Smith calls for disciplinary debate

Warrington coach Tony Smith says there needs to be a clearer understanding of the disciplinary and match review processes, and what they target, to determine what we want rugby league to look like.

Debate has raged in recent weeks after a cannonball tackle by Taulima Tautai on Adam Cuthbertson.

Wigan coach Shaun Wane and Leeds boss Brian McDermott got into a war of words over the episode, while other incidents have led to criticism throughout the season.

Many fans, players, coaches and clubs have been left frustrated by rulings made by the disciplinary tribunal this year.

Smith believes there needs to be some discussion on the future of the game, and on what is and isn’t acceptable on the field, such as cannonball tackles.

“I certainly think we need to spend more time defining what we want our game to look like,” he told Love Rugby League.

“Various tackles, various incidents and spend some more time. We’d all love black and white rules, but our game isn’t black and white. There’s varying degrees of incidents.

“When you do some things at a certain speed, then it isn’t dangerous. And then when you do it another speed, it is dangerous.

“They did do a black and white rule recently where all shoulder charges are dangerous and we’ll wipe that out.

“Whether they take that approach with some other tackle techniques, well that’s what we need to discuss. At the moment it’s very, very murky.

“It’s not only just grey, it’s murky. Certainly the disciplinary and the review panels and a lot of the different stakeholders in the game are on three different pages.

A”nd thats what causes it, as well as media and fans, who are on page four and five.

“At some stage we’ve all got to come together and come up with some more definite rulings on – if they can’t be black and white, then we need to take into account various things.

“But we need to have some big discussions soon.”

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