If anything, Josh Reynolds and Beau Scott should be thanked for putting the dangerous throw back under extreme scrutiny. The New South Wales pair have been in the spotlight since Wednesday night's Origin opener at Suncorp Stadium, in which the Blues stunned their Maroon counterparts 12-8.
But it's the 27th minute tackle on Queensland winger Brent Tate that has had everyone talking. As Tate ran the ball from dummy half, he was met in a terrifying tackle from Reynolds and Scott which saw the North Queensland Cowboy suplexed into the turf. Further review of the footage shows Scott hitting Tate around the chest before Reynolds drives in with shoulder and ultimately lifting the Maroon:
The ugly incident, after which Tate said he had never felt more frightened, saw both Blues charged by the Match Review Committee - Scott with a grade one and Reynolds with a grade two. Reynolds successfully challenged the judiciary last night, leaving Queenslanders seething and New South Welshman celebrating the release of their saviour.
The biggest issue at play here, for me anyway, is the absolute ignorance by the NRL and their crackdown on the dangerous tackles. When Melbourne Storm's Jordan McLean was suspended for seven games after a tackle on Alex McKinnon left the Newcastle Knight in a coma, the NRL came out and announced a crackdown on lifting tackles, with harsher penalties to face any player who put the ball carrier in a dangerous position.
Just weeks after the incident, the NRL's fan base is up in arms with the inconsistent nature of the comments and subsequent incidents, which saw Greg Bird's charge downgraded to miss just two games and Reynolds downgraded to a grade one, meaning he misses no games. What message is this supposed to send to players and fans? As the Reynolds incident has seemingly shown, any player with a clean record can just about spear tackle their opposite number without fear of suspension - provided the ball carrier escapes serious injury. It is an absolute mockery of the rules, and raises more questions than ever.
What the NRL need to do is step in, send a clear message and STICK TO IT. I'd would be supportive if David Smith or Todd Greenberg came out and said "this is the crackdown, anyone found guilty of putting players in a dangerous position will sit a minimum one week out".
In my ideal world, if a player is put in a dangerous position, all defenders involved in the tackle receive a minimum one-week ban, and the bans/gradings are identical. As it is now, and as was shown by that incident, two players involved in an illegal tackle can somehow receive different punishments. You can't get two blokes in a tackle and then argue over who had more of an impact - they're rugby league players, not physicists. The fact is, there's two blokes in the tackle, they've both contributed to the dangerous position, and they should both cop an equal penalty. If they have to make them harsh, make it harsh - let's ensure we are never faced with another McKinnon, and avoid other players forced to play with a turtle shell like our man Tate. It might make players think twice about lifting tackles, but more importantly, it will send a message to EVERYONE in the game, which could ultimately make the game safer.
Even though the dangerous tackle count is rare as it is, I'd expect the rate to go down even further, and we could even get a boost of participation at grassroots level as parents know something is being done.
VIDEO & IMAGE CREDIT: Channel 9Like