South Sydney’s wrestling tactics are in the spotlight once again after three more players were charged by the NRL match review committee on Friday.
South Sydney’s wrestling tactics are back under scrutiny after three more of their players were charged by the NRL match review committee.
With prop George Burgess only halfway through his two-match suspension for a chicken wing tackle last week, Ben Te’o, Chris McQueen and Kirisome Auva’a were all slugged with dangerous contact charges on Friday.
The trio were sanctioned following the Rabbitohs’ impressive 42-16 win over Brisbane on Thursday night that consolidated their premiership favourites tag.
Te’o is potentially facing five games on the sidelines if he opts to contest a grade two charge for an apparent chicken wing tackle on Broncos’ forward Sam Thaiday.
The Queensland Origin star will miss a minimum of four games if he pleads guilty due to the carryover points picked up from two suspensions he’s already served this season, meaning he won’t play again until week one of the finals.
Back-rower McQueen and outside back Auva’a can both escape bans with early guilty pleas to grade one charges of unnecessary pressure to the neck or head (crusher tackles).
Both incidents happened within a minute of each other early in the second half at ANZ Stadium with McQueen’s challenge on Josh McGuire and Auva’s on Matt Gillett deemed to be suspect by the match officials.
Souths officials are privately concerned they’re being by targeted, with hooker Issac Luke also taking an early guilty plea this week for his role in the incident with Burgess.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy, who once employed Souths mentor Michael Maguire as his assistant, has made a similar claims in the past and vehemently denied coaching his players to use illegal methods.
Maguire was also criticised by Super League coaching rivals when in charge of Wigan for using wrestling tactics.
Former referees boss Bill Harrigan said he did not believe Rabbitohs players were being singled out by officials, and he believed the Te’o incident was unfortunate rather than deliberate.
“The chicken wing was a definite penalty, it was a bad one,” Harrigan told AAP.
“Refs don’t go out and look for blokes who go out and commit acts of foul play. They do do their homework and look out for players’ and teams’ idiosyncrasies.
“Chicken wings and crusher tackles have largely been eradicated from the game because referees have become more vigilant and the NRL have cracked down.
“But there’s always going to be someone who gets themselves in a position and they forget.
“Te’o was probably trying to roll Thaiday on his back and just the way he had hold of him … he could have done some harm, but at the time that wouldn’t have come into his mind as he was just focused on making the tackle.”