As the NRL clamp down on contact with the head, they were faced with a horror round of tackles resulting in 14 players facing bans in coming weeks following various incident.
A whopping 10 of those incidents came yesterday as almost a full team of players found themselves slapped with a grade three charge for careless high tackles.
Canberra Raiders are arguably the worst hit. The 2019 Grand Finalists saw three players handed charges in the shape of Josh Papalii, Jack Wighton and Englishman Josh Hodgson.
Papalii became the first player sent off following the NRL’s upped attempts to push against foul play. He was dismissed following a tackle on Canterbury winger Tuipulota Katoa in which he was deemed to have made forceful contact with the head.
He, like plenty of others, face a minimum of three games on the side lines if he takes the early guilty plea. This would see him miss the opening game in this year’s State of Origin. On the other side of things, if he disputes the charge and fails he could be hit with a five match ban and be made an example of.
Like Papalii, Wighton’s origin future now remains in the balance as he faces a lengthy ban too. What’s more the Raiders will now have to do without $2.5 million worth of talent following the suspension of the duo and English star Hodgson.
Plenty have voiced their opinions on the matter claiming that the game has gone soft. Some have even likened the new rules to touch and pass.
Ben Hunt "he's just making a tackle, we're not playing bloody touch"
— WAirlieBird (@Philsmith7) May 16, 2021
But is this a necessary step to maintain the safety of players moving forward?