Monday, June 24, 2024

‘Not all hip drops are the same’: How officials decide what action to take

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NRL GM of football Graham Annesley has confirmed that Wests Tigers prop David Klemmer should have been sinbinned during last Friday night’s clash with the Cowboys as he outlined how match officials determine the course of action to take for hip drops.

Klemmer, who has accepted a three-match suspension after being charged with Grade 2 Dangerous Contact, was placed on report, whereas Cowboys centre Val Holmes was sin-binned in the same game.

Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell questioned referee Chris Butler after he was sinbinned for a hip drop in Saturday night’s match against the Eels but Parramatta forward Joe Ofahengaue was placed on report.

“It’s important to look at these hip drop tackles in detail” – Annesley

Holmes and Mitchell were charged with Grade 1 Dangerous Contact, while Ofahengaue wasn’t charged as he avoided landing on the leg of Sean Keppie – a fact Butler explained to Mitchell after the Bunker had reviewed the incident.

“I think one of the real problems with hip drops at the moment is that people see a hip drop, or what they think is a hip drop, or a hip drop action, and they will say, ‘the last one was a sin bin, why isn’t this a sin bin’,” Annesley said.

“Yet the reality is that it’s no different to high tackles. Everyone accepts that there are varying degrees of response to high tackles, so if a player gets another player high and it’s a relatively light, low level of force, the referee will place a player on report.

“In more serious cases, a player will be sent to the sin bin and in extreme cases, a player will be sent off.”

“There are mitigating factors in every hip drop” – Annesley

Annesley said there were four categories of assessment that take place by match officials immediately after an incident.

No action

  • match officials determined that contact was incidental or accidental
  • low level of force
  • low risk of injury
  • other mitigating factors

Penalty or player placed on the report:

  • careless
  • relatively low force
  • relatively low risk of injury
  • other mitigating factors

Sin Bin

  • high degree of carelessness or reckless
  • moderate to high force
  • moderate to high risk of injury
  • no mitigating factors

Send off

  • highly reckless or intentional
  • very high level of force
  • high risk of injury
  • no mitigating factors.

“Not all incidents are the same, not all incidents are treated the same and we will get these variations on outcomes,” Annesley said at his weekly media briefing.

“The match officials won’t always be right in how they apply their judgment in determining that outcome.”

“Penalty tries are judgement calls” – Annesley

As an example, Annesley said Klemmer should have been sin binned for his hip drop on Cowboys forward Kulikefu Finefeuiaki.

However, he may have been allowed to stay on the field because the incident wasn’t detected until after North Queensland had scored a try.

“The fact that the game continued on and points were scored, and then the incident was placed on the report, does not prevent the match officials from sending a player to the sin bin,” Annesley said.

“It doesn’t have to be a sin bin immediately it takes place, so even though the game went on and we came back to place the player on report, at that point he could have still been sent to the sin bin and, in my view, he should have been in this case.”

In comparison, Annesley said there had been mitigating circumstances in the tackle by Holmes that left Wests Tigers second-rower Isaiah Papali’i with an ankle injury as team-mate Tom Dearden had also been involved and his weight pushed him down.

“Not that Tom’s done anything wrong here, but in terms of mitigating factors in favour of Valentine Holmes, the impact of Tom Dearden is significant,” Annesley said.

“In the view of the Match Review Committee, this is still a dangerous tackle with a dangerous outcome but there are mitigating factors in relation to the involvement of Tom Dearden.

“The key point is where does the body weight land, and it lands directly on the foot or the lower limb.

“That’s the reason why that was a sin bin, the reason why it was charged by the match review committee and it’s also the reason why it was only a Grade 1.”

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