NRL to crack down on crusher tackles

The ARL Commission has approved changes relating to serious crusher tackles and late tackles.

The changes, which will apply with immediate effect, follow recommendations by the NRL Competition Committee last week.

Crusher tackles which are deemed reckless or intentional should be directly referred to the Judiciary Panel by the Match Review Committee, rather than graded.

In addition, where officials on-field or in the NRL Bunker form the view that any of those types of tackles are at the more serious end of the scale, they have been instructed to utilise dismissal from the field (sin bin or send off).

The Match Review Committee will also apply a higher grading for more serious late tackles – those deemed to be forceful and unnecessary – without being restricted by precedent.

NRL Head of Football Elite Competitions Graham Annesley said the Competition Committee was of the collective belief that strong deterrents needed to be applied for both late tackles as well as the more serious instances of crusher tackles.

“The Competition Committee held a view that the current penalties for the more serious crusher tackles were simply not providing an adequate deterrent,” Mr Annesley said.

“These tackles are dangerous and they need to be eliminated as much as possible.

“From now on, reckless or intentional crusher tackles will be referred straight to the Judiciary, and players will run the risk of being sin-binned or even sent off for the more serious incidents.

“It’s important to note that while the Match Review Committee will continue to be consistent and vigilant about charging lower-grade offences, these changes relate to more deliberate and serious actions.”

While the Competition Committee reaffirmed the NRL’s strong stance on late tackles, it felt the offence could be dealt with more severely in some instances.

“Given that we are still seeing this type of offence, it was felt that stronger deterrents may be needed,” Mr Annesley said.

“So for more serious offences, the Match Review Committee will be able to issue a higher grading regardless of the gradings issued in the past.”

The changes will be applied from Round 15 onwards.

“Of course there will still be lower-grade examples of those tackles which will be dealt with at the lower end of the spectrum,” Mr Annesley said.

“But the Commission and the Competition Committee are determined to take a much harsher view of the more serious types of tackles we have seen.”