Billy Slater told to stamp out diving - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Billy Slater told to stamp out diving

By Steve Jancetic 27/10/2008 08:03:53 PM Comments (0)

Australian fullback Billy Slater has been told he will be suspended if he persists with the dangerous tactic of diving feet first at opposition players attempting to score.

World Cup match review committee chairman Greg McCallum took the extraordinary step of contacting Kangaroos coach Ricky Stuart to voice his concerns over Slater's controversial tackling technique.

Slater denied New Zealand centre Jerome Ropati a try in Sunday night's comfortable 30-6 win over the Kiwis when he lunged at the Warriors utility with his foot as Ropati attempted to put the ball over the line.

The impact knocked the ball loose from Ropati's grasp with the Kiwi ruled to have knocked on by video referee Steve Ganson, but McCallum warned Slater that the feet-first practice would no longer be tolerated.

"We're all disturbed by it," McCallum said of the tackling technique.

"We've got to get the message across to him that he's got to stop doing it.

"If you hit a bloke in that position the consequences can be really devastating."

Sunday night's match was not the first time Slater's feet-first manoeuvre had been called into question by the match review committee with Manly officials livid at two similar instances in their 40-0 grand final win over the Storm.

The incidents were noted in the match review committee's summation of the NRL decider, but Slater said after Sunday night's game he had never been told the practice was illegal.

"I haven't been told that I can't do it," Slater said.

"It's a bit like a tackle - as long as you're not making contact with the head or going in maliciously or intent to cause damage, that's a fullback's job, to get under them and do your best to save a try.

"At fullback you've just got to get your body in between the ball carrier and the line and hope for the best, that's what I've been doing all year."

McCallum said he taken it upon himself to ensure Slater was under no illusions as to the dangers of executing the tackle in the future.

"I'm going to make sure that he understands after last night's game that it's got to stop," he said.

"It's contrary conduct, players take the field knowing certain risks, but one of them is not to have feet coming at them."

Asked what would happen if Slater did attempt the tackle again, McCallum said:

"The tolerance that we've shown today might not be there in the future.

"The game's never tolerated people throwing their legs out ... those are the sorts of things that separate league from other sports.

"The time's come where there has to be a change of attitude."

Meanwhile in-doubt duo Brent Tate and Johnathan Thurston should both be available for selection in Sunday's match against England at Telstra Dome after flying to Melbourne with the remainder of the squad.

Thurston overcame the tragic death of his uncle Richard Saunders early Saturday morning to put in a man of the match performance against the Kiwis.

It was believed the classy No.7 would return to Brisbane to be with family and friends, but with the funeral set to be held next week, it is now anticipated Thurston will remain in the Victorian capital.

Tate is also set to play against the Lions despite suffering a severe bout of concussion early in the second half of last night's win.

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