Should The Shoulder Charge Be Banned?

Rugby League is coming under increasing pressure to outlaw the shoulder charge lately. The reasons are all fairly logical, but will outlawing the shoulder charge take away a valuable part of a player’s/team’s defensive strategy?

Greg Eastwood puts a shot on

As an ex-player it felt good to connect (correctly) with a shoulder charge and put the opposition on the back foot. It also helps get the adrenalin flowing not only for you, but your team and supporters. However, more often than not the contact is not perfect and looks messy, even dangerous to the supporters. Lean in too early and you risk raising the elbow into the face of your opponent. Try to make contact too late and then it becomes dangerous for you. The margin of success is small whereas the margin for error is huge.

Players are getting bigger, stronger and faster every year and ‘normal’ collisions contain more energy than before. If all that energy is channeled into a shoulder charge which goes wrong the results can be sickening. Then factor in players which have fantastic footwork which they didn’t┬ánecessarily┬áhave ten or fifteen years ago. If someone side-steps the defender as the shoulder charge is about to be made the defender is made to looks stupid at best, or injures the attacker at worst.

If the shoulder charge is outlawed teams and officials will need to have a firm directive as to what classes as a shoulder charge and what doesn’t. It’s going to get pretty annoying seeing players sin-binned and put on report for questionable tackles. The officials also need to be consistent in how they apply the rule, although that could be said in general too!

My thoughts?

It will be a shame to see the shoulder charge outlawed, but it’s one that makes perfect sense and will help protect the players. It’s a no-brainer.

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