League: Peacock calls for automatic ban over cannonball tackle

England captain Jamie Peacock has called for automatic six-week bans on players who execute "cannonball tackles".

New Zealand hooker Isaac Luke is in the spotlight for his tackle on Australia's David Shillington during the Kangaroos' Four Nations victory over the Kiwis on Saturday (NZ time).

Luke is unlikely to be charged because lawmakers in the Super League and NRL are still in the process of defing the offence, but the tournament match review committee will examine the 70th-minute challenge.

Known as the "cannonball" or "kneecapper", the tackles occur when a player charges at an opponent's legs while he is being held by the defence.

Peacock, who said Luke should not be charged, was the victim of a similar hit in England's victory over Wales.

"What they need to do is: the next person who does the tackle, you ban them for six matches," Peacock said in the wake of the 42-4 win over Wales at Leigh Sports Village.

"The next person, you ban them for eight matches. Then you'll see them stop doing that.

"I just came back from a knee injury and I got one tonight. Similar [to Luke's tackle], in the second half. I didn't see it coming. It's not nice. I felt for [Shillington]. You don't want to see anyone in rugby league get in that position. It's not what rugby league's about, trying to hurt people.

"You can't come in from behind, I think, below the knees to cause damage like that. You just need to get people on the disciplinary panel who know the game and know the difference between going in and just holding the legs and going in to cause damage.

"Everyone knows it shouldn't be in the game. I think a warning needs to go out and the next bloke who does something like that, you miss the tournament I reckon. That sends out a message, doesn't it?"

Peacock says he couldn't identify the Welsh player involved in the attack on him. England coach Steve McNamara said officials should take every step in their power to eliminate the tactic but stopped short of calling for Luke to be banned.

"I'm not talking specifically about Issac Luke but we have spoken in-depth in Super League about outlawing that type of tackle," he said.

"It's not something we want to see in Super League. The international [authorities] will have to decide whether it's right or wrong at that level."

The Kiwis travelled to London over the weekend in preparation for their own clash with the Welsh, which should get the New Zealand campaign off and running and hand Stephen Kearney's side its first victory of the tournament.

Welsh captain Lee Briers said Luke should probably play this week - but a repeat of the controversial tackle deserved to be dealt with harshly.

"Issac Luke's done nothing wrong really because there's no rule that you can't do it so he's going to do anything he can to win the play-the-ball," said five-eighth Briers.

"Good on him to do that but I think it needs to come from on top that something's got to be done.

"You can't just go and suspend without a warning. Just go and warn people that it won't be tolerated. I don't know if Shillington's all right. That's the main thing when someone hits you from behind - the shock of it.

"I don't want to complain about Issac Luke. He's a super player but that needs to be outlawed 100 per cent. I suppose it's just about winning the ruck, isn't it? Everyone's super keen to win the ruck. It's not illegal, there's no rule saying you can't do it so they're going to do it."

Meanwhile, it's understood New Zealand have told the Rugby Football League it is willing to play a home Test against England next October or November. Australia have so far snubbed the English because of opposition from NRL clubs.

The possibility of the Kiwis returning to Britain next spring has also been ruled out for the time being.

"We're in discussions with the NZRL and people at the NRL about possibilities for 2012," said RFL chief executive Nigel Wood.

- APNZ

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