The Brisbane Broncos are embroiled in another heated dispute with North Queensland, this time concerning an alleged new tackling technique called ‘the scorpion’, which they claim was used on their star player, fullback Reece Walsh.
Sources have disclosed that Brisbane Broncos representatives have communicated their apprehensions regarding a situation that transpired in the 36th minute of their match against the Cowboys on Saturday at the Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
Video of the sequence depicts Walsh in visible distress after being tackled by Cowboys pair Coen Hess and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown. Broncos officials have examined the incident and are of the opinion that Walsh was lucky to escape a serious injury.
There’s an anxiety within the Broncos camp that this could signal the introduction of a potentially harmful new tackling style to the sport. Nevertheless, Cowboys coach Todd Payten strongly rejects the idea that his team initiated this allegedly contentious technique.
Over recent years, the NRL has banned various tackling methods including the grapple tackle, the chicken wing, the missile, and the prowler, in an effort to eliminate hazardous playing practices. The focus has recently shifted towards clamping down on the hip drop.
Payten expressed his outrage at his club being scrutinised for the wrong reasons. He passionately declared that it was absurd for anyone to believe that they would encourage such a technique, insisting that all their tackles on Reece Walsh were directed at his lower body due to his speed.
Department head of the Cowboys, Micheal Luck, echoed Payten’s sentiments, expressing disappointment at allegations of their team condoning or teaching such a dangerous style of tackling, asserting that if anyone assumes that this tackling style was performed intentionally, the assumption is incorrect.
It has been disclosed that this tackle was not flagged by the match review committee, although the NRL is cognisant of rumours of an emerging tackling method within the sport. NRL‘s football head, Graham Annesley, affirmed that each tackle from every game is analysed by the committee, and that he had been advised that nothing unusual was found in this tackle.
Despite the lack of concern shown by the NRL towards the tackle on Walsh, it is understood that the Broncos management had additional issues pertaining to their last-line defenders and how they were treated when returning kicks.
Since his terrific beginning at the Broncos, Walsh has been particularly singled out by rival teams due to his outstanding performance, becoming their primary target on-field. Despite the Cowboys‘ best efforts to limit his input during last weekend’s match, Walsh still managed to effectively run over 130 metres, broke through six tackles, and scored a try.