Should I shoulder charge or not? Oops, too late!

Cameron Kellett Roar Guru

By Cameron Kellett, Cameron Kellett is a Roar Guru

 , , ,

13 Have your say

    Related coverage

    South Sydney Prop Sam Burgess, was put on report for a sickening high shot on Sydney Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce, which occurred in the 57th minute of the season opener on Friday.

    Although labeled by the commentators as not being a shoulder charge, it was an example of my prediction that players would naturally and instinctively use the shoulder charge as a form of roughing up an opposing team’s player.

    As I stated in my article, “(w)ith one of the most appealing aspects lost to the game, its absence could produce more concerns. With players clearly not yet adjusted to the rule change, I believe it will create confusion in defence.”

    “Players like Rose, Ben Te’o, Greg Inglis, Jarryd Hayne, Fui Fui Moi Moi will find its transition hard to grasp. I honestly believe when in defence, these players instinctively decide to shoulder charge.”

    “Unfortunately a re-think will now occur, thought will turn to the next logical solution of a tackle, but the position a player is in will aid a swinging arm across the chops.”

    Here is the shot laid out by Burgess on Pearce. You be the judge.

    While it’s definitely not your typical execution of a shoulder charge, the camera angles provided show a different story.

    In the video, Sam Burgess clearly comes rushing out of the line knowing Pearce is looking to fulfil a set play.

    In the split second decision he has made to rush up out of the line, no attempt to tackle him has been shown until the last second in-which he raises his left arm/forearm – thus the unfortunate re-think has occurred.

    Upon contact, the point of his shoulder has hit him very high and the swinging arm has followed, albeit the head had already been struck with the initial contact of the shoulder, thus leaving Pearce dazed and confused.

    This sickening shot could see Sam Burgess sidelined as any contact with the head in recent seasons has been deemed not acceptable by the judiciary.

    It was the way in which the shot occurred that has signified to me the sort of season us rugby league fans will have to endure due to the absence of the shoulder charge.

    I can only imagine more examples of this to come as the season progresses and unfortunately teams will be effected during some of the most testing times.

    Ensuring the message is drilled into these players that the shoulder charge is banned is vital to ensuring the best 17 players are kept on the park.

    So why was it banned?

    The Australian Rugby League Commission had accepted a recommendation to outlaw the shoulder charge from all competitions in 2013.

    “The Commission has reviewed a detailed report into the shoulder charge and accepted a management recommendation that the increased size of athletes was creating a situation where the shoulder charge could, if maintained, lead to an unacceptable injury.”

    The review demonstrated that:

    – shoulder charges made up 0.05% of the 142,355 tackles made in 2012

    – less than 4% of these resulted in injury to the attacking player and less than 1% to the defensive player

    – 17% resulted in contact with the head of the attacking player

    – players in the Telstra Premiership have grown over the decade from 2002 to 2012 to be on average 4kg heavier, 1.2cm taller and by measure of a superior Body Mass Index, stronger and more powerful

    – that the average G-force of the shoulder charge (measured from accelerometer data taken from GPS tracking) was 76% greater than a conventional head-on tackle (10.682 compared to 6.056).

    Should it come back already?

    According to the experts, any shoulder charge incidents that lead to concussions could potentially create cases for players to exploit the option of suing, so most likely not.

    How many of these shoulder charges will result in serious injury that could lead to potential law suits?

    I don’t believe the Australian rugby league is looking to find out.

    Do most NRL fans want it’s re-inclusion and a more stricter penalty applied if the shoulder charge is not used for the purpose it is meant to serve, thus resulting in a high shot?

    Hell yeah!

    What doesn’t the shoulder charge offer?

    Here’s to hoping a great season of rugby league eventuates. This will not be the last time we hear about the shoulder charge.

    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (13)

    • March 10th 2013 @ 8:05am
      Andy said | March 10th 2013 @ 8:05am | ! Report

      Still been some big hits/tackles in this weeks games, some i have found to be just as entertaining as a shoulder charge. Players that come out of the line to put a shot or big hit on have changed their technique a bit, but in some of the cases the contact is just as effective.

      • March 10th 2013 @ 9:22am
        B.A Sports said | March 10th 2013 @ 9:22am | ! Report

        I agree Andy. Some real good hits so far.
        I don’t think that was a shoulder charge anyway, it was just a patented lazy high shot from Sam Burgess.

        So far in 4 games there has been one penalty for a shoulder charge (in yesterdays Eels v Warriors match) and it was a pretty tame one. So i would disagree with your hypothesis that players will continue to do it on instinct.

    • March 10th 2013 @ 10:26am
      Chris morrison said | March 10th 2013 @ 10:26am | ! Report

      The more “sickening” shot was Jennings on beau champion. It’s funny how there’s no talk of that 1 though.

      Speaking of changing technique, I thought it was very interesting to watch sonny bill Williams lining up Sam burgess for a classic shoulder charge, he changed his mind at the last minute which resulted in him being trampled by the powerful pom. I think the rule change is really into most players minds.

      The shoulder charge from the warriors player that was penalised was pretty dumb football. Poor decisions like that are the reason why they won’t be a force this year or for how ever many years it takes for them to play smart football.

      Loving the footy back on

    • March 10th 2013 @ 11:14am
      mike from tari said | March 10th 2013 @ 11:14am | ! Report

      My opinion is that Burgess executed a good ball and all tackle on a smaller man who’s head hit the pectoral muscle, lucky he didn’t hit big George’s peck.

      • March 10th 2013 @ 1:08pm
        Ian Whitchurch said | March 10th 2013 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

        If the head is sacred, big man on little man tackles are always going to be a problem.

    • March 10th 2013 @ 11:00pm
      Rod said | March 10th 2013 @ 11:00pm | ! Report

      I agree Ian, I’m a bunnies fan, you can’t hit the head.its always going to be hard for players like Sam he is tall and the ultimate competitor. But you have to get it right.

    • March 10th 2013 @ 11:57pm
      Jz said | March 10th 2013 @ 11:57pm | ! Report

      How was that a shoulder charge ? just a good hit

    • March 11th 2013 @ 12:39am
      Kellett_1992 said | March 11th 2013 @ 12:39am | ! Report

      Cheers for the replies guys.

      This was not your typical shoulder charge nor did the connection look like a shoulder charge. I left it to “you be the judge.”

      The overall opinion I gave along with my description, matches this example provided. What sort of action is he/or was he trying to perform by running in like that without what seemed to be the intention to tackle?

      It was a last split second decision to raise his left arm and at which point it was too late. His shoulder made contact.

      Consider these questions:

      What sort of tackle is that called?
      When do players generally run in like that without a ball unless their intention is to shoulder charge?

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    , , ,