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Shoulder charge banned from NRL ads

20:04 Wed Nov 21 2012
Russell Packer
High shots and shoulder charges will be outlawed by the NRL.

The ARL Commission's shoulder charge ban has claimed its first victim, with the game's 2013 advertising campaign to be devoid of the often spectacular but now illegal play.

The ARLC on Tuesday accepted a recommendation to outlaw the shoulder charge - a decision which has split the rugby league community, with some fearing the game is losing its toughness.

The often brutal hit is a staple of any highlights reel and was a feature of the past two television commercials under the previous NRL administration.

But with the tactic wiped out by the ARLC, advertising campaigns showcasing tackles such as Tony Williams' bone-jarring hit on a hapless North Queensland runner used in last season's commercial are a thing of the past.

"We don't use illegal play in our ads," an ARLC spokesman said.

"Going forward, it (the shoulder charge) would be an illegal play so we would not be promoting it."

Opinion as to the merits of the ban was divided amongst current and former players, while NRL coaches seem to be of the belief that limiting the number of interchanges to eight would be a better method of controlling the force of collisions in the game.

Having watched teammate and good friend Dean Young get flattened by a Greg Inglis shoulder charge gone wrong last year, St George Illawarra veteran Matt Cooper welcomed efforts to protect players from sustaining head injuries.

"If you saw that tackle, you wouldn't call that exciting," Cooper told NZ Newswire.

"It was pretty sickening.

"If you're a fan, if that was your son or that was your brother, you don't want that to happen to the player.

"A good mate of mine Josh Miller had to retire this year because of too many head knocks."

Former Illawarra Steelers skipper Michael Bolt - who was at Wednesday's announcement of Ben Creagh as the new Dragons skipper - was dumbfounded by the ban.

"I'm a bit perplexed actually - if there's contact with the head, people get rubbed out of the game," Bolt said.

"You find they learn their lesson pretty quick on the sidelines.

"... when they work they are a great spectacle of the game."