Round 4 kicked off last night with the Sydney Roosters overcoming traditional rivals South Sydney Ra...
5 hours ago
South Sydney captain Ashley Harrison is the first player to be charged in the NRL's grapple tackle crackdown - coincidentally while playing against the team which started it.
The 23-year-old lock earned a slice of history when he was slapped with two charges by the match review committee, including contrary conduct for unnecessary head-neck contact - or a grapple tackle.
In a strange coincidence, Harrison was charged playing against the team credited with sparking the crackdown - Melbourne.
Harrison has also been hit with a grade one dangerous throw and could be out for up to three weeks if found guilty of both charges.
In another major blow to the struggling Rabbitohs leading tryscorer Luke MacDougall faces up to seven weeks on the sidelines unless the winger successfully contests a grade four dangerous throw on Melbourne's Scott Hill.
Both charges stemmed from Souths' 38-12 defeat by Melbourne last Saturday night at Aussie Stadium - the Rabbitohs' fourth straight loss.
Souths will decide their pleas on Tuesday.
Harrison - still reeling from his Queensland Origin snub - was booked for the grapple tackle for his effort on Melbourne lock Dallas Johnson in the fourth minute.
The NRL last week issued a revised grapple tackle definition after Cronulla prop Jason Stevens complained in an April 30 game against Melbourne that he felt as if he had been "choked" by the Storm defence.
NRL referees coach Robert Finch, chief operating officer Graham Annesley and chief video reviewer Greg McCallum came up with the new definition.
It read: "Any unnecessary contact with the head or neck in effecting a tackle, particularly where there is a second movement to make contact with the head or neck involving a jerking, twisting or pinning action.
"This could occur either as a player is being tackled to the ground or after he is on the ground."
When the revised definition was issued, Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said: "Every time the grapple tackle comes up, we're on the back page.
"What it means now is that if we break the rules, if anyone breaks the rules, you can be charged or you're going to get penalised."
Meanwhile, Canberra's frustration at Sunday's 32-26 home loss to Cronulla will heighten unless captain Simon Woolford can successfully contest a careless high tackle charge.
Woolford, who has had five similar offences in the past two years, faces up to three weeks out if found guilty.
The NRL judiciary results just in,
Ashley Harrison Rabbitohs Contrary conduct - unnecessary head/neck contact Guilty - early plea 1 week Ashley Harrison Rabbitohs Dangerous throw Guilty - early plea 1 week Luke MacDougall Rabbitohs Dangerous throw Guilty - early plea 5 weeks Simon Woolford Raiders High tackle - careless Guilty - early plea 2 weeks