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Geoff Parkes

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Joined October 2012

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Geoff is a Melbourne based sports fanatic and writer, who started contributing to The Roar in 2012, originally under the pen name Allanthus. His first book, A World in Conflict; the Global Battle For Rugby Supremacy was released in Dec 2017 to critical acclaim. For details on the book visit www.geoffparkes.com Meanwhile, his twin goals of achieving a single figure golf handicap and owning a fast racehorse remain tantalisingly out of reach.

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Precisely.

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

The Dogs turn over more than $120m per annum, BD.
$20k is a parking ticket.

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

As I mentioned on Monday, it’s an excellent point robbo, yet I’m not sure in all of the discussion in NZ, that it’s been picked up on as an important factor.

Super Rugby tipping panel Week 9: Golden point

Shame, I enjoy a bit of Austrian swimming.

Super Rugby tipping panel Week 9: Golden point

Gee, you’ve had a bad run mate. Lucky you don’t support the Tahs, that would be too much!

All the best.

Super Rugby tipping panel Week 9: Golden point

That’s a lot of fleas, Riccardo.

Not sure the Force are actually “firing”, but I agree, they do seem the right tip this week.

Super Rugby tipping panel Week 9: Golden point

It’s only a sample of four weeks, so I’d say it’s too little to be drawing any conclusions on that, one way or the other, Brandon.

But yes, (without wishing to open up arguments about how Melbourne coach their players in tackling techniques) it is logical to expect some clubs to be better at coaching tackle technique than others, just as they might be better than other clubs at coaching other aspects of the game.

This is exactly the type of thing that could be discussed and examined if the NRL felt inclined to hold a summit on concussion. They already have their own medical researchers working on this in Newcastle.

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

Good post Tiger, thx for reading and commenting.

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

The thing is BD, with respect to head high contact and foul play, the rules are already in place.

As for the emphasis that is placed on some seemingly more trivial issues, and not on concussion, you’re dead right. It’s the same reason why, when someone is clocked in the head, the discussion tends to focus more on the fairness or unfairness of what happens to the offender.

That’s unfortunately symptomatic of the culture of the sport and indicative of how the thinking needs to change if rugby league is actually going to do anything to combat the concussion problem.

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

Absolutely the clubs need to play a role, Brendon.

But it’s an issue for the whole game, to do with the culture of the game (as identified by Stevo, above), and in the first instance, it’s up to those running the game to take responsibility for owning the issue honestly, and to put in place a plan to drive change that will ensure the game is made much safer, without losing its identity and essence.

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

The contact to Mann’s chin is from Ravalawa’s raised forearm, Nat.

There are tens of thousands of people in rugby league and who follow rugby league who wonder what all the fuss is about, or believe that high contact is being managed as it should. And if you’re one of those, that’s your perogative, you go for your life.

But you can rest assured, however long it takes, one way or another, rugby league is going to be bought into line with community and medico-legal expectations.

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

It’s interesting that you mention the Cody Walker/Nick Meaney incident, Don. That piece of outright thuggery was described on the Fox Sports website as a “lazy elbow”.

Just that comment on its own tells us all we need to know about where the culture of the game is with regard to head injuries and foul play.

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

Approaching US$1 billion and counting, Farmer.
I’ve seen credible projections which estimate, at the current going rate of individual settlements for different conditions, the full cost will top out at close to US$5 billion.

If the NRL thinks something similar can’t happen here, they are kidding themselves.

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

That’s simply untrue, Nat. This article cites two recent examples where forceful contact to the head didn’t even bring a penalty, and there are countless others.

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

“I don’t think its as simple as saying the NRL need to do better.”

Absolutely it is Brendon. They run the game. They have a big headquarters full of people. They can easily act on this if they want to.

To answer your question, it’s running at about 2 to 1 in terms of players injured while tackling, versus players who are victims of foul play. Anyone can trawl through the NRLPhysio Twitter site, to see an account of all of the injuries.

It’s not an either/or proposition. The NRL is fully capable of addressing the causes of concussion to tackling players AND victims of foul play, simultaneously. It just needs to want to do it.

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

One thing Covid has taught us Paul, is where the lines of responsibility between federal and state actually lie. It’s been a major eye-opener for many people to realise just how much power and jurisdiction the states actually have.

If we agree that this is a safety issue requiring somebody step in to save the NRL from itself, then that responsibility clearly lies with SafeWork NSW, under the NSW State government.

You may or may not know that over the last year or so Worksafe Victoria has carried out multiple investigations into the AFL on the concussion issue. The outcomes have yet to be made public although it is my understanding that via an FOI request, we may well be hearing something on that within a few weeks.

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

“I think the broader issue with head knocks in rugby league is the cultural acceptance that the head is a legitimate target.”

Strong comment, Stevo. This needs to change before anything else can work.

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

John/Nat,

The SCAT5 test that is used has a requirement that it cannot be completed in less than ten minutes. Other than that, it’s up to doctor conducting the test whether to pass or fail the player, based on their responses and behaviours.

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

“it will take a tragedy to force change to concussion and arresting player behaviour.”

Unfortunately I don’t think this is far from the truth, Don. In recent times we’ve seen deaths involving high contact in rugby league in Queensland and NSW competitions. It’s not inconceivable that something similar will occur in the NRL, and that will become rugby league’s ‘Phil Hughes’ moment.

Surely it’s in everyone’s interest to recognise this and act on it before it happens, not after?

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

I’m definitely against the replacement of a red carded player after twenty minutes, Nat, and nothing I’ve seen so far this year has changed my mind.

Two clarifications about this – it’s got nothing at all to do with concussion, it’s simply a matter of allowing a sent off player to be replaced after 20 mins, whatever the reason for the send off. The other point is that this is an experimental law variation for Super Rugby only at this stage, and not ratified in law by World Rugby. Whether this happens or not remains to be seen.

As for Mehrts, he’s a commentator on Stan/Nine’s team, a decent and popular guy, but it would be stretching things to say he had any weight or influence above any other commentator on the game. I haven’t heard what he said but if his view was to water down sanctions for high contact I’d strongly disagree with him and suspect that most people in the game would disagree as well.

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

Hear what you’re saying Paul, but I think we’re kidding ourselves if we have any expectation that politicians are going to drive action or solutions here.

The federal minister for sport is Tasmanian senator, Richard Colbeck; the opposition shadow is SA senator, Don Farrell. Excuse me if I’m doing them a disservice, but there is nothing in the background of either to suggest that what you’re talking about is a chance of ever happening. The NSW minister for sport is Geoff Lee; my understanding is that he isn’t a natural fit for this portfolio.

In any case, in a broader sense, I see the issue as one of workplace safety, in which case the responsibility should reside with SafeWork NSW to hold the NRL to account.

At the end of the day, the NRL is a private business, the players are its employees, and it is really up to the NRL to take responsibility for ensuring a safe environment for its own employees.

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

What was most confounding about this Jacko, was that it was the players who jumped straight in and demanded it. ‘Our men are dropping like flies, don’t worry about addressing why, just give us more men!”

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

You might describe the links as “tenuous” Nat, but I and the medical experts would disagree.

You are right to say that it isn’t my job to come up with solutions. Put me on Abdo’s salary, or the boss of SafeWork NSW and I’ll gladly give you all the solutions you want. I get paid to do other things, these people get paid to fix this issue.

That said, I understand your general point, and in the coming weeks you will see a series of articles looking at this issue from different angles, including proposed fixes. But remember this, whatever the detail, the biggest and first fix that is required, in order for any meaningful change to occur, is that people in the game – administrators, coaches, players, referees, fans, media/broadcasters – all have to accept and want the culture of the game to change.

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem

😂

Get your questions in for Issue 8 of Coach's Corner

Very good point, Christo. The number of 12 is painted as a ‘low’ number only because it was set against everyone’s expectation and understanding that the real number was double this or more.

But as you point out, even by their own measurement, it still represents a statistically significant increase on previous years, and isn’t a low number at all.

How the NRL fixed the concussion problem