Sport: Matty Johns calls for players to be kicked out of RLPA if found guilty of serious foul play

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  Matty Johns calls for players to be kicked out of RLPA if found guilty of serious foul play © Provided by Sporting News

Matty Johns believes harsher punishments are the best way to help eradicate controversial tackling techniques which have seeped into the game.

Aside from lengthy suspensions handed down by the match review committee, Johns stated that any player found guilty of committing an act of serious foul play, such as the cannonball tackle, should be kicked out of the Rugby League Players Association.

“As far as hip-drops and cannonball tackles and things like that go- I think there’s two ways to get out of it,” Johns said on SEN’s Breakfast with Vossy & Brandy.

“It’s big suspensions if people are found guilty of it. But I also think the RLPA have a role in this.

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“The one that’s clear evidence is the cannonball tackle that I cannot believe a professional would do to a fellow pro and risk his career.

“If I was running the RLPA, I’d be going around to all the clubs and saying ‘if you do this to a fellow player, you’re out of the union because you’re giving me no position of power to sit opposite Peter V’landys and talk about player welfare,” Johns said.

A fortnight ago, the issue of tackling techniques reared its head after Patrick Carrigan’s hip-drop tackle on Jackson Hastings ruled the Wests Tigers star out for the rest of the season, while Joe Tapine took exception to a perceived cannonball tackle from Aaron Booth during the same round.

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At the time, Cameron Smith illustrated how a number of factors had led to a change of approach when it came to tackling in the modern day and why that might have led to more third-man-in situations.

“Now it’s all about locking up the ball. The second man comes in to help stop momentum and third man comes in to chop legs and put them on the ground,” Smith said.

“When you’ve got two players holding the player, the target area for the third defender is negligible,” Greg Alexander countered.

“There’s very little area for him to come in and make that tackle. So, I don’t know if we just stamp it out and call ‘held’ sooner.”

The hip-drop tackle in particular has caused severe injuries to players this season, with Hastings and Haze Dunster both on the receiving end of them.

MORE: Cameron Smith shuts down claims Melbourne Storm created hip-drop tackle

“There’s been 42 hip-drop charges and players found guilty in the last four years,” journalist Phil Rothfield revealed on Big Sports Breakfast.

“Of those 42 players – a really bad tackle that has been in the game now, as I’ve said, for three or four years – 21 of the players who made those tackles were not suspended.

“So, I think the NRL only has itself to blame for this, for not taking appropriate action in the past and allowing it to creep into the game.”

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