NRL: Wrestling moves 'up to players to end'

By Joe Barton

South Sydney's Jeff Lima was in the spotlight for applying a 'crocodile roll' to the injured knee of Manly star Anthony Watmough. Photo / Getty Images
South Sydney's Jeff Lima was in the spotlight for applying a 'crocodile roll' to the injured knee of Manly star Anthony Watmough. Photo / Getty Images

The only way to rid the NRL of sinister wrestling tactics is to have the competition's best players take the decision away from their coaches, former Australia captain Gorden Tallis believes.

One week after South Sydney's Jeff Lima was in the spotlight for applying a "crocodile roll" to the injured knee of Manly star Anthony Watmough, his Rabbitoh teammate Greg Inglis was the victim of an ugly "scorpion" tackle by Canterbury forward Tim Browne.

There is a concern that the nasty wrestling techniques which have emerged in rugby league in recent years are threatening to take control of the way the game is played - as coaches seek to exploit every possible method to slow down the play and gain an advantage.

And the former Brisbane, Queensland and Australia enforcer believes a show of player power would be the most effective way to rid the game of the wrestle.

"Take it out of the coaches' hands. Are coaches going to change it?" Tallis said on Fox Sports' Matty Johns Show. "If they're strong enough on it, [the wrestling] will go.

"If [Melbourne's] Cameron Smith rang Greg Inglis, rang Johnathan Thurston, rang around ... they would get the top players to go in and say 'this is what will happen'.

"If Cameron Smith went to Melbourne Storm [and said] 'we stop it', it stops.

"If Greg Inglis gets up at Souths with Sam Burgess and says 'we're going to stop this' - it stops."

Former NSW and Australia playmaker Johns says wherever coaches are given leeway to wrestle, they'll take it.

"Coaches will coach it. Their excuse all the time is, 'Well, if Joe Blow down the road's coaching it, I've got to do it to keep up.'

"It's a weak excuse.

"... If I'm the boss of the players' association ... you'd pull all the players in and say, 'Listen, fellas, if we really care about the welfare of the players, stop doing these cannonball tackles on each other."'

The NRL's competition committee, made up of some of the most experienced names in rugby league including Wayne Bennett, Darren Lockyer and Tim Sheens, will meet next month to discuss banning wrestling techniques.

- AAP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 25 Jul 2014 11:56:34 Processing Time: 474ms