NRL outlaw cannonball tackle - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL outlaw cannonball tackle

Ian McCullough 05/07/2011 06:10:34 PM Comments (0)

The NRL has issued clubs with a new series of guidelines aimed at protecting players from late tackles which target the legs.

The tackles, which have been tagged 'the cannonball' or 'kneecapper', occur when a player charges at an opponent's legs while he is being held up by a teammate.

South Sydney halfback Chris Sandow was criticised for producing the tackle on Brisbane's Josh Hoffman in round 16.

However, referees' boss Bill Harrigan said the new guidelines are something he and the NRL have been working on all season and not a reaction to the Sandow incident during Souths' 16-12 win in Perth.

"It hasn't just come to light in the last couple of weeks. It's been flagged with the NRL for a few months and this is how long we've been watching it," Harrigan said.

"In the week, when I see one, I note the time it happened in the game, so we have been monitoring it all season.

"But we have been looking at ways of weeding it out of the game because you can't just go and change things ad hoc.

"As soon as you tamper with a rule, there is a flow-on effect, so we have been working on that for the last few weeks and we've go it right now."

The new guidelines will come into affect for this weekend's NRL and Toyota Cup matches.

NRL Director of Operations Nathan McGuirk said players might face action from the match review committee if they forcefully spear their body in a dangerous manner at an opponent's legs while they are deemed to be in a vulnerable position.

McGuirk also denies the changes will have a dramatic affect on the flow of the game.

"The key points here are that we do not expect to see referees overreact to these changes, nor do we expect the guidelines to have a noticeable impact on the way the game is played," McGuirk said in a statement.

NRL referees' coach Stuart Raper said the guidelines will have the support of players and fans.

"These measures are not designed to stop a player tackling around the legs, but it does give referees the ability to act when there is clearly a potential for a dangerous situation to develop," he said.

"Player safety is paramount to the success of our game and it is important we continue to monitor any developments that impact on players' safety."

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