News recently broke that Cowboys enforced Tariq Sims has been slapped with a five week ban following his shoulder charge, off the ball, on Broncos star Justin Hodges from Saturday Night.
Although there have been some calls from the far North that the ban was far too harsh, I for one am glad the NRL is taking a stance against shots off the ball.
Rugby League is amongst the toughest sports in the world. There isn’t any padding, or free kicks awarded for holding shirts, but Tariq Sim’s shot on Justin Hodges was not an act of toughness.
Hodges, who had made a break and has passed the ball off, was unprotected and unsighted as Sims hit him late, with the shoulder, which in itself is an illegal play.
Sims, who had two games added to a three-game suspension due to loading from prior indiscretions, is now rubbed out for the rest of the season and may even serve time next year for his new club the Knights next season.
Hodges, who had threatened to single handedly turn the game after a few moments of brilliance, was visibly shaken by the incident and was unable to continue to dictate terms as he had done up until the hit.
For the record, the tackle itself was not that bad, and if it has been completed while Hodges was still holding the ball, I’m sure there would have been plenty applauding it, but the fact the tackle was off the ball, and late, means the Cowboys can have little means to feel hard done by.
The NRL have sent a message with the five-week suspension being handed down. Some will reply to this saying the toughness is being taken out of the game and no doubt hurl personal insults my way, but there aren’t many who can say a shoulder charge to someone who is unprotected, off the ball, is tough.
Nines Draw Released
Next year’s NRL Nines pools have been released, throwing up some interesting fixtures. For those who haven’t seen the pools:
The Rangitoto Pool contains the Eels, Sea Eagles, Knights and the Dragons.
Waiheke Pool: Defending champions the Cowboys will play the Storm, Panthers and Rabbits.
Piha Pool: 2014 runner up the Broncos will play the team they beat to reach the final in the Sharks, as well as the Roosters and Broncos.
Hunua Pool: Hosts the Warriors have been pooled with the Raiders, Tigers and Titans.
There have already been suggestions that the Warriors have been drawn in the ‘easiest’ pool. I still think it’s too early in the competition’s existence to truly judge which sides can be considered the strong sides.
It will be interesting to see how many top-line stars are named for the tournament. Last season’s tourne came after the World Cup, meaning some of the players involved were not named. That being said, having seen injuries in the tourne earlier this year, will clubs be willing to risk their big name players?
Beale To The Shire?
Rumours are swirling that the Sharks are in talks with with former Kiwi international Gerard Beale.
The Sharks, who have lacked pace and try scoring ability out wide for years, will be hoping to add the Dragon’s 24 year old to their roster before too long.
Mitch Brown is returning to the club from the Dogs, while youngsters Valentine Holmes, Sosaia Feki and Jacob Gagan will be looking to push for a starting spot next season. Gordon and Leutele are also in the reckoning.
The Sharks have lacked depth out wide for as long as I can remember. It will be interesting to see if Shane Flanagan continues to show the faith shown by James Sheppard in the youngsters, or if he’ll take a different tactic.
Beale, at 24, arguably still has his best footy ahead of him, and will be a valuable signing for the Shire club if it does come to fruition.