"Coward Shot"

Sam Kasiano faces the possibility of a week on the sidelines for a dog shot on Johnathon Thurston over the weekend. The incident occurred late in the first half, Thurston twisting to pop the pass to an outside runner, Kasiano then deliberately shooting for the base of the Cowboy's star's spine, causing his head to jar in a whiplash like motion.

Andrew Johns labelled it a "coward shot" and called for Kasiano to have been sinbinned, instead the Melbourne forward was simply put on report and Kasiano now has a chance of facing a 1 week ban at the hands of the match review panel, Johns however made a prominent point, and that's that this kind of tackle needs to be outlawed from the game, and he's absolutely right, in real-time it can be difficult to rule whether a player had enough time to pull out of a tackle, however, it was clear as day that Kasiano had more than enough time to react and instead he made the conscious decision to shoot for the lower back.
The danger of this tackle is less about the contact and more about the after affects, anybody that has played the game will tell you that once a ball leaves your hands your body's natural reaction is to un-tense, this now means that a hit from behind causes a rapid jarring motion and leads to a potential whiplash injury or even worse. Tackling a man without the ball is already against the rules but the sanctions are not strict enough on players who lash out in frustration in these kind of tackles.

The NRL has already seen a number of these incidents in 2018, Jayden Su'a taking Paul Vaughan out in the early rounds as he came through as a dummy runner, Su'a lashing out and causing Vaughan to need 10 minutes to regather his senses, even in this week's round there was another incident, as Luke Lewis nearly decapitated Kalyn Ponga after he had passed the ball in the Knights vs Sharks game, the shot both late and high, Lewis is also expected to cop a ban for his effort.

The verdict of the match review panel is expected in the next couple of days, let's hope they see sense and ensure they send a message to any other player who considers taking their frustrations out on others in an unsportsman like way.



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