Melbourne have urged the NRL to clarify the ruling on lifting tackles after opting not to appeal Jordan McLean’s seven-match ban following the career-ending injury to Newcastle back-rower Alex McKinnon.
NRL chief Dave Smith reiterated head of football Todd Greenberg’s line that the code would not make any knee-jerk reactions in regards to outlawing lifting tackles mid-season.
“We’re looking very carefully at the specific incident which was a tragic incident,” Smith told AAP on Wednesday.
“In the background of course we’re looking at all the data around these types of tackles but you won’t see an over reaction from us.
“What you will see is us carefully consider what’s taken place, carefully analyse the data, not just from that specific incident but more broadly as well and make a fact-based decision.
“Once we’ve got all that information if there’s a requirement to change the rules we will.”
Storm officials were bemused by the decision of the match review committee to not sanction Gold Coast hooker Beau Falloon for lifting Will Chambers above the horizontal in last Sunday’s clash at AAMI Park.
Match review committee chief Michael Buettner acknowledged Chambers had been lifted, but said he wasn’t put in a dangerous position by Falloon, who didn’t have his hands between his legs, and the centre was able to get his hand on the ground to break his fall.
Melbourne CEO Mark Evans said the Storm supported the current debate surrounding lifting tackles, which he said was necessary “given the ambiguity” in the NRL rules.
But, he added, any debate should be conducted with “respect and perspective” due to the serious nature of McKinnon’s injury.
“The current code conflates lifting tackles with dangerous throws, which is confusing players, coaches, commentators and fans alike,” Evans said.
“When it comes to the grading of offences, taking injury into account is fine, as long as it is the result of an unambiguous and direct causal relationship between the offence and injury sustained – currently that is not how the code is worded.”
Melbourne’s representative back-rower Ryan Hoffman said players were in favour of making the game safe, but doesn’t want lifting taken out of the game.
“I don’t think they should be banned, we just need more consistency and clarification on what is the legal part of a lifting tackle,” Hoffman said.
“We know as players we can’t lift a player and put him in a dangerous position but we can lift a player and put him on the ground as long as it’s not in a dangerous position.
“You have to be able to get a player off balance, a lot of the time we are not trying to lift a player up, we are just lifting up one leg to put them on the ground.
“The NRL has stated that it’s our responsibility to not put players into a dangerous position, that’s our role and we have to ensure we are doing that.”
South Sydney superstar Greg Inglis, who was dumped on his head by a spear tackle from Canterbury’s Krisnan Inu said he was comfortable with the current guidelines.
“You can police it as much as you want but, at the end of the day, they (the NRL) are not out there within that split second in the tackle,” Inglis told AAP.
“So in the end, rules are in place and it gets dealt with – and it gets dealt with accordingly.”