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Players up in arms as ARLC outlaws the shoulder charge

Hits don't miss ... Simon Dwyer on Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

Hits don't miss ... Simon Dwyer on Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

ANGRY NRL stars have hit out at a proposed worldwide ban on shoulder charges, with Wests Tigers captain Robbie Farah calling for a review of the decision.

After outlawing the controversial tackling technique at an ARLC meeting on Tuesday, officials revealed they had already been in contact with their counterparts in England and other countries in an attempt to have the shoulder charge banned from all levels of the game next year.

But players and fans launched an immediate campaign against the ruling, with NRL stars taking to Twitter to condemn the decision.

Impact ... Knights Kyle O'Donell gets knocked out by a shoulder charge from Souths Sam Burgess.

Impact ... Knights Kyle O'Donell gets knocked out by a shoulder charge from Souths Sam Burgess. Photo: Steve Christo

''They will ban tackling next,'' Parramatta's Jarryd Hayne tweeted.

Many players complained that an element of the game that made league unique would now be lost.

''There's nothing better than seeing someone get smashed by a shoulder charge. What a joke,'' Tigers prop Aaron Woods tweeted.

Banned ... shoulder charges like Greg Inglis's hit on Dean Young.

Banned ... shoulder charges like Greg Inglis's hit on Dean Young. Photo: Fox Sports

New Roosters five-eighth James Maloney described the ban as the ''worst decision ever made'', while teammate Frank-Paul Nuuausala tweeted: ''Might as well play uppercut yourself. Gonna play soccer now.''

NSW and Cronulla captain Paul Gallen said he was in ''shock'' and noted that most of the highlights reel shown at this year's grand final breakfast featured shoulder charges.

''We don't want players getting hurt, but it's taking some of the toughness out of the game,'' Gallen told Triple M. ''When you have a look at the highlight reels they're all big hits, the fans love shoulder charges.''

Farah told the radio station he wanted the decision overturned. ''It's a bit surprising. I think it should still be a part of our game,'' he said. ''When executed correctly, they're a crowd pleaser; they love it. Your own teammates get a lift.

''I'd like to see it reviewed somewhere down the track and maybe bring it back in some time.''

However, Sydney Roosters doctor John Orchard applauded the ARLC for the ruling.

''Given the concussions this year, it was good management to act to make game safer,'' he said on Twitter. ''If the NRL players wanted to keep the shoulder charge, they needed to ALL stop hitting others in the head. 2012 - too many of them went high.''

A review overseen by Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan found there had been 71 shoulder charges last season - of which 12 had resulted in the player making contact with the ball carrier's head.

Coincidentally, the Roosters have signed Sonny Bill Williams, considered the best exponent of the tactic before his departure to rugby union in 2008, and he recently told Fairfax Media the shoulder charge wasn't a problem if executed correctly.

Warriors fullback Omar Slaimankhel tweeted: ''The hitman @SonnyBWilliams is back in the NRL and they have already banned the shoulder charge. Not cool.''

Canavan's report said shoulder charges made up 0.05 per cent of the 142,355 tackles this year and less than 4 per cent of those resulted in injury to the attacking player, but with the average player now four kilograms heavier and 12 millimetres taller than a decade ago the injury risk was high.

The report also found the average G-force of the shoulder charge (measured from accelerometer data taken from GPS tracking) was 76 per cent greater than a conventional head-on tackle (10.682 compared with 6.056).

''We believe this is the time to eliminate a potential risk,'' NRL interim chief Shane Mattiske said.


‘‘Worst decision ever made ... BANNING THE SHOULDER CHARGE ... if u don’t like the contact sport we play ... maybe MARBLES would be more up Ur alley.’’ James Maloney (Roosters)

 ‘‘If the shoulder charge is taken out of the game. We should just play soccer this is a joke. Don’t like it don’t play the sport.’’ Josh McGuire (Broncos)

 ‘‘Almost 100% sure that 100% of the players were happy with how the rules were! #whatsdoing???’’ Wade Graham (Sharks)

  ‘‘What d hell,just heard d news about the shoulder charge band.R u serious?Thats wat makes out game more entertaining.’’ #SAVETHESHOULDERCHARGE Krisnan Inu (Bulldogs)

 ‘‘No tackling will be next.’’ Jarryd Hayne (Eels)

 ‘‘There was no better feeling getting shoulder charged first run of the game! Sad day for rugby league!’’ Bryce Gibbs (Sharks)

 ‘‘Is it just me or does it seem like we are doing everything we can to wreck the #greatestgameofall.’’ Luke Patten (retired)

 ‘‘Can we also play with a spherical ball?’’ Sam Burgess (Rabbitohs)

 ‘‘They should ban the ball from rugby league! And play with a fluffy Teddy bear! #whatsdoing.’’ Josh Cordoba (Broncos)

  ‘‘In the famous words of  Tana Umaga, this is Rugby (League) not tiddily winks.’’ Adam Henry (Roosters)

  ‘‘Not fussed by its extinction but an SBW game now might be like going to a PSY concert with no Gangnum!’’ Joel Caine (retired)


  • I wonder how all these players who tweeted their opposition would have the same opinion if they were on the recieving end of a shoulder charge gone wrong? Unfortunately these responses typify the mentality of the modern day NRL player

    Date and time
    November 21, 2012, 2:03AM
    • Boohoo. Now league players will have to learn how to tackle properly if they want to put in a big hit, instead of 4-on-1 gang tackles or shoulder charges. Do a video search for Motu Matu'u if you want to see how to tackle legitimately -and- with power. Shoulder charging is a cheap shot move for thugs.

      Date and time
      November 21, 2012, 8:23AM
    • Yes they would have the same opinion, you want proof? Wade Graham made a tweet above, he got KO'd by a Frank Pritchard shoulder to the head

      Date and time
      November 21, 2012, 8:37AM
    • Most of the mungo's coming out of the woodwork just don't the underlying reasoning for the ban, its nothing about going soft or ruining the spectacle.

      Look up Dave Duerson, Junior Seau etc, and the 30 million tipped into brain injury research in the US. This is about future liability

      Date and time
      November 21, 2012, 8:38AM
    • It doesn't matter if you get hit in the head by a shoulder, an arm, someone else's head or knee or whatever - it's going to hurt. This is a contact sport, the players know what they're getting into.
      Unless you remove all forms of contact from rugby league, players are going to get head injuries. And they already did that anyway - it's called touch footy, a great sport in itself.
      The NRL seems determined to get further and further away from the game that I loved as a kid, and it makes me sad.

      Date and time
      November 21, 2012, 8:42AM
    • NRL is becoming more like professional wrestling every season. The ball is only used to tag the player who is to be wrestled to the ground by a tag team from the opposition. They ruined the scrums (there is no scrum base plays anymore) so I guess wrecking the charges was next on the list.

      John Bull
      Date and time
      November 21, 2012, 8:45AM
    • Are you serious Robbo? Are you saying that these people that have made it to the NRL have never once copped a shoulder that was misplaced in their entire playing careers from junior to professional level? Including some of the forwards named in that list you have got to be kidding.

      This is a massive loss for rugby league, this would be like AFL banning a mark that is taken from leaping off a player. The shoulder charge is basically our highlight reel for gods sake, it's symbolic of the big occasion and a players commitment to put their body on the line.

      I blame this on Dean Young for starting this with his massive whinge last year over the shoulder charge this all coming from a guy who was retiring anyway. What a disgrace this is, you can bet they wouldn't have got that billion dollars if they were going to start changing the game and eliminating the things that people love most. If I was Fox or 9 i'd be knocking on the NRL's door

      El Seano
      Date and time
      November 21, 2012, 9:12AM
    • It's not just the odd shoulder charge gone wrong that's the issue. Research into the long term effects of multiple traumas to the head in professional contact sports (including the injuries that occur when a player is "rattled" but not actually knocked out) is giving very dark and disturbing findings.

      Memory loss, behaviour change, mental illness, suicide ... these are the almost inevitable result of the kind of damage shoulder charges cause. And it's not 50 years later that they manifest, but 10-20 years later.

      Is the "spectacle" of a shoulder charge really worth the pain, relationship breakdown and sometimes even loss of life that will inevitably follow just a few years down the track?

      Life is bigger than football.

      Date and time
      November 21, 2012, 9:18AM
  • Sad day for League. High shots will still happen, this will not change anything in that regard. Instead of wasting time and softening the game, maybe they should just put in heavier bans and fines for dangerous high shots.

    Truly very sad and angry about this, its pathetic.

    Date and time
    November 21, 2012, 2:08AM
    • Rugby Union has had the shoulder charge ban for years. Would you call them soft? I wouldn't :)

      Date and time
      November 21, 2012, 8:22AM

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