NRL cracking down on foul play, time wasting

Richie Fa'aoso was given an eight-match suspension for lifting tackles.  Photo / Getty Images
Richie Fa'aoso was given an eight-match suspension for lifting tackles. Photo / Getty Images

NRL players are more likely to be sent from the field for a shoulder charge after the NRL Competition Committee moved to launch a crackdown on foul play, and time wasting.

Only the worst examples of the outlawed shoulder charge would fall into the crosshairs of the new edict from the body which examines the rules of the NRL. But referees have been told to be more aware of the option of sending players from the field for shoulder charges or lifting tackles.

The move comes after the shoulder charge was banned ahead of the 2013 season and after South Sydney's Greg Inglis has been the repeated victim of lifting tackles this season.

Manly prop Richie Fa'aoso was given an eight-match suspension for twice dumping Inglis on his head last round, while Canterbury centre Krisnan Inu was suspended earlier this year for five matches for a lifting tackle on Inglis.

Referees boss Daniel Anderson said while Fa'aoso's tackles did not constitute a send off offence, Inu's did and the new ruling from the Competition Committee means that such an offence would result in a player being dismissed from the field.

So too would shoulder charges gone wrong such as then-Brisbane back-rower Ben Te'o's hit on Wests Tigers prop Matt Groat last year.

"It's a decision that Daniel Anderson and his team need to have a greater awareness of using the option of sending players from the field for those types of tackles," said NRL football operations manager Nathan McGuirk.

"There are tackles this year that have resulted in huge suspensions and the referees should be aware that sending players off is an option. The view of the committee is that we need greater awareness for the use of send-offs, particularly with one-on-one lifting tackles which result in a player landing directly on their head and shoulder charges that make forceful contact with the head or neck."

However, the sin-bin will not be used for repeated incidents of serious foul play as in the case of Fa'aoso who was twice placed on report against Souths.

The NRL has also asked Anderson to look at a way of dealing with the increasing prevalence of time wasting.

"The average time taken to set scrums has increased dramatically and that is something we have to be mindful of," McGuirk said.

An option was a time out for scrums similar to the one instituted for drop outs.

- AAP

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