Are the Australian Rugby League right to ban the shoulder charge?

Last Updated: 20/11/12 1:05pm

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Should the shoulder charge be outlawed?

Should the shoulder charge be outlawed?

Sky Bet

With the Australian Rugby League set to ban the shoulder charge, the question has to be asked how will the impending change impact the game?

The sport is known for its strength and brutality. Seeing a player in full flight with ball in hand knocked flat on the floor by an opponent is one the crowd adores and often brings it to its feet.

There is little more a fan likes to see than a crunching big hit, although the ARL believes after conducting an assessment on the tackle, that a shoulder charge is simply too dangerous to a player's health.

They feel the impact on the game is minimal as 0.05 per cent of the 142,355 tackles made in 2012 were shoulder charges, while 17 per cent resulted in contact with the head of the attacking player.

"If we listened to everything the doctors said we wouldn't have a game! I'm telling you the world has gone soft! Not happy."
Luke Patten

NRL interim chief executive Shane Mattiske wants to reduce the potential risk of serious injury, commenting: "This is about reducing a potential risk of serious injury to our players."

However, the results of the findings are something of a double-edged sword as with so few shoulder charges actually taking place, there is already a lower risk of a player suffering a head injury.


The other side of the coin is evident.

St George Illawarra prop Josh Miller announced his retirement from the game last week aged 28 on the recommendation of advice by club medical staff. A series of concussions left the fearless hit-man with short-term memory loss.

So the debate is, should the league take control of what is best for the players or should the players be left to weigh up the risks before they sign up.

A number of rugby league stars have taken to twitter to voice their opinion on the matter and the majority so far believe it is a decision that will have a detrimental impact on the game.

Australia international Jarryd Hayne has called the move a bad decision while former Salford full-back Luke Patten commented: "If we listened to everything the doctors said we wouldn't have a game! I'm telling you the world has gone soft! Not happy."

Sydney Roosters ace Daniel Mortimer has been on the wrong end of a shoulder charge or two and he still endorses the benefits of the tackle: "Have been on the wrong end of a few shoulder charges. Still think they are a great part of our game."

Catalan Dragons centre Daryl Millard has called the decision 'a joke', but it seems the ruling will be eventually embraced worldwide with the NRL to adopt the change from 2013.

Some fans have already started a petition to retain the shoulder charge. Do you agree with the ARL and want the tackle outlawed or do you feel the practice has a part to play in the game?

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Shoulder charge ban

Francis Cummins: was happy with the old practice for dealing with shoulder charges to the head

Cummins not a fan of the ban

Francis Cummins would not have banned the shoulder charge as he believes fans love the high-impact challenges.

Shoulder charges banned from this weekend onwards

RFL bans shoulder charges

The Rugby Football League has confirmed that shoulder charges are banned from Super League with immediate effect.

Shoulder charges to be banned from rugby league worldwide

League bans shoulder charges

The RLIF has confirmed a worldwide ban on shoulder charges will begin with the World Club Challenge in Leeds on Friday.


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