While I copped a few decent whacks during last week's win over the Titans, I don't believe halves and kickers should be given special protection.
It's been a talking point this week, and some kind of compromise does need to be found, but it's a tricky area.
Before Moeaki Fotuaika got me last Friday, there were two or three other times I was knocked down late. At one stage, I asked the referee, "Can you watch the contact on me", though communicating with the officials isn't unusual for me. I'm competitive and tend to have my say during games.
That's footy and I'm not complaining. Halves are aware — or should be aware — they will be targeted at times. You take the knocks and keep going. In terms of Fotuaika's tackle, I think he got his timing wrong more than anything.
I lifted into the air as I kicked and players are taught these days to make the tackle, because if they don't, it can turn into a shoulder charge and get a bit ugly. I landed awkwardly and my ankle seized up a bit when I stopped moving, but it's fine now. Early in the week, I stayed off it and worked hard on my rehab, so I am good to go.
Looking back, it was probably a good lesson for me to come up with more options by using Chanel Harris-Tavita or Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and varying my style. As a youngster, I was taught by Jason Taylor to kick through the defensive line and I won't change that but there is always room to improve with decision making.
In terms of protecting the playmakers in our game, I'm not sure of the solution. You can't let halves have a free reign with no pressure — otherwise they could land kicks on a dime constantly — but hits after someone passes need to be regulated a bit more. Safety is an issue with those tackles, especially the really late ones, and defenders are able to control that on most occasions.
The Titans match was the response we needed. We won the physical contest and the rest flowed from there. Chanel's performance was impressive.
When we all caught up for coffee on the morning of the game, he was a cool customer, projecting an air of quiet confidence. He must have been feeling the nerves — everybody does before their debut — but controlled them well. He had a good week's training, very loud and clear with his talk, and took that into the game. The challenge is now to back up this week, but we have lots of confidence in him.
The NRL seems closer than ever this year — just look at all those golden point games. Going down in extra time is by far the worst way to lose, but it adds so much to the entertainment side of our game.
Ahead of taking on the Rabbitohs today, we have a few key themes. I can't reveal them all, but line speed will be massive for us. They have some huge men, and they last thing you want is George or Sam Burgess getting time to wind up.
South Sydney have always been a really physical side; they have a good defensive system in place and no shortage of weapons on attack. It's a challenge to contain them, but one we are ready for.