Gallop says NRL in 2011 cleanest ever - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gallop says NRL in 2011 cleanest ever

Nick Perry 07/09/2011 02:41:27 PM Comments (0)

The dust has barely settled since that wild on-field brawl involving Manly and Melbourne players but NRL chief David Gallop has declared 2011 the cleanest season on record.

There have been less suspensions and charges for on-field misconduct this year than in any previous NRL season, even following the judiciary aftermath of that round 25 game.

The Brookvale biffo led to 12 charges and 16 weeks in suspensions.

That took the total to 70 charges and 53 playing weeks lost through suspension during the 2011 regular season - a record low since the current judiciary system started in 1998.

By comparison, there were 196 weeks lost through suspensions in the full 2004 season.

Gallop said this was further evidence that the NRL judiciary was deterring foul play.

"It might surprise a few people given the last couple of weeks but there's been a dramatic drop in the number of weeks in suspension," said Gallop on Wednesday, delivering his annual State of the Game report.

"The 2011 competition was the 'cleanest' in memory.

"That is actually a trend that is tracking over the last few years."

The report also showed that the two-referees system, introduced in 2009 for the first time, was continuing to see a reduction in wrestling-related tackle charges, with just three compared to nine last year.

While there was no mention of off-field discretions in this year's report, Gallop said programs specifically aimed at younger players by individual clubs and the NRL were starting to have an impact on behaviour.

"I think we're educating players earlier about the pitfalls," Gallop said.

"We're always going to have young guys making mistakes, and it's important that clubs deal with those issues."

He said the fall in foul play was positive for drawing families and new players to the game, with the NRL engaging 1.5 million students in primary and high schools this year.

"In the last fortnight that we've been through (with the Manly-Melbourne brawl), we're in the market for engaging kids and families in our game," Gallop said.

"Foul play, violence, protracted fighting, that is not going to endear us to families who are considering getting involved in the game."

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