This week Queensland won against New South Wales, again. The Maroons beat the Blues 26 – 16, sealing a 10th win in 11 series. But besides this momentous feat, there is another talking point that comes out of the second Origin match of this year: Sam Thaiday’s tackle on Blues captain Paul Gallen.
On 13 minutes, Thaiday joined a tackle on Gallen, put his arms between his legs and lifted him. He tilted him and Gallen landed on the top of his head. The initial tackler broke the fall a little, which meant that Gallen did not suffer the life-threatening injury that may have been. Thaiday was rightly put on report, and it has since been announced that Thaiday took an early guilty plea for the offence and received a two-match ban from the NRL. The early plea means the player will be eligible for Origin III.
— Aaron Thomas (@azsportza) June 22, 2016
However, the tackle is a prime example of why the NRL should give serious consideration about introducing cards to the sport. In Super League and rugby union that tackle would have been a red card and, going by Super League rules, the Maroons would have been a man down after dangerous incident.
If the NRL was serious about a dangerous throw crackdown after what happened 2yrs ago, Sam Thaiday would have been sent off in Origin II.
— Andrew Voss (@AndrewVossy) June 23, 2016
— LeagueHQ (@LeagueHQ1) June 23, 2016
But while the RFL introduced cards in 1982, with it first being used in the test match between Great Britain and Australia, the NRL has never done this. This also means that the Northern and Southern Hemispheres use different rules. Simply, the NRL does not exclude people from the game or put them on the naughty step, it just puts them on report.
Much like in Australian Rules Football, players are sentenced after the match based on what the referee says and the video evidence. Yet tackles like this merit being dealt with straight away. A lot of us will remember the tackle on Alex McKinnon of Newcastle Knights.
After this incident, the NRL promised to deal with dangerous tackles. They have upped the penalties, but the fact remains that there are no consequences while on the playing field. And there really should be.
Paul Peerdeman, Pundit Arena