NRL urge bunker not to rush hip-drop sin-bin calls

·3-min read
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The NRL has reminded bunker officials to take more time on calls for hip-drop tackles and to not sin-bin players if they have any doubt on whether there is foul play.

Days after another bunker error on the contentious tackle, the NRL showed off their new "hip-drop library", with a three-minute video that will be distributed to clubs and media.

In it, the NRL identifies several cases in which defenders grab a ball-carrier, twist their own body and drop the bulk of their weight onto the back of a player's legs.

The video also shows several instances in which players have avoided a hip-drop tackle, usually by dropping their weight to the ground first.

Included among examples of legal tackles is Patrick Carrigan's on Nelson Asofa-Solomona from last Thursday night, despite the Brisbane forward being sin-binned as a result.

Carrigan was since cleared of foul play, with NRL head of football Graham Annesley pointing out on Monday the Broncos star had landed on the ground first.

Annesley is usually quick to defend the bunker on such issues, pointing out they have less time to make decisions than the match review committee.

But in the instance of hip-drops, he would prefer they lean towards taking more time, given the more technical nature of the issue.

"I'd rather they get the decision right," Annesley said.

"Clearly they do have time constraints; they can't sit there for 10 minutes pulling it apart. We have to get on with the game.

"Sometimes under pressure and under time constraints, they won't always look at the best available view.

"But we also don't want them making rushed decisions without looking at all the available evidence."

Carrigan's incorrect sin-binning came at the worst time for the NRL, who have spent the opening two months of the season insisting there is no internal confusion on hip-drops.

The crackdown has seemingly had some results, with only two charges in the past two rounds compared to a plethora in the opening nine.

And while he is adamant there is no "go-easy" advice from head office, Annesley has also reminded video officials the sin-bin is not their only option.

"If there's any doubt from the bunker, about the degree of force that's been used on the legs, then they still have the option of putting somebody on report and not sending them to the sin-bin," Annesley said.

The Carrigan incident is one of several errors admitted by the NRL out of Brisbane's loss to Melbourne.

Annesley confirmed Brisbane's Reece Walsh should have been penalised for a shoulder charge on Justin Olam, but that the tackle did not merit a penalty try.

Corey Paix's late try should not have been awarded to Brisbane due to interference from teammate Tom Flegler, while Melbourne's Xavier Coates should not have been a denied a try after a ball came off teammate Olam's head.

But Annesley backed the bunker's call to hand Brisbane a penalty try, after Melbourne's Harry Grant pushed Herbie Farnworth off the ball.