Big fines follow concussion protocol breaches
THE Gold Coast Titans have been handed one of the heaviest fines in NRL history for breaching the new concussion guidelines for failing to substitute three players in Friday's win over Parramatta.
The NRL has today issued breach notices with fines totalling $350,000 for allegedly failing to follow the concussion protocols in round three.
Gold Coast were the hardest hit, with $150,000 for incidents involving Kane Elgey, Joe Greenwood and Ryan Simpkins.
The Titans were already battling an enormous injury crisis ahead of the Parramatta game and after losing winger William Zillman to a calf strain early in the clash the Gold Coast were forced into major reshuffles of their playing line-up.
All three Titans players finished Friday's 26-14 win over the Eels, but the NRL believe all should have been taken from the field to undergo mandatory concussion testing at some stage in the game after sustaining head knocks.
St George Illawarra was handed a $100,000 fine for an incident involving Josh Dugan and Newcastle were also hit with a $100,000 fine for an incident involving fullback Brendan Elliot.
"These are, by far, the heaviest fines ever proposed by the game for concussion breaches,” NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said.
"That is how seriously we take it.
"The clubs involved have the opportunity to respond to the Breach Notices, and we will consider those responses, but our message is clear - we are not going to allow player safety to be put at risk through breaches of the concussion rules.”
Greenberg said the NRL had put significant resources into concussion training and education.
"In the majority of cases we see strong compliance with the League's concussion rules but it appears that this did not happen at the weekend in some matches and we cannot stand by and allow player safety to be put at risk,” he said.
"Where we believe the rules have been breached we will take action - and we would hope that these Breach Notices will serve as a warning to all clubs.”
The clubs have five business days to respond to the breach notices.