Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson believes the NRL’s implementation of a high-contact crackdown is “slightly off” but his players need to keep their emotions in check on the field.
Enforcer Victor Radley has been given a five-match suspension after being placed on report four times and sin-binned twice against Brisbane.
Following that match several Roosters players voiced concerns about the crackdown, with injured five-eighth Luke Keary among the most outspoken.
Robinson says while he supports the concept of the crackdown, it’s the mid-season implementation that has left players with little chance to adapt.
“The method that they’ve gone about it is slightly off and that’s where Luke’s voiced his opinion,” Robinson said.
“The speed at which they’ve introduced it is the issue because players don’t think on the field, they act.
“If you think you can change a player’s behaviour within a week then you don’t understand human behaviour. Players need to practice and train and then you create behaviours.”
Radley defended his tackling style after Tuesday’s unsuccessful judiciary hearing and Robinson believes given time the 23-year-old will adjust his game to avoid similar penalties.
“It takes some time and that’s what Victor’s saying,” Robinson said.
“He’s got a very good tackle technique. He admitted it needs to go lower. So there’s no doubt he needs to go lower but he’s also right in that all these people saying he should just tackle low, just go low, well you’re going to get knocked out more.
“If the idea is to reduce concussions then don’t ask the players to all go low in the tackle.
“Victor said that he needs to get his tackle lower, so that’s not saying what he got charged for wasn’t right.
“He believes in the judiciary but it’s silly to think that everyone should just start tackling low. That’s archaic.”
While backing his players, Robinson also admits emotion got the better of them against Brisbane but it wasn’t a matter he wanted to dwell on ahead of this weekend’s clash with Canberra.
“Everyone understands that our discipline cost us last weekend and that was on us,” he said.
“You touch on it very quickly and move on.”
The suspensions of Radley and Angus Crichton only add to Robinson’s woes with 11 players currently unavailable.
One of those sidelined, half Drew Hutchison, has had a setback in his recovery from a punctured lung suffered in an incident against Parramatta on May 7.
Robinson said Hutchison had returned to hospital to have the lung operated on after it collapsed for a third time.
“It’s been a pretty rugged time for Drew. His recovery should still be quite quick but he needed an operation to help that lung stay inflated.”