Mahoney calls for more clarity on hip-drop tackles

·2-min read
James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS

Canterbury captain Reed Mahoney believes there is still uncertainty about the definition of a hip-drop tackle despite the NRL attempting to clarify the illegal shot in a video sent to clubs.

When he brought Gold Coast prop Moeaki Fotuaika to the ground in the Bulldogs' win on Sunday, Mahoney became the latest in a series of players this season to be placed on report for committing a hip-drop tackle.

He escaped scrutiny from the match review committee on Monday morning and will be free to line up for the Bulldogs after the bye.

The NRL has been emphatic in its wish to eradicate the move, which can cause serious leg injuries, but a schism has emerged in the severity of on-field and post-match punishments being levelled at offending players.

In an attempt to dispel uncertainty as to what does and does not constitute a hip-drop tackle, the NRL circulated a video to clubs this week explaining the three key elements of the shot that referees would be scrutinising.

For a tackle to be constituted a hip-drop and worthy of a penalty, the defender must grip the ball-carrier, rotate their body behind or to the side of the ball-carrier, and then drop their weight directly onto the ball-carrier's legs.

Referee Chris Butler penalised Mahoney in the first half of the Bulldogs' 20-18 win at Accor Stadium, telling the bunker he had observed a swinging action from the hooker as he brought his rival down.

But Mahoney appeared to lower the bulk of his body weight onto the ground rather than Fotuaika's legs, as is required for a tackle to be constituted a hip-drop tackle.

"I didn't think it was (a hip-drop)," Mahoney said.

"I definitely didn't agree with him but it's something they're trying to stamp out so I understand that. There probably does need to be a bit more clarity.

"I didn't think it was as bad as what it looked but I guess we've got to review it and have a look at it."

Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo expressed frustrations with the call.

"That is not a hip-drop tackle," he said.

"That's a smaller guy trying to tackle a big man.

"I agree with the hip-drop tackle, trying to eradicate it from the game but that is not one.

"I think there's a lot of tackles that if you slowed it down, in slow-mo, and replayed it, you could go, 'That's a hip-drop too'. That was definitely not one. That was disappointing."