There aren’t too many dirty players in the modern NRL game. Certainly nothing like 20 or 30 years ago where you had the odd thug or two running around looking to kill someone on a weekly basis.
A dirty player these days is considering so on a different basis. Unable to get away with stiff arms, spear tackles or fighting – the dirty men have to be a bit more covert to get away with their unruly tactics.
Paul Gallen with his performance against the Gold Coast Titans on the weekend has probably come as close as possible to being the dirtiest player in the NRL. After the head clash between Paul Gallen and Anthony Laffranchi – the attempt by Gallen to scratch at the wound and cause more grief to Laffranchi is a pretty sad effort. What would it achieve? Ok, so Laffranchi had to leave the field again for a few minutes as blood poured out and the Sharks may have enjoyed a minor rest from a solid Titans forward.
Was it worth it? Absolutely not. Already skating on thin ice, it immediately portrayed Gallen as a poor sport and showed everyone how low he would stoop to get one up on his opponent. Do players not realise that there are over 20 different camera angles at NRL games and 99.9% of the action is captured? You’d have to be David Copperfield to get away with foul play these days – forget it!
To make things worse, Gallen was also captured performing a ‘squirrel grib’ on a Titans player. Resenting a tackle, Gallen rises to his feet and reaches at the crotch of the Gold Coast player. Bringing back memories of ‘John Hoppoate’ and the infamous ‘Gold Finger’ epsiode where he poked opposing players bums – this Gallen brain snap is unforgivable and doesn’t just make him look stupid, but embarresses everyone in the NRL.
What must the AFL and Rugby Union codes be thinking? Squirrel Grips went out years ago, there is no room for them in our game.
When you think of dirty players in the NRL in recent times a few names spring to mind, the likes of Shayne Dunley, Brad Morrin, John Hopoate, Steve MataiÂ and on a lighter scale Justin Smith from the Cowboys.
These guys would throw elbows into tackles, swing stiff arms, bite their opponents and generally do anything they could during the ruck wrestle to get one up.
Apart from Hopoate and his outrageous actions, Paul Gallen’s latest brain explosions rate pretty highly on the dirty scale. If you cast your mind back to last season, Gallen also raised eyebrows when he ‘faked’ injury after a high shotÂ and was caught out by TV cameras winking at his opponents after a penalty was given.
No one likes to admit who the dirty players are, but at the current rate Paul Gallen is climbing the charts with a bullet.
Who do you think is the dirtiest NRL player? Comment below or send an email to NRLfeedback@gmail.com