a front-on tackle in which the shoulder connects with the ball carrier first, was deemed dangerous.

    Peponis said he could see both sides of the shoulder charge issue and said safety over the spectacular was a fine line for the code's administrators. ''There is a lot of debate about it and I can see the pros and cons on both sides,'' he said. ''If I put my medical hat on, I'd say it was a good idea but as an ex-footballer there is nothing more exciting than seeing a good, old-fashioned shoulder charge - as long as it doesn't go wrong. It's something that has very little room for error, it can be dangerous … a shoulder charge to the face or head, it can do terrible damage … and I can appreciate the NRL's view. But when I take off my medical cap and speak as an ex-footballer, and a keen fan, it is something exciting to watch.''

    The ban on shoulder charges will have big ramifications for Roosters recruit Sonny Bill Williams, who made a name for himself as an expert of the brutal art during his stint with the Bulldogs which ended abruptly in 2008.

    Williams was sin-binned during last year's Rugby World Cup semi-final against the Wallabies for a shoulder charge on Australian opponent Quade Cooper.

    Another player who will be put out by the rule change is Warriors forward Ben Matulino.

    His shoulder charges had the ability to create to swing a game's ebb and flow.

    In 2012, only 71 (less than two per NRL round) of the 142,355 tackles made during the season were deemed ''shoulder charges'' while only 17 per cent of those resulted in contact with the head of the player with the ball.

    Many in the game, including Warriors team doctor Dr John Mayhew, have applauded the move. It has been banned domestically in New Zealand for years. There has, however, been widespread dismay - even anger - from the NRL's player ranks.

    What does Matulino make of it all? Like a prize gunslinger without his trusty pistols, the biggest, most eye-catching, weapon in the Kiwi prop's arsenal has now been removed. The humble 23-year-old isn't one to get all bitter and twisted, but he's certainly ''angry'', make no mistake.

    ''It was a big part of my game, and pretty much the only thing I could bring to the team,'' he said.

    ''It's my one trick gone. I don't chuck the cut-out balls, or do the big steps. But I've just got to adapt to the game, and do what Matty [coach Matthew Elliott] tells me to do.''

    Teammate Manu Vatuvei is more vocal. The giant winger reckons the NRL should come down harder on those few bad eggs who make the worst tackles; that heavy suspensions for the worst tackles should be in place instead of removing what the shoulder charge brings to league.

    ''Ben Matulino - he's the type of person that can control that. He's got an awesome technique,'' he said.

    After reviewing footage of Matulino's tackling style, Elliott believes his star prop could be fine. ''Someone asked me about Ben the other day, so I went and looked at some of his tackles [on video],'' the former Raiders and Panthers boss said. ''He's not actually shoulder charging - he's tackling where he hits with his shoulder.''

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    NRL Season 2015

    Round 1
    Thu, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
    BRI 6vs SOU 36 Report Stats
    Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
    PAR 42vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
    Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
    NEW 24vs NZW 14 Report Stats
    GCT 18vs WST 19 Report Stats
    NQL 4vs SYD 28 Report Stats
    Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
    PEN 24vs CBY 18 Report Stats
    CRO 20vs CBR 24 Report Stats
    Mon, 09 MarTimes shown AEDT
    STG 4vs MEL 12 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 2
    Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
    CBY 32vs PAR 12 Report Stats
    CRO 2vs BRI 10 Report Stats
    Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
    PEN 40vs GCT 0 Report Stats
    MAN 24vs MEL 22 Stats
    NQL 14vs NEW 16 Report Stats
    Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
    SOU 34vs SYD 26 Stats
    CBR 6vs NZW 18 Report Stats
    Mon, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
    WST 22vs STG 4 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 3
    Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
    MAN 12vs CBY 16 Report Stats
    BRI 44vs NQL 22 Report Stats
    Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
    NZW 29vs PAR 16 Report Stats
    CBR 20vs STG 22 Report Stats
    MEL 36vs CRO 18 Report Stats
    Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
    SOU 20vs WST 6 Report Stats
    GCT 18vs NEW 20 Report Stats
    Mon, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
    SYD 20vs PEN 12 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 4
    Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
    PAR 29vs SOU 16 Report Stats
    WST 24vs CBY 25 Report Stats
    Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
    NEW 26vs PEN 14 Report Stats
    CRO 22vs GCT 24 Report Stats
    STG 12vs MAN 4 Report Stats
    Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
    NZW 16vs BRI 24 Report Stats
    SYD 34vs CBR 6 Report Stats
    Mon, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
    NQL 18vs MEL 17 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 5
    Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
    CBY 17vs SOU 18 Report Stats
    GCT 16vs BRI 26 Report Stats
    Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
    MAN 16vs CBR 29 Report Stats
    NEW 0vs STG 13 Report Stats
    Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
    SYD 12vs CRO 20 Report Stats
    Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
    PAR 6vs WST 22 Report Stats
    MEL 30vs NZW 14 Report Stats
    PEN 10vs NQL 30 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 6
    Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
    BRI 22vs SYD 18 Report Stats
    CRO 22vs NEW 6 Report Stats
    Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
    PAR 16vs GCT 38 Report Stats
    NZW 32vs WST 22 Report Stats
    PEN 22vs MAN 12 Report Stats
    Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
    CBR 10vs MEL 14 Report Stats
    STG 31vs CBY 6 Report Stats
    Mon, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
    SOU 12vs NQL 30 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 7
    Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
    CBY 28vs MAN 16 Report Stats
    STG 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
    Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
    GCT 32vs PEN 6 Report Stats
    NQL 28vs NZW 24 Report Stats
    MEL 17vs SYD 16 Report Stats
    Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
    WST 22vs CBR 30 Report Stats
    NEW 22vs PAR 28 Report Stats
    Mon, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
    CRO 18vs SOU 10 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 8
    Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
    CBY 14vs WST 38 Stats
    Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
    NZW 28vs GCT 32 Report Stats
    NEW 24vs NQL 26 Report Stats
    SYD 12vs STG 14 Report Stats
    MEL 10vs MAN 12 Stats
    BRI 28vs PAR 16 Stats
    Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
    PEN 26vs CRO 18 Stats
    SOU 22vs CBR 30 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 9
    Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
    BRI 8vs PEN 5 Report Stats
    SYD 36vs WST 4 Stats
    Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
    CBR 56vs GCT 16 Stats
    CRO 16vs NZW 20 Stats
    NQL 23vs CBY 16 Stats
    Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
    MAN 30vs NEW 10 Stats
    PAR 10vs MEL 28 Stats
    Mon, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
    SOU 16vs STG 10 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 10
    Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
    CBY 10vs SYD 24 Stats
    NQL 31vs BRI 20 Stats
    Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
    PAR 13vs NZW 17 Report Stats
    GCT 22vs CRO 23 Report Stats
    MEL 16vs SOU 12 Stats
    Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
    STG 32vs CBR 18 Report Stats
    NEW 22vs WST 12 Stats
    Mon, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
    MAN 10vs PEN 11 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 11
    Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
    SOU 14vs PAR 12 Report Stats
    Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
    WST 0vs NQL 8 Stats
    Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
    CBR 34vs CBY 41 Stats
    Mon, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
    NEW 18vs BRI 31 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 12
    Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
    PEN vs PAR 19:45Pepper Stadium
    Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
    GCT vs SOU 15:00Cbus Super Stadium
    CBR vs BRI 17:30GIO Stadium
    NQL vs MAN 19:301300 Smiles Stadium
    Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
    NZW vs NEW 14:00MSS
    STG vs CRO 16:00Jubilee Oval
    Mon, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs MEL 19:00AS
    View All Fixtures
    Round 13
    Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
    BRI vs MAN 19:35SUN
    WST vs GCT 19:35VAS
    Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
    NEW vs CBR 15:00HS
    SOU vs NZW 17:30nib Stadium
    PEN vs MEL 19:30Pepper Stadium
    Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
    CRO vs SYD 16:00Remondis Stadium
    Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
    CBY vs STG 16:00ANZ
    PAR vs NQL 19:00Pirtek Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 14
    Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
    WST vs SOU 19:45ANZ
    Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
    NZW vs SYD 18:00MSS
    Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
    GCT vs CBY 16:00Cbus Super Stadium
    Mon, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs PAR 19:00AAMI
    View All Fixtures
    Round 15
    Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
    MAN vs WST 19:45BO
    Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
    CBR vs NQL 15:00GIO Stadium
    GCT vs NZW 17:30Cbus Super Stadium
    CBY vs PEN 19:30ANZ
    Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
    NEW vs CRO 14:00HS
    MEL vs BRI 16:00AAMI
    Mon, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
    STG vs SYD 19:00AS
    View All Fixtures
    Round 16
    Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
    BRI vs NEW 19:35SUN
    SOU vs MAN 19:35ANZ
    Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
    NZW vs CBR 15:00MSS
    NQL vs CRO 17:301300 Smiles Stadium
    PAR vs STG 19:30Pirtek Stadium
    Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs GCT 14:00AS
    WST vs PEN 16:00VAS
    Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
    CBY vs MEL 19:00Belmore Sports Ground
    View All Fixtures
    Round 17
    Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
    PEN vs SOU 19:45Pepper Stadium
    Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
    STG vs NQL 19:30WIN
    Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
    MAN vs CRO 16:00BO
    Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
    WST vs PAR 19:00ANZ
    View All Fixtures
    Round 18
    Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
    CBR vs NEW 19:45GIO Stadium
    Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
    PEN vs SYD 17:30Pepper Stadium
    CBY vs BRI 19:30ANZ
    Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
    NZW vs MEL 14:00MSS
    CRO vs STG 16:00Remondis Stadium
    Mon, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
    GCT vs MAN 19:00Cbus Super Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 19
    Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
    PAR vs CBY 19:35ANZ
    MEL vs PEN 19:35AAMI
    Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
    CBR vs CRO 15:00GIO Stadium
    NEW vs GCT 17:30HS
    STG vs SOU 19:30SCG
    Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs NZW 14:00AS
    BRI vs WST 16:00SUN
    Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
    MAN vs NQL 19:00BO
    View All Fixtures
    Round 20
    Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
    BRI vs GCT 19:35SUN
    WST vs SYD 19:35ANZ
    Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
    NZW vs MAN 15:00MSS
    SOU vs NEW 17:30ANZ
    MEL vs STG 19:30AAMI
    Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
    PEN vs CBR 14:00Pepper Stadium
    CBY vs CRO 16:00Belmore Sports Ground
    Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
    NQL vs PAR 19:001300 Smiles Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 21
    Thu, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
    NZW vs CRO 22:00MSS
    Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
    NQL vs CBR 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
    STG vs NEW 00:00Jubilee Oval
    SOU vs PEN 00:00ANZ
    SYD vs CBY 00:00AS
    MAN vs BRI 00:00TBA
    WST vs MEL 00:00VAS
    GCT vs PAR 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 22
    Thu, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
    NZW vs STG 22:00MSS
    Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
    BRI vs CBY 00:00SUN
    NEW vs SYD 00:00HS
    CBR vs WST 00:00GIO Stadium
    MAN vs SOU 00:00BO
    CRO vs NQL 00:00Remondis Stadium
    MEL vs GCT 00:00AAMI
    PAR vs PEN 00:30TIO
    View All Fixtures
    Round 23
    Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
    BRI vs STG 00:00SUN
    CBY vs GCT 00:00TBA
    NQL vs SOU 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
    PEN vs NZW 00:00Pepper Stadium
    CBR vs MAN 00:00GIO Stadium
    SYD vs PAR 00:00AS
    CRO vs MEL 00:00Remondis Stadium
    WST vs NEW 00:00CSS
    View All Fixtures
    Round 24
    Wed, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
    NZW vs NQL 22:00MSS
    Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
    STG vs PEN 00:00WIN
    SOU vs CBY 00:00ANZ
    SYD vs BRI 00:00AS
    MAN vs PAR 00:00BO
    CRO vs WST 00:00Remondis Stadium
    MEL vs NEW 00:00AAMI
    GCT vs CBR 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 25
    Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
    PAR vs CRO 00:00Pirtek Stadium
    NEW vs CBY 00:00HS
    SOU vs BRI 00:00AS
    CBR vs PEN 00:00GIO Stadium
    MAN vs SYD 00:00BO
    MEL vs NQL 00:00AAMI
    WST vs NZW 00:00CSS
    GCT vs STG 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 26
    Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
    BRI vs MEL 00:00SUN
    CBY vs NZW 00:00ANZ
    NQL vs GCT 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
    STG vs WST 00:00ANZ
    PAR vs CBR 00:00Pirtek Stadium
    PEN vs NEW 00:00Pepper Stadium
    SYD vs SOU 00:00AS
    CRO vs MAN 00:00Remondis Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    NRL Ladder 2015
    Overall standings
    Team P W L D Pts
    Melbourne Storm 10 7 3 0 16
    Brisbane Broncos 11 8 3 0 16
    St George-Illawarra Dragons 10 7 3 0 16
    North Queensland Cowboys 11 8 3 0 16
    Sydney Roosters 10 5 5 0 12
    South Sydney Rabbitohs 11 6 5 0 12
    Warriors 10 5 5 0 12
    Penrith Panthers 10 5 5 0 12
    View all
     
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