Albert Vete has strong words for those questioning the RFL’s safety approach

Hull KR enforcer Albert Vete believes the current frustration at the stricter safety laws in the game will turn to appreciation among players 10 years after they retire.

The latest round of action saw seven players from the Betfred Super League receive one or more match bans, with another two receiving cautions.

Though it has been known that players, coaches and even supporters are frustrated by the punishments, Vete believes it is all for the greater good for player welfare.

“Safety wise, I do believe the sport is changing for the better,” he said. “I do think concussions is an evolving thing in our game we need to stay on top of.

“I know some players are getting frustrated now with these suspensions but 10 years after they are done playing, if they are not able to function for their families, we have really let them down.

“We do really have to look after each other. I know we want to play tough and harder and I am in that boat that I want to play aggressively, but I have to be smarter now and how I am going into tackles with my body.

“The powers are trying to protect us as players, that is why they are bringing in these harsh suspensions and I think we have to get on board with that.”

Of course Vete is no stranger to punishments, having recently returned from a two-match ban after playing against Wigan Warriors in round one.

Though he was disappointed to miss those two games, he also stated he is happy to change his approach that best suits the sport for the greater good.

“I have to be honest, I am a little bit aggressive at times but when I rush up at the line, I did have to hold back a bit,” added Vete.

“It is just the way the game is going and something I have to change, otherwise I will be sitting on the sidelines watching, which will just hurt the team.

“I spoke about it with Tony about channelling that aggression a different way. He wants me to get my hands on the ball a bit more and use it that way.

“This is something that I have to be careful of now. We spoke about it as a team, just about being smart about it.

“I know we want to get out and pressure the ball players of other teams, but doing something silly and taking yourself out of the line and knocking over their halfback, you will just hurt the team now with sin-bins or sending offs.

“Yes, we want to get out and put pressure on ball players, but we have to be smart about it.”

To matters on the pitch, Vete and his Hull KR side travel to Salford on Friday looking to improve on a below-par start to the season.

The Robins currently sit 10th in the Betfred Super League with only one win from their opening four matches, however Vete is confident they can bounce back this weekend.

“We are trying to find a bit of our ‘mojo’ back and we showed it in parts against Castleford but we still have not got off to the way we want to play as a team.

“We are sort of finding ourselves a bit in attack. Sometimes we look a bit lost but I feel like this week is the perfect time to make it click.”

Vete highlighted another improvement for the club, which is their away form. The Robins managed just five away wins in all competitions last year and already went down in their first away match of this season against the Huddersfield Giants.

“This match is huge,” said Vete. “These games where you travel away, we spoke about our away record at the start of the year, last year I think we only one three or four away games.

“We will put a big emphasis on when we travel, we do all of the right things as it looks as though we will travel on the day to Manchester and we need to be able to perform.”

Facing Salford will see former NRL star Vete come up against a few familiar faces, a challenge he is looking forward to having missed out on playing the Red Devils last season.

“I did not play against Salford last year but I know a few players in their team. I know Brodie Croft, I played with him at Melbourne Storm. I have played against Elijah Taylor a few times too.

“I know King Vuniyayawa, the Fijian forward too. I may not have played against their team but I am aware of some of their players and I spoke about it in meeting that if we are not on our game against those players, they could hurt us, especially Brodie.

“I know he wants to impress, coming over here for his first season so we have to be on high alert on him.”

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