As a huge James Tedesco fan I was really saddened to see him injured on the weekend. He is such an exciting player to watch and to see him taken from the field with a broken jaw was terrible.
A broken jaw is one of those extra rotten injuries. Players that have suffered a broken jaw often speak about how painful it is, how tough the recovery is, the way they lose weight because they can not eat a normal diet for a long time, and the trepidation they feel coming back from the injury as they worry about their jaw being broken again.
When Ryan James hit James Tedesco he didn’t hit him with a swinging arm. His arm was not up high, in fact it was down near the ground. James tackle wasn’t dangerous or even reckless. The contact he made with Tedesco’s jaw was accidental, the type of thing that happens when someone that is 110kgs+ goes in to tackle a moving target.
Accidents unfortunately just sometimes happen.
None of this is a comfort to Tedesco. None of this helps overcome his loss to the Wests Tigers team. It is completely understandable that those close to the Tigers and Tedesco want some sort of punishment for James. The thing I have to ask is, what does a suspension do in this situation?
It is hard to suggest that a suspension is a deterrent. The days of players going into tackles looking to take someones head off on purpose are long gone. You can suspend a player making a reckless tackle in the hope that next time around they take a bit more care, but what about when a player goes into a tackle and finds he struck a player in the head even when his arms are lowered towards the ground?
There are about 100,000 other ways James and Tedesco could have made contact in that tackle on the weekend. It just so happened that in this instance, James’ arm found Tedesco’s jaw. It was completely accidental. So in that instance, should Tedesco’s resulting injury count towards a suspension that James now has?
It is one of those uncomfortable, confronting questions the game needs to ask itself. Everyone hates seeing a player get injured, but does that mean we should look to punish the tackler when an accident occurs? I’m not sure we should.
James won’t get anything out of his one game suspension. Tedesco and the Tigers probably feel hard done by that he didn’t get more than one week, but that is based on emotion (Which by the way is completely normal).
I feel as though there is a bit of a reactionary element here by the NRL. They don’t want to see players getting hurt without offering up some sort of black and white reason for it. An accident happens, so someone must be found to be at fault. That allows the NRL to look like they are doing something positive rather than doing nothing at all.
What do you think about these type of situations? Should players be suspended for accidental contact in tackles? Should a players injury have an affect on the resulting suspension? Feel free to comment below and have your say.