Rugby league tackles the shoulder charge  head on

IT’S a big hit with fans, but the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) has outlawed the shoulder charge for the 2013 NRL season.

The NRL accepted a recommendation from the ARLC that the charge had too much potential for serious injury.

The decision has been met with mixed response from different league legends, and even our very own group 10 secretary Peter McDonald is unfazed by the decision.

He told the Central Western Daily yesterday that Group 10 would follow suit and ban the charge for the coming season.

“If the NRL ban it, it’ll flow on down the ranks into most country leagues,” he said.

“It’s been banned in our under 18 competition for years, so now it’s just a natural progression up into the senior ranks.

“I guess anything that involves player safety has to be a good thing, but there wasn’t many shoulder charges in our league anyway.”

And Mr McDonald won support from Orange Hawks president John Hill, who had mixed emotions about the decision.

“It is a very exciting part of our game and has been since 1908 when it started,” he said.

“I guess it’s not that exciting for the bloke being hit, so I can understand the decision from that point of view.

“If it’s done legally I have absolutely no problem with it, but if you get it wrong there are serious repercussions.

“I’m happy to see it stop. And locally, we very seldom see it. We have much more trouble with swinging arms and high tackles than what we do with shoulder charges.

“So we’ll accept the decision and move on and play footy.”

Some of the game’s biggest names have blasted the NRL in the past week for making the decision.

Parramatta coach Ricky Stuart, Bulldogs legend Hazem El Masri, St George coach Steve Price and Cronulla leader Shane Flanagan are among some of the big names to speak out about the ban.

“I’m actually a fan of the shoulder charge, but I’m also a believer in player safety and welfare - we want to see young kids playing the game,” Steve Price said.

“I’m sure if they had made harsher penalties for contact with the head, that would have been a deterrent to players in the future.”

Ricky Stuart said yesterday he was still hopeful, but not confident, the league would overturn its decision by the start of  the season.

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