A plea to keep shoulder charges

Nicholashugo Roar Pro

By Nicholashugo, Nicholashugo is a Roar Pro

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    So I am writing this while still in a daze through a combination of recklessness, a steep slope, and a skateboard that landed on the back of my head on the pavement, resulting in what’s commonly known as a concussion.

    It was a scary experience; I found myself disorientated and my limbs numb moments after the fall, and it was minutes after that I was only able to get up on my feet.

    My mates, who just so happen to be medicine students, were terrified at first, then they got excited and started to discuss amongst themselves. All I heard were words like instant death and hemorrhaging; not how I planned to spend my Sunday night.

    This got my remaining operating brain cells thinking, is the NRL on the right path attempting to progressively phase out the shoulder charge era?

    Sports codes around the world have been taking a more active role in regards to concussion concerns; they now understand that concussion is a major contributor to later severe brain damage and in a bid to protect themselves from a class lawsuit, they are taking a straight lined approach in preventing head injuries.

    I can understand why some sports need to proactively ban certain concussion inducing tackling techniques; after all, players these days are bigger, faster, stronger, more athletic, and the impact when they run into each other is on a different magnitude as it was back in the day.

    But should rugby league get rid of shoulder charges? I was sold for a second, being someone who just got concussed. But then I realised why I love playing both codes of rugby; the fun part is just giving an opponent a solid shot.

    Bone crunching tackles are what players aim for; it’s basically the equivalent of a dunk in basketball, it’s a statement to your teammates, your opponents and people who are watching.

    We might come off like Chris Sandow at times, but when we pull them off, it’s the best feeling in the world to hear the gasps.

    See rugby league was designed to be gasp inducing; the lack of rucking, mauling and scrumming allows for a high-octane offense; shoulder charges are legal because as far as entertainment goes, a player in full speed running into a shoulder can hardly be topped.

    It’s the identity of the sport; without it, players might as well play a game of touch footy instead. Shoulder charge is what makes Souths players feel like they are Russell Crowe’s fellow gladiators; it is what gives a small guy like Sandow the irrational confidence to against all odds, induce fear amongst physically bigger players; it is how Greg Inglis declares to opponents that ‘you shall not pass’.

    There will be injuries inflicted by shoulder charges, which come hand in hand with the sport, but players knew what they sign up for when they run onto the field.

    The sport should instead focus on outlawing other aspects of the game that not only contribute to severe injuries but are fundamentally in conflict with the spirit of the game.

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    The Crowd Says (19)

    • July 31st 2012 @ 4:03am
      Johnno said | July 31st 2012 @ 4:03am | ! Report

      -I think for mine grass technology or astro turf technology have to be seriously looked at in improving if possible.
      -Coz you think about some those incidents in the news where street fights have happened and the victim has died not from the hit but from hitting the hard concrete ground on there head. That is why Ice Hockey concussions are so dangerous, on hard ice, and on that fibre glass boards.

      -The late DR Victor Chang the doctor who died in the 1990’s in Australia was shot in the head. But he did not in fact die from the gun shot wounds to the head. The remarkable thing was the human body is so complex that certain parts of the head the skull are stronger than others he actually would of lived it did not hit specific parts of his skull that cause death. What Dr Victor Chang died from was hitting his head on the hard concrete not the bullets remarkably so. So if he was shot on soft grass he would be here today almost certainly unless his attackers shot him again knowing he was still conscious.
      So head trauma is often about specific parts where the blow lands and secondary impacts straight after a hit eg like concrete or hard ice floor in ice hockey, or hard wood floor in basketball.

      -So ban cricket pitches on footy fields eg like at the gabba, and if the shoulder charge is too stay have the grass or astro turf extra soft or lush. Or bring in gridiron helmets.

    • July 31st 2012 @ 8:51am
      turbodewd said | July 31st 2012 @ 8:51am | ! Report

      1. There is nothing wrong with the shoulder charge, but if you attack someone’s head you should be penalise and receive a suspension just like Inglis did. 3 weeks for his hit on Young seems fair to me. Inglis should have effected a normal tackle, it would have been massive and bumped the ball loose.

      2. If we are serious about head trauma we should make headgear compulsory. I mean every 3rd week we see a shocking head clash. Some idiots might think it would make our players soft…riiight…so how about your raise your kids and give them zero immunisation so they dont get raised as soft.

    • July 31st 2012 @ 9:53am
      mushi said | July 31st 2012 @ 9:53am | ! Report

      Head gear is only going to work if it covers the jawline and the cheekbones, this cuts down your field of vision.

      • July 31st 2012 @ 11:51am
        Gareth said | July 31st 2012 @ 11:51am | ! Report

        But it would look pretty hilarious, like when Joel Thompson got mummified last year.

    • July 31st 2012 @ 11:56am
      Hamish said | July 31st 2012 @ 11:56am | ! Report

      And I played Rugby all those years thinking it was about getting hold of the ball rather than trying to nail my opponent…

    • Roar Guru

      July 31st 2012 @ 12:33pm
      steve b said | July 31st 2012 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

      As most know who are regulars on the roar my feelings about the shoulder charge ,,but if we are to keep it,,, the penalty for going to the head must be big and keep it consistent ,,so as to keep the guys thinking about putting it on right or just not trying it at all ..

      • July 31st 2012 @ 1:42pm
        Johnno said | July 31st 2012 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

        Maybe ramp it up to 10-20 weeks for Inglis shot, that would make him think twice saw with some of Frank Pritchard’s hit. You gotta get tough 3 weeks is just a nice rest to freshen up where as 10-20 weeks will really hurt you as you may even have your contract torn up. Get tough, people do notice and do react. Many Asian nations have the death penalty for drug possession of certain illegal drugs yes drugs possession, Malaysia is one . Singapore and Thailand are very tough on drug trafficking. And Australian was executed in singapore for heroin trafficking in 2005. So you get tough people think twice about breaking the law in tough nations like singapore. That is why I think things this is my personal opinion but things like speeding tickets or parking tickets should get 5 years jail or drink driving 10 years. Why it gets people to behave, a casual fine or or good behaviour bond doesn’t phase most people. But if you go out to the footy or have an extra drink at a party, you will think twice about having that extra drink if you know you are facing 10 years jail for drink driving.

        Where as with footy suspensions too, 3 weeks for a hit to the head that in regular society would be deemed assault to cause grevious bodily harm. Can you imagine the public uproar if some one hit someone like that in Kings cross the way GI hit dean young.
        There would be an outrage, instead 3 weeks off to freshen up for the final series. So soft. Australia could learn a lot from countries like SIngapore, and Malaysia and thailand and Indonesia about getting tough and not tolerating nonsense.

    • July 31st 2012 @ 6:27pm
      Gleeso said | July 31st 2012 @ 6:27pm | ! Report

      Keep shoulder charge legal but emphasis that the onus is on the defender to stay away from the head in execution – so that even if it is accidental (ie the ball carrier falls) it is still an offense to contact the head during a shoulder charge with a suspension to follow.

      • August 8th 2012 @ 1:23pm
        moses said | August 8th 2012 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

        talking to my grandfayher the other day about the shoulder charge him and his mates and i agree wat they were saying that whoever does it r cowards they used it in there day so did i but we used our arm or both which is more effected if any one in the nrl wats to learn how to tackle properly i will teach them how to shoulder tackle no seriously no one knows how to tackle these days players like ingliss and co just were not taught properly when they were young must of been stupid coaches wat do u think only reply if u know how to tackle properly

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