Storm practised grapple hold: ex-player - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm practised grapple hold: ex-player

05/04/2008 11:10:42 PM Comments (0)

Former Melbourne forward Brett O'Farrell has claimed Storm players were trained how to use the now outlawed grapple tackle in his time at the NRL club.

O'Farrell told News Ltd papers the Storm were drilled "over and over" on the controversial wrestling technique during the 2004 pre-season.

The reigning premiers have been accused of practising the grapple tackle but coach Craig Bellamy has repeatedly denied deliberately employing the dangerous technique.

But O'Farrell claims the players were encouraged to use grapple tackles by coaching staff during video sessions.

"I know that Craig Bellamy has denied that they train to do it and all that sort of stuff," O'Farrell, who played 20 games for the Storm between 1999 and 2001, told News Ltd.

"At the end of the day we were drilled over and over and over by (Storm wrestling coach) John Donehue to do it and to hide it and to conceal it.

"In the video sessions the coaches would pull us up and say, `why didn't you put a grapple hold there, on that bloke there ... you could have put a grapple on him or slowed the play-the-ball down in certain ways."

O'Farrell also claimed he was the victim of a sleeper hold from Donohue, who made him unconscious in front of the Storm squad as punishment for skylarking at training.

Bellamy flatly rejected O'Farrell's claims.

"Please. I'm telling you that's a load of crap," Bellamy told News Ltd.

"I might have said, `why didn't you put this hold on him or why didn't you try and turn him on his back there - or why didn't you grip tighter here or why couldn't you grab some handles up here.

"But when the grapple thing all blew up and came to a head then we were really aware of not doing that sort of stuff."

O'Farrell's comments come after the Storm were embroiled in controversy involving another dangerous tackling style - the so-called chicken wing.

Storm prop Adam Blair was placed on report during the 28-8 NRL victory over Brisbane at Olympic Park on Friday night after pinning and twisting the left arm of Bronco Michael Ennis.

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