Gold Coast coach Neil Henry has joined North Queensland superstar Johnathan Thurston in urging the NRL to provide greater protection for kickers after playmaker Aidan Sezer suffered a potentially season-ending shoulder injury.
Sezer is expected to miss at least the next two weeks with a shoulder problem as a result of being smashed by Canterbury giant Sam Kasiano in Sunday’s 36-14 loss in Gosford.
Midway through the second half, the Titans five-eighth was crunched by Kasiano as he kicked downfield – and he went up the tunnel soon after.
It proved to be a turning point in the game as the Titans were left without a recognised playmaker, with Kane Elgey a late scratching after failing to overcome a hamstring problem.
The Titans worked themselves back to within six points after James Roberts scored with 20 minutes on the clock but with makeshift halves Josh Hoffman and Greg Bird calling the shots, the Dogs ran over the top of them with three late tries.
“It’s an area that’s been debated and we probably need to look at it a little bit,” Henry said.
“There’s a bit of a difference if the kicker’s going to the line to put a grubber through or something.
“But at the moment kickers are fair game for those sorts of things.”
Thurston, the Australian and Queensland champion and Cowboys captain, has appealed to the NRL to offer kickers greater protection after copping what he described as repeated late shots in his side’s loss to South Sydney on Thursday.
Henry said while under current rules he did not have a problem with Kasiano’s hit, he believes the laws should be tightened because kickers are often left in a vulnerable position.
“As long as you wrap your arms, which I think (Kasiano) did, they’re letting players do it,” Henry said.
“JT (Thurston) has talked about it. It’s one of those ones where he’s not going to the line to kick it and when you’ve got 126kg landing on a 85kg body, something’s going to give.
“(Sezer’s) shoulder moved a bit … He couldn’t use his arm and it wasn’t worth needling it.”