Aaron Woods’ clearance proves rugby league still doesn’t get it

Jason Hosken Roar Guru

By Jason Hosken, Jason Hosken is a Roar Guru

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57 Have your say

    So the World Cup match review committee found Aaron Woods had no case to answer. Well, wax my ’70s mo and turf player safety under the bus.

    As far as lifting tackles go, Woods’ effort on Tim Mannah last Saturday night was a textbook gut-churner. Two defenders on a stationary opponent, hand between legs, lift followed by that dreaded awkwardness of the unknown.

    Thankfully, given far more innocuous examples have resulted in lifelong issues, Mannah rose to his feet.

    A mate who’s a Bulldogs supporter summed it up best when he lamented his club’s new recruit would be lucky to debut before mid-2018.

    Subsequent match reports played down the incident, noting Woods may miss Australia’s upcoming quarter-final. Others debated an on-field penalty was sufficient because the ex-Tiger, along with Ben Hunt, made it their priority to soften Mannah’s terrifying turf-bound journey.

    Even Mannah himself, with his heart of gold, defended Woods, stating his long-time foe tried his hardest to put him down safely.

    And, according to the match review committee, Mannah was right, which just goes to show as a game we’ve missed the point.

    High school physics, with all its talk and fancy formulas, have no place in rugby league. Save rants about momentum, fulcrums and gravity for the lab, because if Woods hadn’t strayed between his opponent’s legs, Mannah’s long-term wellbeing would never have been questioned.

    Unlike one-on-one tackles, where traditional techniques can result in a ball carrier breaching the horizontal, Woods was one of two defenders faced with a choice. The fact he made the wrong decision shouldn’t be overridden by his opponent’s good fortune.

    The tackle was just as dangerous as the Alex McKinnon incident. If Jordan McLean’s seven-game ban is the benchmark, then Woods should have copped the same – anything less is a green light towards another disaster.

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    The Crowd Says (57)

    • November 14th 2017 @ 7:00am
      Chris said | November 14th 2017 @ 7:00am | ! Report

      No doubt that tackle put Mannah in danger, but when Australia is playing the rules are a bit different. All the 50-50 calls go Australia’s way, flat passes, forearm on faces of tackled players, hands on the ball in tackles, all good. Woods would have slept soundly on his custom made pillow knowing it would all be sorted. If he was playing for a team where players only get $30 a day expenses it would have been a different story. As great as this RLWC has been, let’s not pretend it’ a level playing field.

      • Roar Guru

        November 14th 2017 @ 8:19am
        Jason Hosken said | November 14th 2017 @ 8:19am | ! Report

        I reckon there’s plenty of merit in your comments Chris. The best example for me was the amount of fortunate calls England received in their match with Lebanon.

        • November 14th 2017 @ 1:13pm
          BleakCity said | November 14th 2017 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

          That first half was getting embarrassing. Even the commentators were struggling to contain themselves.

      • November 14th 2017 @ 9:31am
        Tony said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:31am | ! Report

        It’s probably the fairest international competition in the world. The leading country gives the other teams almost 150 players. Some who have even played for Australia in the past.

      • Roar Guru

        November 14th 2017 @ 10:23am
        spruce moose said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:23am | ! Report

        Is this the same Chris who is on the football tab?

    • November 14th 2017 @ 7:05am
      Andrew said | November 14th 2017 @ 7:05am | ! Report

      Mate, if that deserves 7 weeks as you suggest, then there would have been 20-30 seven week suspensions in 2017.
      It was very, very different from the McLean tackle as there was no driving force which increases the chance of injury.
      A week for the dangerous position would have been fine but whatever. Don’t go losing any sleep over it, Tim Mannah didn’t and he was the one tackled not you.

      • November 14th 2017 @ 7:15am
        Maestro said | November 14th 2017 @ 7:15am | ! Report

        Yeah but that means the tackle will still remain a blight on the game..

      • Roar Guru

        November 14th 2017 @ 8:14am
        Jason Hosken said | November 14th 2017 @ 8:14am | ! Report

        If it takes 20-30 seven week suspensions to eliminate the spear then bring it on – you’d reckon the message would sink in well before that amount. The Woods outcome is evidence that concerns for player safety only become topical with injury.

        Mannah was needlessly positioned where there was high risk he may have been forcefully driven towards the ground – unintentional or otherwise. There’s no need for it.

        • Roar Guru

          November 14th 2017 @ 8:20am
          Sleiman Azizi said | November 14th 2017 @ 8:20am | ! Report

          “…player safety only become topical with injury.”

          Spot on.

          I appreciate that Woods may not have been suspended for weeks on end. But to escape no suspension at all, even a token one or two weeks is mind boggling.

        • November 14th 2017 @ 10:23am
          MAX said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:23am | ! Report

          Agreed 100%, Jason.

          I am tipping Canterbury to make the 8 in 2018.

          The team revival depends on the fearsome duo of Woods and Klemmer
          being on the paddock. They are now on notice before season kick off.

          • November 14th 2017 @ 10:34am
            qwetzen said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:34am | ! Report

            “The team revival depends on the fearsome duo of Woods and Klemmer”

            Yep, they’ve certainly terrorised Qld. Fearsomely…

            • November 14th 2017 @ 7:53pm
              Jacko said | November 14th 2017 @ 7:53pm | ! Report

              Is Qld a NRL side now?

          • Roar Guru

            November 14th 2017 @ 11:05am
            spruce moose said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:05am | ! Report

            “Fearsome duo of Woods and Klemmer.”

            The funniest comment on this website this year.

            I would fear Hans Moleman before I fear Aaron Woods.

            • November 14th 2017 @ 11:47am
              MAX said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:47am | ! Report

              spruce, Please ‘Pay’ attention to their progress in 2018.

            • November 14th 2017 @ 1:22pm
              Raugeee said | November 14th 2017 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

              Klemmer is a top shelf Rep player, but Woods is lucky to get a first grade run.

              • Roar Guru

                November 14th 2017 @ 2:17pm
                spruce moose said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:17pm | ! Report


                Woods is – by a near undefinable margin – the most overrated player in the game.

                MAX – if the Bulldogs make 8 next year, it won’t be because of Woods.

          • Roar Guru

            November 14th 2017 @ 9:43pm
            Jason Hosken said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:43pm | ! Report

            I don’t mind Klemmer MAX, he’s beginning to grow on me. At the moment the season is too long for him. He’s still got plenty of time on his side and with age I expect his intensity to last longer as the years progress.

        • November 14th 2017 @ 2:40pm
          Albo said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

          Can’t agree with you on this one Jason. As far as I could see with that tackle it was the combination of tacklers ( Woods lifting up legs as Hunt is pulling down from his torso?) that quickly placed Mannah into a wrong and potentially dangerous position, whereby every effort was immediately made by Woods to ensure that Mannah was held up and gently lowered to avoid any danger. There was no intent to endanger Mannah, there was no resultant injury inflicted on Mannah and Woods was penalised for nearly causing a problem. Good enough, I say. I’m no great Woods fan, but I couldn’t rub him out for that tackle, otherwise potentially every two or three man tackle can be turned into a dangerous tackle looking for an infringer to rub out.

          • Roar Guru

            November 14th 2017 @ 2:56pm
            Adam said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

            Intent should not determine the outcome of a suspension. Sure, guys probably don’t mean to take someone’s head off. Sia Soliola from all reports, from Tim Gore, is a top bloke and would not have intended that. But it happened. When do you think League will start to punish on outcomes – or very near outcomes?
            If a guy bounces up from the lifting tackle is it really any worse than one where the guy stays down?

          • Roar Guru

            November 14th 2017 @ 2:58pm
            Jason Hosken said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

            Well reasoned Albo and I get your point. Our views are different on the build up to the dangerous position, so be it, play on. Cheers mate

    • November 14th 2017 @ 7:07am
      Greg Ambrose said | November 14th 2017 @ 7:07am | ! Report

      It’s a part of the game I don’t enjoy at all. The attacker is stopped and just needs to be allowed to play the ball. It’s not hard to understand why they are then mauled and with one of their legs dragged away in an attempt to separate it from the carcass like the drumstick on a Tegel number 19 or launched into the atmosphere and slammed down hard. Clearly it gives the defending team great dominance but I believe one day they will need to stop this hyena attack on players who have the added disadvantage of having to hold onto the ball. Maybe till then they need more team mates to help them in the wrestle?

      Sure it’s part of the game but it isn’t a good part of it just like the scrums of past days had to be banished. Maybe they should ban players who have their momentum stopped from being further mauled , it’s just getting too much I reckon.

    • November 14th 2017 @ 8:29am
      Mark said | November 14th 2017 @ 8:29am | ! Report

      Klemmer’s shoulder into a Lebanon opponent knocking him into next week, also unpunished from what I’ve seen, was also disgraceful. The Roos, as the top RL side in the world by a long way and for a long time, have a responsibility to play the game in the right spirit, especially against tiers 2 and 3. Sadly they’re falling short a bit too often of late. On a positive, good on you Tonga. Thrown the RLWC a lot more open than it was last Friday …

    • November 14th 2017 @ 8:57am
      Kevin said | November 14th 2017 @ 8:57am | ! Report

      Does malice have to be a consideration for a send off ..ie I don’t for a second think woods was doing it deliberately…but does that excuse it being outrageously dangerous ..

      I never thought Morley tried to take heads off…but he paid the price for those loose tackles.

      Btw agree with all comments on the rules/decisions going the way of the big guys in this wc ..tragic!

      • November 14th 2017 @ 9:17am
        Billy said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:17am | ! Report

        Yes it does. If dangerous actions were a reason to send someone off then the game would be finished after 3minutes, because hitting it up is dangerous, tackling is dangerous, going up for a bomb is dangerous, packing into a scrum is dangerous.

        It got into a dangerous position and he pulled up. If a defender lines up to tackle someone, realises he is going to hit him high, so adjusts at the last minute and avoids a high tackle, should he be banished till the end of man kind?

        Back to Salem witch hunters.

        • Roar Guru

          November 14th 2017 @ 9:45am
          Jason Hosken said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

          What about a reflex response ending in a stiff arm tackle, plenty dismissed for that without malice.

          I agree Woods showed no malice but he took the wrong option basically once Mannah’s progressed had stopped. Maybe next time the recovery mission won’t be a success, then what?

        • November 14th 2017 @ 11:46am
          David C said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report

          “packing into a scrum is dangerous”. In rugby league? You’re kidding, right?

          • November 14th 2017 @ 2:47pm
            Albo said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

            In fact it can be dangerous. For the odd occasion a team decides to actually push in the scrum to catch the other off guard ! Then it can become extremely dangerous to the other unaware & relaxed pack with their heads bowed into a sudden pushing force of weight !

      • November 14th 2017 @ 12:48pm
        Daniel said | November 14th 2017 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

        One example, Gary Larson was sent off for a spear tackle, and everyone who knows how he play, knew there was no malice, one of the fairest forwards to play the game, and one off the first to rack up 40 tackles game after game. Whether malice or not Woods shoukd off been in the Bin, it was classic spear tackle, no malice but now his crime goes unpunished, what does this teach our Juniors???

        • November 14th 2017 @ 4:10pm
          Andrew said | November 14th 2017 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

          Well if they are consistent they should have sent him off then….. When was that tackle… 1994?
          And I will help you out – He got a week not seven

          • Roar Guru

            November 14th 2017 @ 9:48pm
            Jason Hosken said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:48pm | ! Report

            Lomax sent off in the same match – before Far Side – only to miss the GF.. Felt bad for him as the boys completed the victory lap…the lime green jumper and blue jeans was even a bad look in ’94.

    • November 14th 2017 @ 9:03am
      Big Daddy said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

      Maybe we should change name from kangaroos to koalas .There a protected species aren’t they.

      • Roar Guru

        November 14th 2017 @ 9:14am
        Jason Hosken said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

        yep, and they’re precariously positioned for an uncomfortable fall to the turf.

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