NRL360 host Paul Kent has questioned a new tackling technique employed by the Melbourne Storm which resulted in knee injuries to two Cowboys players.
Jason Taumalolo and Kyle Feldt left the field in Round 11 and both are expected to miss the club’s crucial clash against the Panthers.
Feldt’s injury was significantly worse than his captain’s and will miss six weeks with a torn MCL.
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In the vision of the two tackles shown on NRL360, Storm player Brandon Smith makes first contact, diving in the area between the knee and hip and driving in one direction.
Then his Melbourne teammates join the high tackle, moving the other way, forcing the ballrunner to twist at the knee.
Speaking on NRL360, Kent revealed the Cowboys noticed the tackling technique while NRL chief football officer Graham Annesley said there was nothing wrong with it.
“It’s particularly nasty, Kyle Feldt will do six weeks, when I spoke to Graham Annesley today, he said the match review board looked at him, they basically came back with the decision to you used to just call them good attacking legs,” Kent said.
“But the worry, still the tricky part, the worry is he hits low just above the knee a split second before they get hit from above and twist above him .
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“It puts pressure on the knee, which has resulted in two medial ligament tears.
“I spoke to the Cowboys who were reluctant to talk about it specifically, they certainly noticed it during the game and thought it was a weird way to tackle the fact that he was so low with so much momentum. .”
Storm coach Craig Bellamy was asked about the matter this week and bristled at the criticism.
“Do we need to break out the protractors and work the angles we go into?” Bellamy said.
“We haven’t charged anyone over the weekend or the last three weeks or four weeks or five weeks.”
Kent, however, thinks the NRL may have to ban the technique, as it did with the shoulder charge and the crusher tackle.
“It’s not the old traditional leg tackle where you kick and wrap, it’s more of a drive through than when you combine the fact that they’re kicked the other way up,” Kent said. .
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“It’s this practice or this technique, you don’t mean that but at the same time you go back to the old ugly tackles that we abandoned in the game… it’s not illegal, and that’s the worry, it’s not an illegal tackle and there’s nothing illegal about it.
“That being said, there have been other tackles in the past that have since become illegal, and what the game now has to figure out is if there were just two accidents or was there- there something more deliberate about it, is it something that is practiced, and if so what are they doing about it.
“According to the laws of the game it is a legal tackle but if we are going to see injuries like this start to happen where players are doing medial ligaments because they are twisted on themselves… then the game must act accordingly.
“It’s going to cause a f*** fight to be honest.”
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