The decision by the National Rugby League judiciary in giving New South Wales five-eighth Josh Reynolds the green light to play is sending the opposite message that the governing body conveyed on April 6 in the wake of Alex McKinnon’s injury.
We bought you the official statement from the NRL about the crackdown:
NRL Head of Football, Mr Todd Greenberg, said that, from this weekend, any player involved in a dangerous lifting tackle on an opponent could expect to be charged – unless they pulled out of it quickly.
Let’s look at the tackle on Brent Tate that Reynolds and Beau Scott were involved in. Scott is the forgotten man in the tackle, even though his contribution to the tackle resulted in the Maroon ending up in the position he did. There’s no doubt that Reynolds lifted Tate. It can be argued as to whether the tackle at the point where Reynolds lifted him as to whether it was ‘dangerous’. But it was the actions of Scott in tackling around the chest that twisted Tate and therefore made the tackle ‘dangerous’. Could it have been a matter of the wrong player being charged, or that both players needed to be charged?
The reaction to the Reynolds and Scott tackle has been the main talking point out of the first Origin game. It’s been well documented that Tate feared that he would become the next Alex McKinnon. I think that’s open for debate with Tate’s comments drawing criticism from Greg Bird in particular. Bird missed Origin I for a lifting tackle that could be argued to be similar to the Tate tackle. One only has to go back to that game where Cameron Smith questioned on field the decision by the officials about the McKinnon tackle. Wonder now if Smith regrets making those on-field comments to the refs in light of the Tate tackle.
It’s interesting that Shane Webcke and Trevor Gillmeister have both come out and said the tackle was an accident but the tackle should still be punished. I agree. At the end of the day someone had to be suspended. If not Reynolds, then Scott and for a minimum of two matches. The gap in rulings between club footy and representative footy continues. Until the National Rugby League judiciary take a harsher line instead of making an example of Jordan McLean, another Alex McKinnon might be just around the corner. The cracks are appearing in the harsher stance towards the lifting tackle.