NRL’s stunning rule crackdown for Magic Round
The NRL has implemented an unprecedented crackdown on foul play with players and coaches warned players face instant sin-binning for any contact with the head of the opposition.
In an unapologetic response to ridding the game of foul play, the ARL Commission has declared that from tonight's Magic Round opener, the game will be officiated under never before implemented rules that includes:
- Direct or forceful contact to head is sin bin at a minimum
- Indirect or forceful contact, possible sin bin
- If contact is minimal, then penalty and put on report
The policy has come directly from the commission as the game confronts the worrying issue of concussion and head knocks.
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"The crackdown should've happened last week, but it will definitely happen tonight - we will not tolerate any hit above the shoulder, the head or the neck region,'' V'landys told 2GB Ben Fordham on Friday morning.
"Any foul play will be penalised heavily, we're going to get all that out of the game.
"We did that many years ago with punching by using the sin bin - you don't see punching any more, you don't see spear tackles anymore, you don't see many shoulder charges any more and we're just as determined to get rid of any knock around the head.
"It's never been allowed to hit anyone in the head - all we need to do now is really enforce it and we will.
"We're going to be very tough on it.
"We don't want our players to suffer concussion.
"We don't want players out for weeks on end because of foul play, even accidental play - you do not hit around the head or neck.
"That's not going to be tolerated.
"Mothers out there who are decision makers who see foul play, they don't want their children to suffer the same fate.
"We're well aware of that and that's why we're going to eradicate it.
"We want mothers and parents to know that when their children play rugby league its absolutely safe and its played in the right spirit."
Asked if the rules were intended to be implemented last weekend prior to Roosters half Drew Hutchison being left with a punctured lung after suffering from knees in the back from Eels five-eighth Dylan Brown, V'landys suggested that was the case.
"That was the commission's decision that we wanted to eliminate all and penalise heavily, if it was accidental or reckless, around the head we wanted them to be sin-binned or sent-off,'' he said.
"That was the policy of the board and I'm sure the referees will implement it.
"It was just a shame last week we had that hiccup.
"I think it was a communication breakdown on the night - not a breakdown between the commission and the management."
Originally published as NRL's stunning rule crackdown for Magic Round