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The SMJFL is proud to present the Dangerous Tackle Initiative for 2016. This initiative was developed by one of the SMJFL Clubs and has been unanimously supported by the SMJFL and all 26 SMJFL Clubs. The initiative will be a 1-year trial in 2016 with a review to take place post-season with an eye for full-time implementation for 2017 & beyond. While the SMJFL currently has a very low amount of concussions and/or serious injuries, the league firmly believes that this initiative, when applied correctly by Club Coaches, will improve the safety of all players within the competition.


The Dangerous Tackle initiative has been developed as a player development and educational tool, to improve players awareness of when they have performed a dangerous tackle or action. This is a self-assessment tool, so Clubs will only monitor their own players. Clubs and supporters are not to comment on the opposition Club’s tackling. The benefits of this proposal are that the player receives immediate feedback on their tackle being dangerous and can use this information for tackling in the future.

Additionally, this initiative reinforces the role of the Coach, which is to teach players to tackle correctly and ensure they play in a safe manner which is within the rules & spirit of the game.

Dangerous Tackle Guidelines – How To Apply:

Should a coaching team witness a dangerous tackle being applied (or other significant unsportsmanlike behaviour) by a member of their team, the coach is to remove the player from the ground immediately and counsel the player about how why the tackle was dangerous and how it may have caused injury to the opposition player. This is to be done regardless of whether the umpire or other official pays a free kick or applies another sanction at the time. The player will be free to return to the field of play once the coach has delivered the message. This does not have to be a lengthy period of time, for example a coach may be able to remove the player and reinstate them to the playing field within a matter of minutes. This is to be applied to significant cases of unsportsmanlike behaviour or significant unduly rough tackles, as per the current definitions. Other behaviour can still be addressed or reinforced at the normal match breaks.

The purpose of this guideline is to reinforce behaviour standards and expectations and to ensure that players play the game in the true spirit of the contest and lead by example in the manner which the SMJFL expects all teams and players to play the game. This is an SMJFL guideline and there is no intention that your Club approach other teams during the game to address opposition play. However we encourage team managers to discuss the guideline, particularly as it applies to dangerous or unduly rough play/ tackles, with the opposition Team Manager prior to the commencement of the game; to set the standard for all players. We would also encourage both coaches to address their teams (individually) prior to the match to reinforce the standards, and raise awareness of unduly rough or dangerous tackles.

An unduly rough or dangerous tackle (such as a sling tackle or driving a player into the ground with arms pinned) is defined as a tackle that is likely to be illegal (as defined in Laws of the Game) and/or will cause injury to an opposition player.

We strongly encourage all Clubs, coaches, players & parents to read and support this initiative in 2016.


Jake McCauley

General Manager