AFL players to change tackling style - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL players to change tackling style

By Roger Vaughan, Greg Buckle and Rob Grant 21/06/2011 07:40:25 PM Comments (0)

AFL players are resigned to changing habits drummed into them from their junior days as the league cracks down on dangerous tackles.

Any lingering doubts about the match review panel's stance following the controversial Jack Trengove suspension earlier this season are gone.

Sydney ruckman Shane Mumford and St Kilda ruck-forward Justin Koschitzke accepted two-match bans for rough conduct on Tuesday, after laying vigorous tackles on the weekend.

Mumford's tackle sent Carlton midfielder David Ellard to hospital with concussion, while Geelong youngster Mitch Duncan was also left with a rattled head after the tackle from Koschitzke.

Geelong onballer Joel Corey laid an even bigger tackle on Saint Jack Steven, but escaped with a rough conduct reprimand after his victim was not hurt.

Corey's lighter penalty also underscored the match review panel philosophy that if a player is charged with an incident where his opponent is injured, the punishment will be greater.

North Melbourne forward Drew Petrie said all players were taught from an early age that when they tackle, they have to wrap up their opponent as completely as possible.

But in the "sling" tackle, the player on the receiving end can hit his head heavily on the ground.

"From when you're a kid you're taught to wrap the arms and take the player to ground and not let them go because if you let them go and they get a handball out, that might result in a goal that means you lose the game," Petrie told SEN.

"You can't half-tackle. When you're in the moment of tackling someone aggressively, you can't pull out.

"It will be difficult for players, I guess, to amend their ways."

Trengove could have accepted a two-game ban earlier this season after his sling tackle left Adelaide forward Patrick Dangerfield concussed.

Melbourne unsuccessfully appealed, increasing the penalty to three games.

Collingwood ruckman Darren Jolly has no doubt that players will now adjust the way they tackle.

"Players who are in that instance from now on, certainly in the back of their mind they'll be thinking about don't sling to the ground because the consequences are quite high," Jolly said.

"It doesn't worry me."

Essendon coach James Hird agreed that the sling tackle would go out of the game because it is now too risky.

But Cats coach Chris Scott will seek clarification from the league on the issue.

"We'll try - but I think the answer we'll get is that if you tackle a player and his head hits the ground and he gets hurt, you're in trouble," he said.

Scott suspects the match review panel is placing too much emphasis on whether a player was injured rather than whether the tackler intended to cause an injury.

"It's an interesting one isn't it?" he said.

"Maybe Joel [Corey] was lucky that Steven wasn't hurt more. A couple of years ago, we would've said that was an exceptional tackle."

There was no tribunal hearing on Tuesday night after all charged players accepted their penalties.

Richmond were given a one-day extension on Jake King's striking charge, owing to a personal issue.

King could go to the tribunal because he receives a one-match ban if he pleads guilty or challenges the case.

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