‘Expect to spend time on the sideline’: Roosters coach says hip-drop rules clear

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Roosters coach Trent Robinson insists there is nothing confusing about the NRL’s hip-drop tackle rules, and if a player drops their weight on an opponent’s legs, they should expect to spend time on the sideline.

Robinson is adamant the tackling technique, which can contort and twist a player’s tendons and joints, was being eradicated from the NRL but remains more prevalent than many realise.

“It happens in our game; it happens in most tackling sports because it’s a quick way to get them down, but it’s not a safe way,” Robinson said. “I don’t feel like it’s confusing. I feel like it’s quite clear that if you sit on an ankle and a player gets injured from that, you’re going to spend some time on the sideline.

“They happen more than you actually think, they happen quite a lot and a player just gets up and plays on. You might have six or seven in a game, and we really notice one because it hurts a player.”

“So, it’s really hard to sanction because often sanctions are based on the result of that tackle. For a couple of years in, we are further ahead on getting rid of that than ever before, and the reason we are is because players are better at standing and running whilst carrying guys than ever before as well. We didn’t have this [when I played] because guys used to fall over when they used to get tackled.”

The NRL cracked down on the hip-drop in 2020, when it started to creep its way into the game, and head of elite football Graham Annesley sent a memo to clubs to caution players against using the technique.

But the tackle has resurfaced this season. Both the Sharks’ Dale Finucane and Marata Niukore of the Warriors were sin-binned — and subsequently suspended — for hip-drops in the Warriors’ dramatic round five win in Cronulla. Finucane will miss Friday night’s game against the Roosters.

The Roosters will line up for that clash with lock Victor Radley on the team sheet, after he took an early guilty plea at the NRL judiciary this week for a late hit on Melbourne’s Cameron Munster.

Radley was sin-binned for the tackle, which proved costly for the Roosters with two tries scored against them in his absence.

But Robinson said the club had dealt with the incident, and he didn’t believe it would be a problem moving forward.

There’s nothing confusing about hip-drop tackle rules says Roosters coach Trent Robinson.

“He’s been really good this year, his temperament has been really good, he’s been going after the games in the way that we want to see it, and he had a little blip there, but let’s not sit on it for too long and get him back to playing his best footy,” Robinson said.

“It’s not as simple as sitting down and saying ‘stop doing that’. That’s not how players work, that’s not the attitude that you want them to play with.

“There’s a fine line for those guys in that position, and it’s about the maturity and the moulding of himself at different times, and he’s on that path.

“I don’t need to sit down with him again.”

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