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NRL moves to tighten concussion rules

The NRL has moved to tighten its new concussion rules after it was left powerless to sanction Canterbury after prop James Graham suffered a headknock in the Bulldogs' round four win over Melbourne but was left on the field.
NRL moves to tighten concussion rules
by AAP

By James MacSmith

SYDNEY, May 7 AAP - The NRL has moved to tighten its new concussion rules after it was left powerless to sanction Canterbury after prop James Graham suffered a headknock in the Bulldogs' round four win over Melbourne but was left on the field.

The move came as the Wests Tigers were hit with an infraction notice for an incident involving Liam Fulton in the club's round-five match win over Manly at Leichhardt Oval.

Under the new rules, players must be taken from the field "as soon as they exhibit any signs of a possible concussion".

"The onus and responsibility is on clubs to identify players that have concussive issues in games and it is up to those clubs to take those players off as needed," NRL head of football Todd Greenberg said.

"No longer under the rules is it a requirement for the head trainer or the doctor to see the incident. It is up to the club to see that incident.

"It is up to the club to get that player off if he has concussion symptoms."

The original rules stated that the club doctor and head trainer had to witness the concussion. Canterbury claimed in the case of Graham that neither of their club officials witnessed the England front-rower in distress.

"Under the changes to the rules, that is no longer an excuse," Greenberg said.

"Neither the club doctor nor the trainer could witness that incident and, under the rules, you can breach a club for that."

Canterbury were previously given a breach notice and a $20,000 fine, $10,000 of which was suspended, for an incident involving Josh Jackson in their round-two thrashing of Cronulla.

The Tigers have been fined $20,000 for their breach, $10,000 of which is suspended.

But, like the Bulldogs, they will be liable to pay the remainder of the fine if they infringe again.

The Tigers have five working days to respond to the breach notice.


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