Melbourne Storm prop Christian Welch has come out in defence of his team’s approach, as the club have once again become embroiled in accusations of utilising dangerous tackling techniques.
In last week’s clash against the North Queensland Cowboys, Jason Taumalolo and Kyle Feldt left the field with knee injuries sustained in tackles involving Brandon Smith.
On each occasion, Smith drove into the area just above the knee, before his teammates arrived and maneuvered the Cowboys’ captain and winger in the opposite direction.
The result left both player’s nursing knee complaints, with Taumalolo expected to return after a week on the sidelines, while Feldt faces an extended period out with an MCL tear.
The technique mainly drew criticism from Paul Kent, who on NRL 360 stated that the game “has to act on it… if we are going to see injuries like this.”
It is not the first time that Kent has taken aim at the Storm or their coach Craig Bellamy for their tackling techniques.
“Let me just say this, the grapple tackle, chicken wing, rolling pin, hip drop, crusher, crocodile rolls, cannon balls and ankle twists,” Kent said on NRL 360 in 2021.
“The only constant in Melbourne since 2005 when all those tackles have been brought in and later banned in the game is the head coach Craig Bellamy.”
However, Welch was quick to rubbish the most recent claims and put the incidents down to being purely accidental and not something which is specifically trained.
“It’s the Sydney media bias,” Welch said on SEN’s The Run Home.
“They love to hate the Storm because we’ve had success.
“The first thing I’d say to these journos is come down to Melbourne. They reckon we’re down here scheming and practicing the dark arts – we literally train on a public oval.
“You’re welcome to come and watch but I think they might be disappointed,” he said.
Welch underlined how it was never his, or any of his side’s aim to injure their opponents. He stated that they simply had to tackle tough, otherwise they’d risk injury to themselves.
“Some of these guys like Taumalolo are bloody 115 to 120 kilo’s,” he said.
“If you don’t go hard at these guys, you’re going to get smoked and you’re going to potentially injure yourself…I just find it a bit of a non-story.”