NRL rules out return of shoulder charge

The NRL has quashed any suggestion it may backflip on its shoulder charge ban, re-iterating that player safety remains the No.1 priority.

Sydney Roosters prop Kane Evans’ sensational shoulder charge of Canterbury’s David Klemmer sent the rugby league community aflutter on Friday night, re-opening the debate on the illegality of the tackle.

And while NRL head of football Todd Greenberg conceded that the collision made for “spectacular” viewing, the game’s stance was steadfast.

“It’s a bit like asking a referee to change his mind in the middle of a game – it’s not going to happen,” Greenberg told Triple M on Sunday.

“The rule’s in place for a reason and that reason’s relatively simple: It’s about player safety.

“Whilst I understand the shoulder charge looks fantastic sometimes and it’s spectacular, the facts are it has an extremely high propensity for that tackle to go wrong.

“The margin for error in a shoulder charge can be catastrophic and if it goes wrong, there are massive consequences.”

Greenberg also ruled out any changes to the no-punching rule, but admitted the governing body was reviewing the growing trend of players running in for minor scuffles.

He hoped next year’s introduction of the shot clock, aimed at increasing fatigue in the game, would force players to abandon the niggling tactics on the field, but left the door open for the return of the five-minute sin bin.

“We’re certainly not closing the door on that as an option,” he said.

“What I’d like to see is players change their behaviour, but if we need to put rules in place in order to make that happen, then we’ll do that.”

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