July 14, 2024

Former NRL players are divided over Sharks forward Dale Finucane’s three-game ban for an accidental head clash with Panthers center Stephen Crichton. Finucane expressed hope that the game would protect his head.

Finucane was charged with grade three careless contact for the tackle, which resulted in Crichton bleeding, concussed, and requiring plastic surgery to repair his damaged ear.

The Cronulla star could have taken two weeks with an early guilty plea, but Finucane contested the charge and lost in court, costing him an additional week.

On NRL 360 on Wednesday night, NRL greats Gorden Tallis and Braith Anasta disagreed on the decision.

“If I’m running the football so hard, I hope the game protects my head,” Tallis said.

“I hope I can run and move however I want while my head is protected. They can hit me anywhere they want, and as a defender, it’s gone wrong.

Anasta refused to accept the panel’s argument that players must demonstrate a duty of care.

“This (duty of care) changes a lot,” Anasta explained.

“I believe a player should be protected at all times while running the ball. Even though it’s an accident, he still needs to be protected.”

“Now at training, they’re not only concerned with getting the player on their inside or outside shoulder, left or right shoulder, and foot positioning, but also with the speed with which they approach a tackler.

“It’s not easy to put a shot on a player and worry not only about where your shoulder is because you can’t make shoulder contact with the head, but also about where your head is.”

“We made an example of him; when has a head clash resulted in a two-week suspension? “It has not happened.”

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