Canberra Raiders forward John Bateman has joined a chorus urging the NRL to clamp down on the controversial crusher tackle before someone is seriously injured.
Cronulla Sharks front-rower Andrew Fifita will miss out on the chance to play for Tonga after being slapped with a three-game ban for his crusher tackle on Raiders forward Ryan Sutton last week.
Fifita is in camp with the Tongan side and fronted the judiciary via video link in his unsuccessful bid to have his grade two dangerous contact charge lightened, which ultimately ruled him out of this week's Test against New Zealand.
He will also miss Cronulla's next two games against the Canterbury Bulldogs and Brisbane Broncos.
Plenty of people in rugby league circles have been calling for harsher penalties on crusher tackles amidst fears it will eventually result in an injury as serious as a broken neck.
Crusher tackles often look horrendous - especially in slow motion - but Bateman moved to shut down talk of crusher tackles being a malicious act having escaped suspension for one of his own.
But Canberra's English enforcer has joined those backing an NRL crackdown on the tackle in fear of a player being left with a serious injury.
"You see people coming out and saying it's intentional, I will personally say myself, I don't go into a tackle thinking 'I'm going to hurt this player', but then again you can't have that [tackle] in the game," Bateman said.
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"You can't be having people coming out of a tackle injured, especially to do with your neck.
"You've got to live your everyday life, you can't be injuring players and giving them fatal injuries in a way, which obviously it could be.
"It probably needs to be cut out of the game, definitely, it needs to be stamped down on."
Rugby league great Greg Alexander has led calls for the crusher tackle to be met with suspensions as hefty as 10 games apiece before someone is left with a broken neck.
Fifita was one of two players to cop a heavy suspension for a crusher tackle this week after Newcastle Knights forward Mitch Barnett was rubbed out for three games.
Newcastle coach Nathan Brown says Barnett's tackle on Melbourne fullback Jahrome Hughes was accidental.
Brown admits the tackle did not look good but he remains adamant 25-year-old Barnett had made a split-second miscalculation, and the manner of the tackle was not intentional.
Barnett sought out Hughes as the players made their way off the park for the half-time break to apologise for the tackle.
Fifita's suspension means he has been ruled out of Tonga's side to meet New Zealand at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday.
It robs him of the chance to play alongside a Raider in hooker Siliva Havili, who will suit up for Tonga as a host of his Raiders teammates take a week off to nurse a few bumps and bruises.
Jordan Rapana, Joe Tapine, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Dunamis Lui have all been forced to withdraw from representative sides this week as the Raiders look to overcome their injury toll.
Bateman is three games back from a three-week stint on the sidelines with a fractured eye socket, and his return has coincided with the Green Machine's three-match winning streak.
But even the English enforcer is relishing the chance to steer clear of big contact and get some miles in the legs on the training track.
"I've been looking forward to this week, and then after the Parramatta game we've got two weeks," Bateman said.
"It will give us a bit of time off, it will give me a bit of time to get back on the field a little bit and get more fitness in the legs.
"It has been a tough season so far, so it gives all the boys a rest."
It probably needs to be cut out of the game, definitely, it needs to be stamped down on.John Bateman