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NRL NRL updates shoulder charge rules

The National Rugby League has clarified its stance on shoulder charges following the death of James Ackerman.

  • Published:
play (Omni Sports)

Shoulder charges in the National Rugby League (NRL) will result in a charge from the Match Review Committee from this weekend, the association has confirmed.

Such tackles were banned in the competition last season but the issue has surfaced again following the death of James Ackerman in June.

Ackerman suffered a head injury during a Sunshine Coast Falcons match in June following a challenge from North Devils' Francis Molo and later died.

Molo was given an eight-game ban by the NRL but confusion remained as players were allowed to escape charge if there was "no forceful movement of the head or neck".

Sydney Roosters forward Kane Evans' challenge on Sam Kasiano of Canterbury also provoked further debate last week.

However, the NRL's head of football Todd Greenberg said any such tackle, with force, would result in an automatic charge.

"We need to be clear about this... we cannot allow player welfare to be put at risk by shoulder charges," he said in an NRL statement.

"A player carrying the ball cannot protect himself properly against the force of a shoulder charge.

"We have seen this type of tackle have tragic consequences recently and the NRL has an obligation to put player safety first.

"Anyone found guilty of using a shoulder charge with force will be suspended for at least one match.

"So there will be a real incentive for players and coaches to ensure that shoulder charges are taken out of the game."

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