Angry players are facing a showdown with independent commission chairman Peter V'landys over the sin-bin crackdown that almost wrecked Magic Round.

RLPA chief executive Clint Newton will request a meeting with V'landys in the next 48 hours to deliver the concerns of players about the lack of consultation before the weekend blitz.

Coaches and players spoke out against the mid-season crackdown over the weekend with Storm star Harry Grant declaring on social media: "The NRL are kidding with the rule change."

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The complaints will come to a head when Newton calls V'landys to set up a meeting.

"We will always support the game introducing or enforcing policy that prioritises player health and safety," Newton said.

"Reducing the probability and incident rate of contact with the head and neck is necessary, but the success of any change will always hinge on the level of engagement with the major stakeholders and those at the coal face - players, coaches, clubs and states.



"We would like to believe that everyone understands the need to protect and support the game's greatest asset, but effective communication and providing those closest to the issues with opportunity to put their views on the table for discussion must improve."

Newton has been urged by a group of senior players to go in hard.

There is a thought among the players that NRL administration is partly to blame for much of the high tackle controversy since the beginning of the season.

Many of them claim the rule changes that created more fatigue and more speed have put tired players in a position where they are making technique mistakes they wouldn't normally make.

The new sin-bin blitz has created even more exhaustion and put players under greater pressure with the reduced numbers on the field from all the sin bin cases.

The more fatigue there is the more danger of players being injured or making poor decisions.


Josh Papalii looks on, soon to be sent off. Picture: Jason O’Brien - NRL Photos
Josh Papalii looks on, soon to be sent off. Picture: Jason O’Brien - NRL Photos

"Increasing penalties, sanctions and enforcement of rules may assist with improving the environment for players but if done alone it will fall short of the expectations of players … future, current and those that dug the well," Newton said.

"We will meet with the NRL and continually promote our willingness to work with them and other stakeholders. We established a leadership structure for this specific reason, and I imagine if our feedback is taken the way it's intended our players and the game will benefit because it will focus on aligning on objectives and agreeing on process.

"Our game is for elite athletes and we have the best in the world playing a game that is marketable, impactful and filled with significant opportunity, however, separating our junior sport from elite is critical element of community education and engagement."

We all agree the NRL crackdown is 100 per cent appropriate and long overdue.

And we all accept Canberra's Josh Papalii and St George Illawarra's Tyrell Fuimaono had to be sent off.

It's all about getting the balancing act right.

The problem is the timing and the overreaction.

Concussion is such a serious threat that, in 30 years' time, we may not have a game of rugby league if things don't change.

Stronger, faster and more powerful athletes are creating bigger collisions and more brutal impact.

This means head knocks are far more dangerous than they used to be. Everyone knows that.

However to pull out an edict just 48 hours before the showpiece round of the season was wrong. Some coaches were not even told until after their captain's run.



If this had happened last October and players had an off-season to adjust technique, there would have been a general acceptance and even applause across the game.

In 40 years I can't recall a more pathetic penalty than the one on Sharks halfback Chad Townsend for a crusher tackle on Cody Walker. It was absolutely farcical.

For an administration that prides itself on listening to the fans, this was a public relations disaster.

Fans who had saved their money all year for flights, accommodation, tickets and meals left Brisbane feeling disappointed that their rugby league experience had been ruined.

Originally published as Buzz: Angry players face showdown with V'Landys

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