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SBD Global/April 2, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Lawyer Claims National Rugby League Open To Legal Action Over Three-Man Tackles

Newcastle forward Alex McKinnon was injured in a tackle on March 24.
A leading sports lawyer has urged the National Rugby League "to review the three-man tackle," according to Proszenko & Barrett of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Sydney-based sports lawyer Thomas Cahill believes that the governing body "is leaving itself open to legal action" over incidents such as the one that incapacitated Newcastle forward Alex McKinnon. Melbourne forward Jordan McLean, one of three players involved in the McKinnon tackle, "will front the NRL judiciary on Wednesday in what is shaping as one of the most complex and emotive cases in rugby league history." Cahill said that "it would be unlikely there would be any legal liability for McLean," as the three-man tackle is permitted in the rules of the game. However, he was concerned that technique "posed legal and safety risks for the NRL and the players respectively." Cahill: "The real issue here is whether the three-man tackle sanctioned by the NRL is dangerous and creates a risk to a player's safety" (SMH, 4/2).

CONTRACT INVESTIGATION: In Sydney, Proszenko, Walter, Lane & Carayannis reported the management team for Cronulla Sharks prop Andrew Fifita "has asked the NRL to investigate why his multi-million-dollar contract with Canterbury failed to come to fruition." Fifita knew that the deal "was on the verge of collapse when he made his controversial comments about wishing he'd signed with rugby union." Representatives for Fifita met NRL officials at League Central on Tuesday "to outline elements of the deal that Canterbury allegedly failed to honour after having reached agreement three weeks earlier, when the player signed a memorandum of understanding with the club." The shortfall was worth up to A$1M ($900,000) over four years. The long-form contract Fifita received last Thursday was worth A$335,000 under the salary cap and A$250,000 in third-party agreements (SMH, 4/2).
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