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22 hours ago
South Sydney coach Shaun McRae reckons the "fear factor" of another lengthy suspension will help Luke MacDougall steer clear of the NRL judiciary next year.
McRae said it was the responsibility of himself and MacDougall to change the 23-year-old's tackling technique during the off-season to prevent a replay of his spear tackle on Sydney Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello.
MacDougall received a 10-match suspension after taking an early guilty plea to a grade five dangerous throw earlier this week.
"That fear factor in itself should provide us with a lot of ammunition for it not to happen again," said McRae.
"He knows he made a mistake. Nobody premeditates a tackle like that, it just happens.
"We've got to eliminate it from his defensive arsenal and have a different thought process go through his head.
"We don't walk away from the fact that he made a mistake and it was a very dangerous tackle.
"We have to take steps to correct that and obviously we've got a long time to do it.
"Luke fully understands the ramifications and the seriousness of what he's done."
MacDougall has been suspended twice for dangerous throws this year - a five-match ban resulting from a tackle on Melbourne pivot Scott Hill in round 10 and the Minichiello incident on Saturday night during a fiery local derby at Aussie Stadium.
"Twice this year he's put a player in a dangerous position and that, as far as I'm concerned, is two times too many," added McRae.
"The responsibility is on myself as a coach and the player to be more aware when it comes to decision-making."
McRae said he strongly doubted that MacDougall would be labelled a serial offender in the ugly area of spear tackles, which the NRL is heavily clamping down on.
Referees' coach Robert Finch yesterday admitted that whistleblower Russell Smith erred in not sending MacDougall off for his tackle on Minichiello, who was not hurt.
"Even though it's a dangerous throw you can't say it's deliberate," McRae argued.
"It's careless and reckless and it's poor technique but it's not a deliberate attempt to maim or disfigure someone.
"I don't think he'll get labelled for it."
The Rabbitohs have won five of their past six matches but go into Sunday's clash with North Queensland at Gosford missing some key personnel.
MacDougall and halfback Ben Walker are suspended while former skipper Bryan Fletcher suffered a broken hand in Souths' 17-16 victory over the Roosters.