NRL crackdown questions as Bronco avoids ban

The NRL's crackdown on high tackles is back in the spotlight after Kevin Proctor's shot that landed him on report was graded worse than the one that got Kobe Hetherington sent off.

Hetherington was marched from the field in Brisbane's loss to Canberra on Saturday night, after Raiders forward Corey Harawira-Naera fell into his shoulder.

The decision to send Hetherington off was met with stern criticism from several former players, while Broncos coach Kevin Walters also questioned the decision.

Harawira-Naera had been ankle tapped at the time of the hit and fell forward into Hetherington, lower and quicker than the Broncos forward had expected to meet him.

Despite being sent off, Hetherington was only charged for a grade-one careless high tackle charge by the match review committee on Sunday and can escape with a fine of just $1350 with an early guilty plea.

Proctor, in contrast, stayed on the field and only put on report for a high shot on the Sydney Roosters' Joey Manu earlier on Saturday.

However, the Gold Coast captain was charged with a grade-two careless high tackle by the match review committee on Sunday, resulting in a one-match ban with an early guilty plea.

The NRL has long said it cannot expect the referees or bunker to be the judge, jury and executioner in real time, and would therefore be relied on to grade tackles on the run.

But the fact a tackle which resulted in a player being sent off was considered not as bad as another that allowed a player to stay on the field will raise eyebrows across the league.

It comes after Roosters coach Trent Robinson claimed on Saturday the decision not to even sin bin Proctor was influenced by Manu not staying down.

Robinson had been one of the biggest proponents of the crackdown when it was first introduced but is concerned over the referee taking into account the reaction of the tackled player.

"A head high would have been sent to the bin two weeks ago but we don't want our players to lie down," Robinson said.

"The commentating around it from referees is 'they have stood up, I'm OK with that'.

"What they are saying is lie down.

"The one on Joey Manu, do you want us to lie down?

"The NRL's put it back on this gamesmanship or the gentleman's agreement, just don't encourage it.

"It's not our game."