Last year, we saw the RFL move to stamp out the so called “hip drop” tackle and former Man of Steel Jackson Hastings has become the latest to take aim at the controversial tackle technique.
This tackle type, which sometimes can’t be helped, saw Morgan Knowles unfortunately end Mike Cooper’s season on Good Friday resulting in a huge ban. This was despite the fact many others avoided long term bans for similar tackles because they didn’t cause an injury. Normally, the tackle yields a maximum of a two game ban whilst Knowles was given five.
It is the view of former Man of Steel winner Jackson Hastings, who shone during his time in England with Wigan Warriors and Salford Red Devils, that the tackle needs a bigger ban.
He said on social media platform X bemoaning the tackle technique: “How many more broken legs we gotta see until this tackle gets a decent ban put on it?”
The RFL have made the move to ban the tackle technique in 2024 with the intent of improving player safety. It was a technique utilised by Leigh Leopards skipper John Asiata in their Challenge Cup semi-final against St Helens, a game and series of tackles that sadly saw long term injuries to both Alex Walmsley and Agnatius Paasi.
Failure to suspend Asiata for the tackles that caused injury led to Paul Wellens taking aim at the RFL, particularly in comparison to the heavy-handed disciplinary treatment of Morgan Knowles for his tackle on Mike Cooper.
Wellens told BBC Radio Merseyside: “Both Agnatius and Alex have been injured and injured pretty badly. We as a Club, myself as a coach, and those players in particular are angry, upset and disappointed with some of the events from the weekend. Not just those events, but what has transpired in the subsequent days, how we feel that both Agnatius and Alex have been let down by the game.
“We talk about player welfare and the duty of care to its players, those players have been failed this weekend. For Agnatius he is out for a minimum of nine months, he can only have his ACL repaired after his MCL and his ankle ligaments have also healed. It’s three injuries in one tackle. Alex has had surgery today on his MCL, that will be at least twelve weeks.”