Across rugby league there has been a move to try and protect players from head injuries.
Last season the NRL became much stricter on contact with the head handing out lengthy bans left, right and centre. Super League soon followed suit and we are now seeing an unprecedented number of cards shown in the early stages of the league campaign as referees look to deter players from making contact with the head.
The NRL have also stepped things up with an 18th man as well as an independent doctor in the bunker to ensure players who have suffered head injuries receive the correct medical treatment.
However, this led to confusion yesterday during Sydney Roosters’ defeat to Newcastle Knights yesterday when Victor Radley’s head hit Jake Clifford’s shoulder. He initially wasn’t taken off for a HIA with the Roosters’ medical staff declaring him fit to continue but the independent doctor in the bunker intervened with his injury being declared as a category 1 meaning he wasn’t allowed to return to the field causing the Roosters to lose an interchange.
This baffled coach Trent Robinson who bemoaned the loss of a player with no symptoms especially with Billy Smith also taken from the field.
After the game, Robinson voiced his confusion on Fox League: “I think it’s a good idea. (But) Billy’s got no concussion – didn’t even remember an incident until the doctor showed him.
“So for them to go category 1 instead of category 2 was tough for us. You’ve got to give some faith to the doctors to look at it as well. They don’t have any symptoms at all.
“But I think it’s right, what they’re trying to put in. But you’ve got to be careful. It’s frustrating in the moment. They’ve made a call on how to get rid of the cheating of the system, which we all can acknowledge was there.
“They’ve gone to a different system. But they’ve got to also make sure they’re not pulling guys out of games without any symptoms at all. We would have lost the game anyway. But let’s get better at that system.”