Warriors wing Ken Maumalo has come out strongly in favour of the NRL’s crackdown on high tackles, saying more must be done to protect “the top six inches”.

The NRL have recently lowered their tolerance to high contact – in response to the ongoing concerns about concussions and head injuries – and issued an edict to referees before Magic Round last weekend.

The results were obvious.

Fourteen players were sinbinned at Suncorp Stadium for dangerous or reckless contact, while three others were sent off, the first time in two decades that there had been three dismissals in a round.

There was also an NRL record 24 charges laid by the match review committee.

Some former players and pundits have criticised the NRL’s new interpretation and the drastic impact that resulted from undermanned teams but Maumalo has backed the initiative.

The 26-year-old is well placed to speak out, as he takes more contact than most, with usually 15 or more runs a game, often into heavy traffic, as he tries to win momentum for his team.

“I reckon it’s a good rule, especially for the wellbeing of the players,” said Maumalo. “Peter V’landys (ARLC Chairman) has said that they want the players to [be able] to go back to their families after footy and if anything it’s just trying to look after the welfare of the players, first and foremost.

“I can bring the ball back, knowing that the top six inches is alright, so I’ve just got to worry about the rest of the body. It’s a good rule for us players and for the younger generation coming through.”

Of the eight matches last weekend, the Warriors’ clash with the Eels was the only one with no dismissals, after particular focus from the coaching staff.

Nathan Brown had instructed his players to be extra vigilant, given the impact of losing a player for a period of time and there will need to be ongoing adaption.

“The way we train is going to have to change in terms of tackle technique and where we want to hit,” admitted Maumalo. “We normally try to lock up the ball, hence why we go high. I guess we’re going to change our tackle technique and we’re going to try go lower.

“It’s a tricky one because you can get players, falling into the tackle, which is not the defender’s fault. That’s where I see it as a tough call to make.”

Warriors’ prop Leeson Ah Mau also supports the initiative, though admitted it was tough for the players, especially those in the engine room.

“It’s really hard because it’s definitely part of the game in that middle,” said Ah Mau. “You’ve just got to be really aware, I guess, but it’s really hard as you’re just going back and forth and sometimes it might be an accident that you get a head high.

“Definitely player welfare is only a good thing. But at the same time, it gets a [bit] touch and go there, when you’re under fatigue in that middle.”

Being smarter and more diligent on defence is a major focus for the Warriors, ahead of their clash with the Tigers on Friday. They’ve leaked 72 points over the last two games and desperately need to improve in that area.

“It was probably more just everyone working together, there was a few lapses there [on Sunday],” said Ah Mau. “We tried to solve it by ourselves. If we work as a group, we will definitely be able to do better.”

Source: Read Full Article