NRL admit adjustment on crackdown calls

The NRL admit they have marginally shifted the goalposts on the high tackle crackdown, but claim its a positive that they are able to keep pace with the game.

The bunker's decision not to send off Tom Flegler for a high tackle that knocked out Penrith's Isaah Yeo drew criticism over the weekend, amid claims of inconsistency on the issue.

Ivan Cleary in turn became the latest coach to claim an incident would have been dealt with harsher in Magic Round, when the NRL's crackdown began with 14 sin-bins and three send-offs.

But NRL head of football Graham Annesley on Monday stood by the call for Flegler to only be sin-binned, claiming the crackdown was still on going just with some minor adjustments.

"We have been making small adjustments," Annesley said.

"I'm not going to pretend there haven't been some adjustments to the levers we have to pull to determine what falls into the category of a send-off, sin-bin on report or a penalty.

"There has been an adjustment and I think that is a good thing. We would be crazy if we weren't adjusting to try and get it exactly right.

"But there has been absolutely no lessening of the intent to eliminate careless and reckless high tackles from the game."

Annesley again reiterated the NRL's stance had worked, arguing there was now far less contact with the ball-carrier's head in matches.

In the instance of Yeo, he argued while Flegler was handed a grade-three charge, it had only come after the match review committee requested a medical report on the Penrith captain's concussion.

"It's much harder for the bunker and referee to make a diagnosis on injury," Annesley said.

"I understand the coach having a view it should have been a dismissal. I understand there will be varying views on that.

"(But) I also understand the decision of the match officials."

Meanwhile Annesley said the decision to penalise Canberra's Jordan Rapana for a last-ditch tackle on Parramatta winger Maika Sivo on Thursday night was the right call.

Rapana rushed across to save what would have been a match-winning try on the siren and Annesley maintained there was no issue of a shoulder charge.

He added bunker officials were right to overturn a North Queensland try against Melbourne for an obstruction on Thursday night, after the ball was caught on the inside shoulder of lead runner Shane Wright.

But he ruled a decision to overturn a Storm try moments later incorrect, as Christian Welch had passed through the line before Brandon Smith ran behind him.