Leading NRL doctor wants shoulder charge banned

It has been a hotly contested topic of date, and now, the call to rub it out of the game as increased – with former Bulldogs and Australian doctor Hugh Hazard, calling for the NRL to ban the shoulder charge from the game.

The debate rages on, following the hit from Broncos forward Ben Te’o on Tigers prop Matt Groat – with some fans believing that it was a solid hit, and a legal one – whereas others believe that it was a bad hit, and one that should see Te’o suspended for a couple of weeks.

Hazard, who was at the Bulldogs during the time of Sonny Bill Williams, a man who made the shoulder charge what it is today, says that the risk it are far too high.

”It’s just going out to try to hurt someone and it’s not the basic premise of the game,” Hazard said yesterday.

”I believe the shoulder charge should be [banned] like in rugby union – I don’t think we need it. If you miss, you look like an idiot. If you connect and connect high, you can do some serious damage to your opponent or to yourself.

”I wouldn’t have any problem if they banned it, as a personal view.”

The debate this year has raged on, since Frank Pritchard was suspended for two weeks in Rd 1, for a shoulder charge that made contact with the head.

For a long time, Hazard advised Williams to get the shoulder charge out of his game.

”I certainly advised him not to continue to do it – not that he took any notice,” Hazard said. ‘

‘He liked the idea but he damaged the shoulder through the shoulder charge. But you can also get sternum injuries and rib cartilage injuries as a result of it.”

Although are prevalent dangers regarding the shoulder charge, the NRL has no plans at all to ban the shoulder charge all together.

”There are things in place to deal with illegal contact with the head,” the NRL’s chief medico, Ron Muratore, said.

”There’s an element of risk in all tackles and in the game in general, but obviously you want to keep the risk to a minimum. There are rules to protect the players and their heads and those who transgress will be punished.”

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