Forward Jason Clark says Souths don’t got out intentionally to hurt opponents after injuries to Steve Matai and Sam Thaiday in questionable tackles.
South Sydney say they are not deliberately attempting to maim opponents as the focus on their controversial wrestling tactics intensifies three weeks out from the NRL finals.
Manly’s Steve Matai and Brisbane’s Sam Thaiday have suffered injuries attributed to the Rabbitohs’ defensive techniques in successive weeks, with Ben Te’o hit with a four-week ban for his effort on the former Broncos’ skipper.
Seven Souths players have been involved in incidents identified by the NRL judiciary as involving unnecessary pressure in tackles this year.
The Rabbitohs’ tackling tactics have drawn further attention in some quarters after coach Michael Maguire’s time as an assistant with Melbourne several years ago when wrestling techniques were first honed in the NRL.
But forward Jason Clark says Souths don’t want to cross the line between fair and foul play.
“When we train for defence, you never want to hurt anyone,” he told AAP.
“17 blokes take the field expecting to walk off it the same way they come on, and that is the way the game is. You never go out in a game wanting to intentionally hurt someone. I would hope no team would do that.
“We play a physical game and, when someone gets in that position, it is hard and we are working on ways to cut that out to fix that up, so we are taking little steps and we will work on it, just being safer.”
With the banning of the shoulder charge, the stringent concussion rules and the crackdown on dangerous throws, the NRL has moved to make the game safer and Clark says that is a good thing.
“It is a physical game; there are three or four blokes in a tackle. You just have to try and find a way for everyone to be safe in that tackle,” he said.
“Just making sure you are not putting pressure on the neck, making sure they are going to the ground safely.
“The NRL have done well to stop the lifting and that has been cut out of the game quite well and we just have to try and cut out and look after ourselves and do tackles right.
“Everyone trains for defence – we just have to look at the way we do it.”