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The new Australian Rugby League (ARL) Commission has decided to outlaw the shoulder charge from next season, drawing criticism from players, coaches and very likely fans, who say it's a point of difference from union and shows the toughness of player

A report into the controversial challenge by Sydney Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan was backed by the commission after a meeting on Tuesday.

The report claimed that the bigger players in the game now meant the shoulder charge is unnecessarily risky.

The incidence and injury from shoulder charges, which are outlawed in rugby union, was relatively low – they made up 0.05 per cent of the 142,355 tackles made in 2012 and less than four per cent result in injury to the attacking player and less than one per cent to the defensive player. A further 17 per cent of shoulder charges resulted in contact with the head.

Cronulla and Australia hard man Paul Gallen told Triple J radio he was in “in shock” at the rule change.

"We don't want players getting hurt, but it's taking some of the toughness of the game.''

"When you have a look at the highlight reels they're all big hits, the fans love shoulder charges.''

Gallen's Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan backed his player’s opinion, adding it would add another hassle for the referees who will have to interpret the new rule.

"It sounds easy but it's not,'' Flanagan told AAP.

"How do they determine that a player wasn't affecting a tackle when his shoulder comes into contact with the head?”

NRL interim chief executive Shane Mattiske said the ban on the shoulder charge has been brought in to reduce the risk of serious injury to players.

"The commission has gone through a thorough review process and been public in warning players about the risks of illegal play,'' Mattiske said in the Daily Telegraph.

"The report shows that the shoulder charge is not a significant part of the game and its removal is not likely to impact on the way the game is played.

"With the increase in size and strength of the players, we believe this is the time to eliminate a potential risk.''

It’s bad news for Sonny Bill Williams, who is returning to the NRL with the Roosters and was renowned for his brutal shoulder charges. The skill was a problem for him in rugby union, where you get a yellow card and leave your team a man short for 10 minutes for the charge, as he did in his first game for Toulon in 2008:

Billy Slater won't miss it either, after his botched attempt at using his shoulder in the Four Nations to stop a try against England:

Pint-sized Parramatta halfback may miss the tackle, having become renowned for standing up to much bigger blokes with it: 

But maybe he should kiss them goodbye, as they backfired as much as they were impressive. As seen here against Greg Inglis and his former club, the South Sydney Rabbitohs:

Image via Getty

Rinaldi gets knocked out cold. Youch. It was this kind of hit that got shoulder charges banned, though they remain legal in the UK.

Central to the reasoning behind the banning of the shoulder charge was its capacity for serious injury if incorrectly used. Keith Galloway was lucky not have been severely injured after this shoulder by John Hopoate went incredibly wrong. The Tongan raised his forearm and connected directly with Galloway's temple, leaving the forward unconscious and bleeding from the ear. Hopoate was banned for 17 games


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