ARLC judiciary takes important stand for rugby league
It didn’t have the spectacular and dramatic outcome of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves bell ringer on Cronulla prop Ben Ross, but the outcome of Adam Blair’s judiciary hearing is an important step in the right direction for rugby league.
The three man ARLC panel of Royce Ayliffe, Chris McKenna and Michael Buettner took just 10-minutes to find the Wests Tigers back rower guilty of making dangerous contact to the leg of Bulldogs centre Josh Morris.
He’ll miss this weekend’s clash with Penrith in Campbelltown leaving coach Tim Sheens with some serious headaches when it comes to filling his already depleted back row.
Blair came under the microscope of the match review committee for bending the knee of Morris in an outward direction as he was trying to get up and play the ball.
The action placed the knee of the Blues centre in an unnatural position and could’ve easily caused an injury. Body parts aren’t meant to bend that way.
The ruck in rugby league has become, at times, a grubby and dangerous place.
Necks are placed under pressure, arms are wrenched in wrestling holds and leg locks even made a brief appearance in the State of Origin decider in Brisbane last week.
Then there’s the recent trend of two players holding the ball-runner up while a third crashes in to complete the tackle.
The speed of the ruck has also become farcical at times with little to no consistency applied to the time it takes to play the ball.
Teams in possession are rarely rewarded for trying to increase the speed of the game.
Blair would’ve been hoping to buy his defensive line some time by pulling on Morris’ knee.
It would perhaps be more palatable if the current go-slow tactics didn’t have the potential to injure opponents in so many ways.
But they do.
It’s why the judiciary’s decision to suspend Blair was a giant stride in the right direction.
The incident, albeit minor, could’ve ended badly for Morris and now the Wests Tigers are without their big money signing for an important game.
If more suspensions are handed out to nigglers and wrestlers then maybe the coaches will be forced to change their tactics.
It may seem pedantic at first as case after case goes before the judiciary, but the game will be all the better for it in the end.
You can follow Luke Doherty on Twitter @Luke_Doherty and on Sky News Australia.
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