NRL warning over AFL concussion stance
NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo has warned rushing to introduce a mandatory stand down for all concussion injuries could come with its own risk.
The NRL is facing renewed pressure to stop players who have suffered head injuries from returning to play the following week.
It comes after the AFL announced on Thursday that it would introduce a mandatory 12-day stand down policy this year for players who have suffered concussion.
Abdo said that he would be putting together his own panel of experts in the coming weeks to discuss potential changes that would be put to the ARL Commission before the start of the new season.
But he stopped short to committing to a forced stand down policy.
"I can't say that there will definitely be a mandatory period," Abdo explained.
"That in itself has some risk attached to it around the behaviours and choices individuals might make.
"We don't want to be in a situation where players or coaches are making decisions based on whether or not a player is going to miss matches.
"We will not want to have that as a potential deterrent to any system.
"We need to carefully think through what our policy is to make sure our policy is to make sure there is not unintended consequences."
But there is no hiding from the fact that the NRL's current concussion guidelines were at the centre of a series of ugly controversies last season.
That included two separate incidents during the season-ending State of Origin series surrounding two of the game's biggest stars, NSW captain Boyd Cordner and Queensland's hero Cameron Munster.
The NRL went to the extraordinary lengths of issuing the NSWRL with a formal warning after an investigation determined Cordner should not have been allowed to return to the action in the opening Origin, after suffering his fourth head injury of the season.
The inspirational Sydney Roosters co-captain ruled himself out of the remainder of the series and Cordner is now expected to miss the first 12 rounds of the new NRL season.
Munster was then allowed to play in the Origin decider after a shocking incident in game two where he was taken from the field after just two minutes.
Munster was in a worrying state after hitting his head on the turf following a collision with Tyson Frizell, and he did not return to the field despite passing his HIA in the medical room.
However, despite many calling for him to be stood down from the third game, Munster was passed fit to play in the decider.
The Melbourne five-eighth then went out and produced a match winning performance that inspired Queensland to a historic series victory.
But the AFL's decision to enforce a mandatory stand down follows a post mortem on the late Shane Tuck that revealed the former Richmond midfielder suffered from severe CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) _ a rare brain condition associated with repeat blows to the head.
The disease has become increasingly prevalent in NFL and boxing but also shook the Australian sporting landscape in 2019 after two former rugby league players were diagnosed with CTE.
Abdo does not dispute concussion is a huge issue for any contact sport.
"We are absolutely going to look at the best possible practice as to how concussion is treated and make sure that everything we are doing is in the interest of player safety and welfare," he said.
"We are going to get the best help that we can from the experts and any changes will be presented to the Commission for their views and their consideration ahead of the season.
"But it won't be anything in the next couple of days. We are quite a few weeks away from that."
Originally published as NRL warning over AFL concussion stance