Greg Alexander has doubled down on his claims that the Storm are the perpetrators of the influence of dangerous tackles in the game over the last 20 years.
It comes after Storm legend Cameron Smith hit back at Alexander’s original comments, calling them “unfair.”
Alexander targeted the Storm after Broncos enforcer Patrick Carrigan received a four-game suspension for a hip-drop on Tigers playmaker Jackson Hastings.
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The tackle in the 73rd minute left Hastings with a broken fibula, with the Great Britain representative now in a race to be fit for this year’s Rugby League World Cup.
Speaking on SEN, Alexander said he was “surprised” by Smith’s reaction and believes “history shows” that several dangerous tackles have come out of Melbourne.
“I didn’t think it was any kind of revelation when I made those comments about the hip-drop emanating out of Melbourne Storm,” he said on Friday morning.
“I was surprised that Cameron and Denan (Kemp) were surprised that someone would actually think that the hip-drop started out of Melbourne.
“I thought it was just a general consensus that over the last 20 years that all the tackles, the wrestling techniques had come out of Melbourne.
“I might be generalizing or even jumping to a conclusion, but I don’t think I am.
“These tackles over the last 20 years, all the different types of techniques, they appear in the game and it takes the game a little while to catch up to them.
“I remember watching in 2020 and noticing tackles. Not just Melbourne Storm players, but two of the first three charges of 2020 for hip-drop tackles were Melbourne Storm players, Jesse Bromwich and Max King.
“I distinctly remember the Max King incident because I was calling the game. Max King just fell on the back of Blake Lawrie’s leg.
“I think history shows — and it’s not a stretch for me to jump to a Melbourne Storm conclusion — that the grapple, the chicken wing, the rolling pin, the crusher, the hip-drop… I think they all emanate out of Melbourne.
“Melbourne have led the way. They have changed the game back in 2002-3 where the wrestle became part of the game.”
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Smith initially laughed it off when a caller said on Thursday that Alexander directed all the blame in the Storm’s direction, before adamantly denying that any clubs were teaching their players dangerous techniques.
“I can put that to bed now. I can be honest with you. Brandy is a great analyst of our game and one of the great players of our game,” Smith said on SEN’sThe Captains Run.
“I just don’t know how he can come up with that comment.
“To single out one club and to say that they introduced that tackle into our sport, that’s a little bit over the top.
“I work with Brandy on our radio station on SEN and he’s a great fella, but to single out the Melbourne Storm, that’s really unfair, really unfair.
“To say that a club or even clubs now are practicing or teaching their players to fall into the back of legs, I think that’s a little bit over the top.”
Smith, who won two Dally M medals during his career, began to question how ‘Brandy’ could even come to that conclusion.
The 39-year-old couldn’t recall ever seeing Alexander at a Melbourne Storm training session during his decorated 20-years at the club.
But after questioning the claim, Smith shared why he believes that the hip-drop tackle has begun to make its mark in the game as players go without “any reward” for legitimate tackles.
“A reason why this has crept into the game is because there’s no reward for legs tackles anymore… It’s harder to make one-on-one tackles so you’re taught to make multiple defender tackles,” he added.
“The game has taken away any reward for good leg tackles, one-on-one leg tackles. You watch the games over this weekend, if someone makes a good covering tackle around the legs, or even just a good front on tackle on-one-one… as soon as the ball carrier hits the turf, the referee is screaming at the tackler to release.”
The 430-game NRL veteran said that these tackles are performed all the time in a game of rugby league, but are only cited whenever it looks “ugly” or there’s an injury.
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Smith suggested that the Match Review Committee would have to be tougher on players if they want to eliminate the technique from the sport.
“If you actually watch the game closely and you watch every tackle, these tackles are performed all the time.
“You could almost find one of these tackles in every set. But it’s not until someone gets injured or there’s a really, really ugly, messy looking tackle where someone’s legs get caught and they get bent back over the defender that’s sat down on those legs.
“Nothing’s done about it. There’s actually nothing done about it.
“Maybe the way for the NRL to go if they want to eliminate these tackles from our sport, the MRC need to start going through these games with a fine tooth comb and anytime something like this is performed, then the player needs to be notified any even charged.
“I don’t know whether it’s a fine to start with, if it’s a less dangerous hip-drop tackle and there’s no result of injury, just to say ‘hey mate, we’re onto ya’”.