Eels' Hauraki banned for grapple tackle - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels' Hauraki banned for grapple tackle

18/03/2009 09:54:06 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta forward Weller Hauraki admits the grapple tackle is on the way out after becoming the first player suspended under the new NRL guidelines.

Hauraki was suspended for two games by the judiciary after failing to have his dangerous contact charge for unnecessary contact to the head or neck downgraded.

The judiciary's decision shows that after several years of confusion the NRL finally has all forms of officialdom - referees, match review committee and judiciary - on the same page when it comes to enforcing the mandate to eradicate grappling from the game.

A contrite Hauraki, who did not give evidence in the hearing but spoke to the media afterwards, said the NRL was now tougher than ever before on grapple tackles.

"Going by tonight they probably will be," he said.

"It is disappointing but the judiciary gave me a fair hearing so I guess I have to cop it on the chin.

"It has to be (taken out of the game) otherwise all the young kids growing up won't want to play the game."

The Eels argued Hauraki applied no pressure on Wade McKinnon's chin with his grip and claimed the Warriors fullback had attempted to milk the penalty by moving his head to make the incident appear worse.

However the judiciary panel took just five minutes to decide otherwise and deem that his offence warranted a higher charge than base grading.

Hauraki is the first player suspended for a grapple tackle under the new charge of dangerous contact specifically introduced to give the NRL greater power in penalising wrestling moves.

There were five players charged for such offences over the first round of the NRL, but the other four were handed grade one offences and escaped with carryover point penalties.

Prosecutor Peter Kite urged the judiciary to treat this incident seriously and support the NRL's move to eradicate the problem.

"The NRL introduced the new charge of dangerous contact with the specific intent of eradicating these forms of offences from the game because of the dangers they pose to players," he said.

"This is clearly a serious matter.

"Through all the time player Hauraki has maintained his grip on player McKinnon's chin and was pulling back on the chin to have pressure on the neck.

"He has made a decision to place pressure on the neck with a view to slow down the play the ball."

Earlier on Wednesday North Queensland forward Manase Manuokafoa escaped suspension by getting his dangerous contact charge for an attack on a kicker downgraded.

He will receive just 90 carryover points and is free to play Wests Tigers on Saturday in Townsville.

He had been charged with a grade two for his hit on Brisbane's Peter Wallace after he booted the winning field goal last Friday.

He pleaded guilty and argued the incident was careless and not reckless.

The Cowboys' defence was made more difficult considering all previous gradings and precedents were inadmissible under the new dangerous contact charge.

Kite told the judiciary it was up to them to establish a new precedent to provide greater protection for kickers.

"Given there are no precedents with this type of dangerous contact this has the affect of providing a reference point," said Kite.

"This is not a base grading offence. It is certainly above that level.

"It is not a mitigating factor that it is three minutes to go and 16-all.

"It is not careless but it is reckless."

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