• Eels winger Maika Sivo gestures to the crowd. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)Source: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts
OPINION: The Crusher tackle can be wiped out of the NRL by coaching players not to back into defensive lines to gain post-contact metres, writes Over The Black Dot's Timana Tahu.
Timana Tahu

Over the Black Dot
27 Aug 2020 - 2:42 AM  UPDATED 1 Sep 2020 - 12:20 PM

There has been a lot of talk about the crusher tackle and debates about if players are using it to get them out of trouble as a tactic. If it is so, for some players but not all, I guess you could say they are bending the rules – not breaking them. But if there are certain players that do it, then that's not showing good sportsmanship.

There are ways it can be stopped and one of them is to coach the backward running out of the players who use it for post meters gain.

Because of the 3 man tackling system, it is hard for the tackler to control the upper body of the ball carrier when taking him down. Most players are aware of the position they are in if the ball carrier has his back turned, but in a split second they can’t get out of the tackle and can sometimes lean on the ball carriers neck and put them in an awkward position.

The other way is to take players who stay down after a crusher off the field for an assessment similar to the HIA concussion system. This will clarify whether injuries are serious and make a player think twice about milking a penalty to get his team out of trouble.

I do not think this is coached, or talked about as a tactic for players to milk penalties though. I think it’s an individual decision. Again we don’t want to look at each ball carrier and assume that they are milking penalties because it is a bad tackling technique, but maybe having to spend 15 minutes in the dressing shed having an assessment done might make some players rethink their approach.

Seibold and who steps in to coach

Anthony Seibold and the Broncos have finally parted ways which has been the most controversial, most talked about club issue for 2020. Since the return from COVID, critics have been all guns blazing, and now they have got what they asked for: a scapegoat in coach Seibold.

NRL is not for the faint hearted. It is a cutthroat industry and all that the fans, sponsors and members care about is performance. And being a coach or a player in Brisbane is a tough gig.

It’s the first time I have seen the club being scrutinised and beaten up every week. The look of the players, you could see they were drowning and could not get any air to breathe. It was in their faces everyday.

There is always big expectations for the Brisbane Broncos, being a powerhouse team. But at the end of the day every club has gone through it. The club will learn from this moving forward.

The next big question is who can come into this club and start to rehab it back to health. It has got a tough decision to make. Is it going back to the old boys and letting them take control and have old school thinking? Or adapt to the new generation to start a new culture around these young talented kids, so they can pave a new way with new thinking?

We shall find out soon which direction the Broncos are headed.

Games of the week: Panthers v Tigers- Battle of the West

“The Riff” have to be the favourites for winning the 2020 Premiership don’t they? They are oozing with confidence. Ivan Cleary has found a way that the players respond to his instructions, the game plans and the culture environment that the players have engaged in, and it shows when they get onto the field and dominate opponents.

The forwards hunt as a pack, the spine has a great understanding in communication and direction with their plays, and the outside 5 are powerful strike weapons. The team has bonded well since COVID and the bubble they have been in has been a positive for the club.

The Tigers fans on the other hand will be holding their breathe, hoping this won’t be another Terry Towel Up!

This is a team built on structure and an emphasis on a 'robotic' game plan that perhaps takes away from a players individual athletic flare which the club bought them for. Playing the Panthers this week they cannot start robotic like they did against the Roosters in the first half.

I would like to see them start how they played in the second half: give Benji Marshall the authority to go out and take control without worrying if he his going to be dropped the following week.

Benji is a GF winner, he is a test player. With his experience and winning attitude, and a basic formula for the team, the rest of the team have the will to compete.

Parramatta v Souths

This will be a test to see where the Bunnies are at as a team. Souths have strike weapons in the backline but I always worry about the forward pack they have. It’s not built like your top four teams, but if they can just compete with the opposition forwards, it seems the Souths backline know how to put the nitro on and smoke teams. A perfect example was the scoreline against the Sea Eagles last round.

The Eels have a point to prove. There is speculation that they struggle to win games convincingly with the roster they have. I still feel like some of the leaders in the side are not on the same level as everyone else and seem to crack in certain periods of the game, or when they are under pressure. But players like Blake Ferguson, Maika Sivo and Clint Gutherson get good field positioning for the their team, and Junior Paulo is dominating the middle. I enjoy watching a beast that can pass like a half back, offload and step. I couldn’t imagine knowing a team mate having to deal with an athlete like him.

This week, Parramatta need to show that they are the real deal and have to dominate every positional battle on the field.

Proctor gone for biting, as Eels look to prove they are the real deal
Titans captain to watch from the stands for the next month, as injury list threaten to hobble top teams in their race for the flag, writes Over The Black Dot's Timana Tahu.