Chris Rodwell – The 18th Man Debate!

Unfortunately this issue has raised it’s ugly head again this weekend and surely it is time for the NRL heavyweights to use their combined IQ’s and implement a solution. Every week we see at least one NRL club being reduced to 16 players (3 subs) and in the case of the West Tigers game against the Warriors on Saturday 13 players (0 subs).

Injuries are apart of any sport and especially our sport, with big men throwing their bodies into each other at 100 miles an hour there will always be the high risk of injury, however, when a game/season ending injury involved that ends a players game there needs to be a fresh player to fill in for said player. This can and should definitely be implemented when a player is injured through foul play i.e Head Shots or swinging arms when a player has effectively been taken out of the game giving the offending team an advantage.

The Tigers, during the final stages of Saturdays game had lost 4 players to injury leaving them with just the players on the field. James Tedesco, Cory Paterson, Sauaso Sue and Adam Blair all suffered game-ending injuries, the first in a sickening head clash that saw him taken off under the new concussion rules. Whilst this injury was a freak accident that happens once every blue moon if the Tigers were allowed a reserve to cover for Tedesco the game and the result may have been different. Whilst I applaud the NRL for its new concussion rules (except in the James Graham situation) I believe an 18th man needs to be introduced to cover for the freak and intentional injuries that end a players game.

As we have seen with the tragic events in the past weeks surrounding the Alex Mckinnon tackle it is paramount that player welfare and safety need to be more highly looked after by NRL heavyweights, NRL staff, team doctors and officials, teammates and of course NRL fans.

The views of this article are solely those of Christopher Rodwell. Follow Chris on Twitter at: @Chrisaaron69


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