Crackdown will impact NRL finals: Friend

Sydney Roosters skipper Jake Friend believes the NRL’s crackdown on shoulder charges will have a huge impact on this year’s finals series.

Six players were charged by the match review committee for the no-arm hit on Monday, bringing the total number of charges to nine since the governing body toughened its laws on the illegal tackle.

Among them was Friend’s teammate Aidan Guerra, who faces two weeks on the sideline for his shot on Parramatta’s Peni Terepo.

Asked if the heavy crackdown would wreak havoc on this year’s finals, Friend said: “Definitely. It’s going to be tough to lose (Guerra).

“He’s one of our edge backrowers and he’s been playing really well. He’s an Origin player, so he’s a player you want in your team.”

Already Manly have lost the services of prop Willie Mason for two weeks after his innocuous shoulder charge on South Sydney’s Thomas Burgess, and are now set to be without winger Jorge Taufua for a similar incident against Canberra.

Friend said if the NRL continues its hardline stance on the outlawed tackle, then it will play a significant role in September.

“At this time in the year, it will impact the finals if it keeps going this way,” he said.

The Roosters hooker hoped the NRL would recognise there were unavoidable instances where a player would brace for contact in a collision and it would look like a shoulder charge.

“It’s just common sense,” he said.

“Maybe some ex-players that have played footy, they’re the ones that can determine the difference than people that have never played the game.

“Hopefully whatever way they go, it’s consistently ruled upon and no-one can feel like they’ve been unfairly treated.”

The Roosters host ladder leaders Brisbane in a top-of-the-table clash on Saturday night and are again likely to be without star winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

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