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.
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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.