James Tedesco has called for changes to the NRL’s 18th-man policy to allow concussion replacements to be made easier, after admitting he felt helpless in the sheds as the Sydney Roosters’ season ended without almost any reserves.
Tedesco suffered a match-ending concussion in Sunday afternoon’s brutal elimination loss to South Sydney, after copping a high shot from Rabbitohs prop George Burgess.
WATCH IN THE VIDEO ABOVE: More on ‘sin bin Sunday’ as a record number of players sent off
Watch the latest sport on Channel 7 or stream for free on 7plus >>
Burgess was put on report but not sin-binned for the act, however he has since pleaded guilty to a grade-two careless high tackle charge and will miss two matches over the hit.
Tedesco had initially passed an off-field test on his health, but began to feel dizzy when returning from the dressing room and was immediately ruled out of the game under concussion protocols.
The Roosters fullback was still experiencing headaches on Monday before he won the Brad Fittler Medal for NSW’s State of Origin player of the year.
Tedesco’s injury contributed to a horror afternoon for the Roosters, who also lost Angus Crichton to a separate concussion in the first half and then Daniel Tupou to a groin issue.
However under NRL rules the 18th-man replacement can only be activated when the injury is a result of a sin-bin or send-off offence, or when three HIAs have been failed.
It meant the Roosters could not use their replacement and add another man to their stretched backline, despite Burgess being sin-binned for another high shot a minute later and now banned.
Tedesco has called for the NRL to look at lowering the bar for a concussion substitute when the head knock comes as a result of reportable foul play.
“If it’s a reportable offence and the player misses is out for the rest of the game, then that could be an option for him to be activated,” Tedesco said.
“It would have been handy.
“We had two HIAs and another injury. It would have been nice to get him activated.”
Tedesco did not drink at the Roosters’ Mad Monday event on the day after the loss, reporting he was still feeling dusty.
It also put him in a fine state to accept all three major men’s awards at the NSW Origin dinner, including player of the year, coach’s choice and fans’ choice.
The Roosters captain admitted he struggled watching the team’s finals exit as he conceded they got too caught up in the emotion of a game that involved seven sin-bins.
“I was devastated I couldn’t get back in the game,” Tedesco said.
“It was one of the craziest games I’ve been involved in … it felt like it went for three hours.
“It was not how we wanted to play. We got too emotionally involved and it was to our detriment in the end.
“We bought into the emotional stuff, which was what we didn’t want to do.”