It comes as no surprise to me that the rugby league “send off” rule has
come under scrutiny. In my view, that scrutiny should end in the rule being
consigned to the game’s history books.
The send off rule has come under scrutiny not only because it’s
used, but because of the alarming number of dangerous head-high tackles
in recent weeks – and the number of players appearing before the
judiciary this year.
In the 272 games played since the start of 2004, just six players
been sent from the field… just one every 45 games, or one every
seven rounds of the premiership. But I don’t believe we should return
to the era when you’d see a couple of send offs in a weekend. The best
deterrent to dangerous tackles is long suspensions.
And the NRL should insist that players suspended
for a lengthy period should have a percentage of their contract payments automatically
deducted. At present this is left to the discretion of the clubs, or dependent on
individual contract conditions. The right response is to review penalties, and hit the worst offenders
where it really hurts – in the wallet.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
The full story is on the site here.