NRL shoulder charge gone for good: Bennett
Wayne Bennett says there’s no point talking about the shoulder charge because there is “zero” chance of it ever being permitted again in the NRL.
Debate surrounding the shoulder charge has hotted up this week after Roosters forward Kane Evans escaped sanction despite smashing Canterbury’s Sam Kasiano with a front-on hit last round.
Brisbane coach Bennett said on Thursday he was “disappointed” that Evans wasn’t charged but warned talk of bringing it back to the NRL was futile.
“The risk factor is too high. It’s never coming back, don’t even go down that path,” Bennett told reporters on Thursday.
“The ability to injure someone seriously goes with that high risk factor.”
Rugby league is still coming to terms with the death of James Ackerman, a Sunshine Coast footballer who died as a result of his injuries suffered in the Queensland Cup match between the Falcons and North Devils six weeks ago.
Bennett said he was not surprised to see key figures in the game, such as Peter Sterling and Cowboys coach Paul Green, declare their support for the shoulder charge and their desire to see it legalised once again.
“Everyone’s entitled to their opinion,” Bennett said.
“But the opinion that matters the most of all is the game’s and the game’s saying it’s not coming back and it won’t come back, and it won’t be in my lifetime or your lifetime that we’ll see it again, which is good.”
Bennett also reiterated his faith in the NRL’s new concussion guidelines, which have also come under the spotlight following South Sydney forward Kyle Turner’s most recent head knock.
Turner has suffered multiple concussions over the years but has been cleared by medics to play this weekend, despite suggestions the NRL is not doing enough to protect players from the dangers of head injuries.
“I think we’re doing the concussion law pretty good, we’re all very conscious of it,” Bennett said.
“The doctors are the ones who are most responsible and there’s no doctor I know that’s going to send a player back on the field if it jeopardises their health.
“I’m very confident in what’s happening here.”