Warriors coach Stephen Kearney gains support for mid-air tackle rule change
Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/news/111384746/-

2019-03-18 19:25:29

Kangaroos winger Dane Gagai has backed Stephen Kearney's calls for the NRL to look at the rules that allow attacking players to be tackled mid-air after collecting kicks.

Warriors coach Kearney was left concerned after winger David Fusitu'a was hit mid-air by Canterbury winger Christian Crichton on Saturday while leaping to catch a cross-field kick, flipping him around before he hit the ground.

While a player cannot be tackled in mid-air when fielding a kick from the opposing team, an attacking player can.

"Obviously it's within the rules and we're allowed to do it. But as an outside back and going up for those balls it's a bit of a 50-50 thing," Gagai said.

"It's a dangerous tackle, but at the end of the day it's what is written in the rule books that you can make a play as a defender that you can make a tackle in the air.

"It should be looked at before something really bad happens."

​Gagai's comments came after Kearney said on Saturday he planned on making a submission to the NRL over the rule.

"David just needed to land the wrong way - and it's legal - but he could have ended up in a really, really bad position," Kearney said.

"I reckon there's something that needs to be done about that before someone gets badly hurt."

The current rule is in place to allow for defenders to stop a player from scoring if they catch the ball near or over the tryline.

However the NRL's head of football Graham Annesley this week said the play could be policed by penalising defenders for a dangerous tackle.

"The question here is, is this a dangerous tackle as opposed to just tackling someone in mid-air," Annesley said.

"The referee has the option to take action if he thinks it's dangerous.

"We've had some contact from Steve already, I can understand his point of view. Personally my point of view is that probably should have resulted in a penalty."

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