NRL supercoach Wayne Bennett blames umpires for hip drop tackle epidemic, with Parramatta starring in pain and two Broncos suspended
- Broncos have sued two players for hip drops
- Parramatta forward Reagan Campbell-Gillard was injured
- Bennett wants umpires to stamp the tackle out of the game
Veteran NRL coach Wayne Bennett has called on umpires to keep the hip-drop tackle out of play and is insisting it is not coached into players.
The NRL is grappling with the issue of hip-drop tackles, with Brisbane’s Payne Haas and Ezra Mam facing suspensions after being charged with grade two dangerous contact for hip-drop tackles in Friday night’s match against Parramatta.
Bennett said umpires played a vital role in determining when a tackle had been made and had to ensure that the third man was kept out of the tackle as much as possible.
“Players are allowed to stand too long and go pretty much nowhere and that just opens up to that third guy,” the veteran Dolphins coach told AAP.
“Referees need to be better able to determine when a tackle has been made… and just say, ‘Play the ball’.
“Keep that third man out as much as possible, because he’s the one doing the damage.
“We wouldn’t have that many penalties after a while. Players get the message.’
Payne Haas escaped an on-field penalty for this hip drop tackle on Reagan Campbell-Gillard that sent the Parramatta striker limping
Ezra Mam was thrown into sin for this ugly hip drop tackle and now faces a one-game or two-game suspension if he contests the charges
Bennett wants referees to take control of the situation and stamp out hip drop tackles in the NRL
He added that players occasionally fell victim to hip drops in one-on-one situations, but that the hip drop tackle had not previously been part of the game and “came out of the blue.”
He emphasized that the hip-drop tackle was not coached into players, but had unknowingly seeped into their repertoire.
“This is one (tackle) that I don’t think any coach coaches,” he said.
“It has more to do with the player’s psyche and maybe the team meetings and what the coaches want,” said Bennett.
“They want the player on the ground and they’ve introduced some kind of method to get the player on the ground.
“Players can definitely bend the rules a bit and… adapt to situations. That’s where the hip drop tackle started… harmlessly and not intentionally to hurt people.
“It’s a crazy trend because I don’t believe it’s being coached. It just happens on the field.’
Bennett called for consistency in performance, which he believed had all but removed the chicken wing tackles and cannonballs from the game.
Haas also faces a one-match suspension after the NRL’s match review committee finds he has a case to answer for dangerous contact
The Broncos will be understaffed in their next clash with both Haas and Mam and will likely be sidelined for at least a week
Haas’ tackle on Reagan Campbell-Gillard, who left the Parramatta support with a suspected hip fracture, has exposed the NRL’s hip-drop inconsistencies.
Haas received a grade two dangerous contact charge for falling on Campbell-Gillard’s legs during a tackle that went unpunished in the game.
Haas will miss one game with an early plea, or two if he tries to challenge it in court and lose.
Campbell-Gillard was cleared of a hip fracture but is still sidelined with a groin injury.
The NRL’s bunker and match review committee disagreed on the controversial tackle style for the second time in 15 days, as Haas escaped any punishment from referee Ashley Klein in Brisbane’s 26–16 victory over Parramatta.
Parramatta coach Brad Arthur expressed frustration with the NRL’s inconsistent treatment of hip-drop tackles.
He argued that all three tackles, including Haas’s, were similar and that he knew which had the worst result.