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31 hours ago
NRL match review committee chairman Greg McCallum has no issue with his power to charge players over cheap shots despite Sydney Roosters hooker Riley Brown being cleared over his hit which will sideline Craig Wing until July.
Wing will undergo shoulder surgery on Tuesday while Brown will likely be named to play in Friday night's blockbuster against Brisbane after he was cleared of any wrongdoing for his late shoulder charge into Wing's back.
Brown was the third man into the tackle in a hit Souths coach Jason Taylor labelled a "cheap shot", but McCallum said he saw no problem with the Roosters hooker's actions.
"We had every opportunity to lay a charge of contrary conduct if we wanted to but the decision was based on the relevant rules," said McCallum, who admitted his committee spent two and a half hours analysing the tackle.
"The player (Wing) was not tackled and the referee hadn't called held ... therefore the player's entitled to finish the tackle in a legal way.
"Running in and knocking a player over with your shoulder is not illegal."
Asked whether the rules need to be amended to outlaw the practice of a third tackler coming in to finish off the job, McCallum said: "No-one likes players getting injured.
"And as far as the look goes, there's been a few of those tackles over the previous 10-15 years - none of them have had the outcome that this one did."
But Taylor fears the tackle could drive parents to stop their children playing the game.
"If I'm a mother, and I'm thinking about letting my kid play a sport where two blokes can hold you and someone else can smash you in the back, then I don't want my son to play that sport," Taylor told reporters.
For his part, Wing has yet to complain publicly about the hit which will sideline the former Test utility for at least three months.
While admitting it was a tactic the Roosters had trained during his time at the club, Wing said he didn't believe there was any malice in the hit, even admitting he was a fan of the shoulder charge.
"To tell the truth, I like seeing guys getting taken out with shoulder charges when they're running head on," he told Sydney radio station 2SM.
"I remember some great shots in the past.
"I suppose it's a different thing hitting someone in the back, but these things happen I guess."
That's little comfort to Souths fans, who will have to soldier on without their prized recruit for at least three months.
Wing was set to add the attacking spark the side sorely lacked in 2007, but they will now have to rely on young gun Eddie Paea to fill the No.7 jumper while Wing recovers from arthroscopic shoulder reconstruction to repair damaged ligaments and muscle tissue.
"I'm shattered that I need surgery, but to look on the bright side I'm told I should only miss three to four months of footy instead of what could have been five months, which is a positive," Wing said.
"I'm going to work hard to rehabilitate the injury after the surgery and make sure I'm 100 per cent fit for a return mid-season."
In other judiciary news, Wests Tigers prop Todd Payten was charged over a crusher tackle and faces a two-week ban with an early guilty plea, while Parramatta's Feleti Mateo can take on the New Zealand Warriors on Sunday with an early plea following a grapple tackle.