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“It’s not rugby league anymore” – Paul Cooke hits out at controversial decision

There is a lot of talk about what the future of rugby league looks like with a huge focus on protecting players.

There have been new rules trialled in academy games to do this and the disciplinary has moved against contact with the head.

However, former Hull FC and Hull KR star Paul Cooke has raised concerns for the future of the sport with the way they are treating certain tackles such as Fouad Yaha’s yellow card for Hull KR when he hit Max Jowitt hard causing a clash of heads.

“We’re in danger of when a collision occurs and somebody stays down injured we are now in real danger of not being rugby league,” Cooke said on BBC Radio Humberside.

“We’re in danger of going overboard because you can’t go swimming without getting wet. You can’t play rugby without getting injured. You can’t play rugby without some accidental contacts, whether that’s a head clash or not.

“I know rugby union have gone the other way to the nth degree where you’ve got to lower your tackle height and not clash heads. It’s a straight red card in rugby union.

“I just don’t agree with it because for over a hundred years the game has been a collision spot. Now we’re in danger of trying to penalize everything because there’s an injury to a player and I just don’t agree with that.”

Former official Richard Silverwood has been open about the decision claiming that the sport could be gone if we continue with decisions like this and Cooke echoed this.

“I understand Richard Silverwood saying it’s not rugby league anymore. I think I’ve said it a couple of times about a couple of different incidents this year, it’s not rugby league anymore and it’s not the sport that I’ve grown up loving.

“We’re changing it and we are doing so and the game is doing so because of the legalities of the head injuries and the dementia case from from ex-players and it’s as simple as that. That’s why Rugby Union’s done exactly the same.”

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