Respected rugby league doctor David Givney says the shoulder charge can be seamlessly eradicated from the game in the same way dangerous attacks upon defenceless kickers have been.

The success of the NRL's crackdown on players attacking opposition kickers, an edict criticised by many as unworkable at the time, is proof a ban on shoulder charges could work believes Givney, who works as Cronulla and NSW team doctor and has travelled with the Kangaroos.

Givney said the NRL needed to act soon to avoid the possibility of serious injury.

"I'm not an administrator, I don't pretend to be but from a straight out medical perspective the shoulder charge should be taken out of the game," he said.


"The possibility of injury is too great. There is not only the chance of injury to someone else's player but even more significant is the chance of injury to your own player.

"I know it looks good and I know it is exciting but the chance for mistakes are too high, the margin for error is too great. Things too often can go wrong."

Givney said rugby league could follow rugby union's lead in outlawing the dangerous tackle.

"In rugby they say that you have to make some attempt to tackle the player with your arms, you can't just come charging in with your shoulder and we should do the same."

That opinion seems contrary to those of NRL players, with several stating on Monday they want to see the shoulder charge remain a part of rugby league.

Gold Coast enforcer Greg Bird and Canterbury skipper Michael Ennis were among those to speak out in defence of the controversial tackling style.

"That's why rugby league is one of the toughest games to play because you go out every week and you're at risk of getting hurt," Bird said, claiming the shoulder charge was a point difference between league and other football codes.

"I don't think that should be taken out of the game, they're entertaining and they put bums on seats."


Ennis said it was just a coincidence that the issue was at the forefront of the game, particularly after South Sydney fullback Greg Inglis's round 20 hit on St George Illawarra utility Dean Young.

"In all my years of footy I have never seen a player practise the shoulder charge in training."

Dr John Orchard, who is the Sydney Roosters medical officer and has also worked with the NSW team and the Australian cricket team, declined to comment when contacted.

However via his Twitter account he urged the NRL not to make an example of Inglis and formulated a considered approach to player safety in regard to shoulder charges.

"He deserves a fair hearing with the MRC/judiciary. The issues with shoulder charges & safety are bigger than just one case," he tweeted.

"This is not a personal vendetta. Every NRL doctor who sees effects of concussion first hand wants to minimise risk."