Why is it Super League is so behind the NRL? They’ve been worrying about grapple tackles and chicken-wing tackles for years now, and they’re only just becoming a deal in Super League. Matt Diskin has been cleared of any wrongdoing with regards to making a chicken-wing tackle in the Saints-Leeds game, but the very fact such a tackle has been brought up before the disciplinary panel is in itself a worrying sign.
When people whine about the infiltration of wrestling techniques into the game, this is the exact sort of thing they are talking about. This is highly unfair on wrestling, in my opinion. As a sport in which one of the aims is to take your opponent down to the ground with only the use of the upper body, wrestling is one of the most obvious sports for Rugby League players to cross-train in. Where it becomes tricky is when grappling moves (from Judo, Jujitsu, Sambo etc) are put into the tackle area. There’s still a lot for tacklers to learn about controlling the tackle and ruck area from the grappling martial arts (things like wrist control and mounting, for example) but when it starts moving onto limb and joint manipulation that it blurs from useful application to downright cheating. Most chicken-wing ‘tackles’ are some form of shoulder-lock or arm bar, and these need to be stamped out immediately. In a sport which already has more than its fair-share of ways to get seriously hurt, this is one of the more preventable causes of injury so lets hope this stops becoming a big deal over here before it even begins.