Storm to keep 'grapple tackle' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm to keep 'grapple tackle'

By Darren Walton 17/09/2003 08:04:40 PM Comments (0)

Defiant Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy claimed the "grapple tackle" was widespread in the NRL and gave the green light to his players to continue using the controversial stalling ploy in Sunday's semi-final against the Bulldogs.

Despite sports doctors fearing victims of the headlock-style tackling were susceptible to serious injury, Bellamy said he'd received assurances from the league that the Storm's tactics were perfectly legal.

Bellamy said he'd spoken with NRL referees' boss Robert Finch last Saturday and again on Tuesday to discuss the technique after Melbourne was penalised three times for holding down in the play-the-ball area during last Friday night's 30-18 qualifying final win over Canberra.

"We're not changing anything," Bellamy said.

"The league's got no problem with it, the referees (have) got no problem with it, we can't see a problem.

"I don't think anyone's been hurt in any games that we've played in this year because of that incident.

"We certainly don't go out to attack the head or neck of an opponent so, as far as we're concerned, it's a dead issue."

But Bellamy, becoming increasingly agitated at constant probing on the subject, inadvertently inflamed the hottest issue in league when he said Melbourne wasn't the only club using the "grapple".

"Have you had a look at any of the other teams? Have you gone through with a fine tooth comb with the other teams? Have you?" Bellamy asked reporters.

"I've seen them in other games, and I'm sure other players (from other teams) that were involved don't do it purposely either, but it happens in games.

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