Tony Smith says rugby league is becoming like rugby union

Tony Smith’s Hull FC are battling with Leeds Rhinos, Warrington Wolves, Hull KR and Salford Red Devils for a spot in the play-offs but their chances of making the top six were hurt when they were beaten by Wigan Warriors.

It was arguably a game they should have won as they led 12-4 late on following tries from Adam Swift and Brad Dwyer as Jake Clifford ran the show.

But Toby King and Jake Wardle dragged Wigan back into the game to leave it all square as the final hooter sounded and in golden point Harry Smith broke Hull FC hearts with a thunderous drop goal.

This came after Carlos Tuimavave was sin binned for a dangerous tackle.

On this, Tony Smith said to BBC Radio Humberside that the sport is becoming like rugby union:

“Yeah yeah well yes and no I didn’t think it was a sin bin, but it was one of those tackles that bloke lands flat on his back, you know, and we see him all the time. But, you know, they’re the reactions that we get sometimes.

“Our sport’s a little bit over, overcautious at the moment with many of our tackling issues.

“I’d like us to have a look at methods of tackling in terms of not just safety but what looks good for our game.

“I thought we had a few rucks and mauls there today. It absolutely looked like a game at Rugby Union at times and we didn’t practice that very well.”

Asked about the referees’ role in this, he said:

“Both, it’s within the rules and you know, nowadays you’re allowed to pull and tug and hold people up and drive them five to ten metres. A single bloke getting caught by three or four others, it’s very difficult for him to get down on the ground and get the ball down on the ground.

“If you’re being held up, you can’t get to the ground, and then you drag being pushed and dragged, all you can do, and I had to ask my players at halftime to get in there and stop them from being dragged back to their own goal line. So therefore, we’re creating the maul again, or the ruck.”