V’landys’ big concession on high-shot crackdown

NRL boss Peter V’landys has conceded he could have consulted more widely before the introduction of the recent crackdown on high shots.

Sin-bins and suspensions have skyrocketed in recent weeks, as the game gets tough on contact with the head, whether it is accidental or not.

It’s plunged the game into turmoil, with V’landys insisting the crackdown is necessary to protect the long-term well-being of the players.

They on the other hand insist the fabric of the game has been changed with little or no consultation.

Reports have emerged of a player-led revolt, amid rumours they were looking to oust V’landys from his position.

The crackdown was introduced on the eve of one of the competition’s showpiece events, Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium.

Speaking to Radio 2GB’s Ben Fordham this morning, V’landys admitted the tougher approach could have been better implemented.

“Hindsight’s a very valuable tool, you would change a lot of things in your life if you had hindsight,” he said.

“We would certainly do things a little bit differently in this case, and yes, we should have consulted the players more.

“We believed it was a safety issue, and because it was a safety issue it had to be implemented straight away.

“You learn from these things, and we certainly have learnt.”

The crackdown has left many concerned that next week’s State of Origin opener will turn into a farce.

But the ARLC chairman isn’t backing down from the reasons behind the introduction of the tougher approach.

“We respect the players greatly, and this initiative is for the players, to make sure that when they retire they can go back to their families and have their full faculties,” he said.

“That’s very important, because it’s not just their kids that have to worry in the future, it’s their grandkids.

“We’re acting in their best interests, we’ll always act in their best interests, and we respect them.”

Earlier this week Bulldogs legend Steve Mortimer revealed he’s battling dementia, in a sobering message to today’s players of the danger of repeated head knocks.

Mortimer, a star of the game from the mid-1970s until the late 1980s, played 272 first-grade matches and captained New South Wales to an historic first State of Origin series win in 1985.

Another legend of the game, John Sattler, is also battling dementia, with his son Scott revealing this week that the Rabbitohs icon is deteriorating each week.

“I think they wanted to come out and let the young players know that at the moment in your career, you think you’re indestructible, but you have a whole lifetime ahead of you,” V’landys said.

“You’ve got to protect yourself for your family and your grandkids and your kids.

“I thought Steve Mortimer coming out was one of the most selfless acts I’ve ever seen.

“I think it showed great character, he wanted to let the young people know, look after yourself, don’t hit people in the head, and there’s more to life than rugby league.”

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