Monday Buzz: Crusher will result in broken neck
Penrith legend Greg Alexander has gone out of his way to make noise about the awful nature of the crusher tackle. It must be immediately stamped out with 10-week bans, writes Phil Rothfield.
So when he says someone will break a neck unless the NRL acts to stamp out crusher tackles, it's time for Todd Greenberg, Graham Annesley and all administrators to stop and listen.
No one at NRL headquarters likes being told how to do their job but the Fox Sports commentator and NSW Blues and Panthers legend wants the game to introduce 10-week bans.
Over the weekend we saw three bad ones from Cronulla's Andrew Fifita, Canberra's John Bateman and the Newcastle's Mitch Barnett. Fifita and Barnett were charged but Bateman miraculously escaped.
So your columnist woke up to a text message from Alexander on Sunday at 8am (that's how keen he was to get his message out there.)
"The intentional crusher tackle, when a bloke goes for a second effort and lifts a player and all that weight comes down on the top a player's head, will result in a broken neck very soon," Alexander said.
"It mightn't happen in first grade but it will happen in a park game.
"I've seen it in junior league. They don't have that neck strength. They don't do strength training. It is so dangerous and it's got to stop."
To get the message across to players, Alexander wants long bans.
"In the old days we stamped out spear tackles and dangerous throws with 10-week suspensions," he said.
"Anyone guilty of an intentional crusher tackle should get 10 weeks. And that's grade one.
"That will make them think about it.
"A lot of crusher tackles are accidental when a player is wrestling an opponent to get him to the ground. It can happen. Players get twisted and land awkwardly.
"I'm talking about the intentional ones where they lift and put excessive force into the tackle."
The crusher tackle has crept into the game in the past decade with wrestling manoeuvres.
The NRL has never properly addressed it. It is not even a sin-bin offence.
Many in the game believe the entire NRL judicial process needs to be overhauled.
The match review panel has twice allowed Cowboys forward Josh Maguire to escape suspension this season for what appeared to be gouging offences.
Yet it smashed the Canberra Raiders and banned their rookie forward Hudson Young for five weeks for an almost identical incident.
From here on they have an opportunity to get serious about it.
Annesley should use his weekly media briefing at Moore Park on Monday to put every NRL player on notice. The same with the match-review panel.
He must show that the game will no longer tolerate this shocking act of foul play.
And that two-and three-week suspensions are a thing of the past.
Barnett and Fifita will miss a handful of games … but that's not enough.