NRL's worst grapplers revealed By Dean Ritchie and Dave Donaghy | August 01, 2008 12:00am http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sport/nrl/story/0,26799,24108887-5006066,00.html ANGRY Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy last night claimed his maligned club had been "unfairly singled out" as being rugby league's worst offenders for using the notorious grapple tackle. The Daily Telegraph can reveal the NRL match review committee has looked at 214 incidents this season where players used unnecessary contact with the head and neck. But Melbourne, the apparent grapple tackle kings, were not the worst offenders - they finished fourth. Wests Tigers were reviewed 20 times for wrestling tackles around the head ahead of South Sydney (19) and the Bulldogs (17). After Melbourne (16) came the Sydney Roosters and Canberra (both 15). Newcastle and Penrith were the best behaved, having just eight reviewed incidents. Bellamy claims the statistics prove conclusively his players are not the only offenders in the NRL. "It doesn't surprise me those figures. Hopefully people might be able to see now that we've been unfairly singled out," Bellamy said. "I think it's mainly because it's this time of year and other teams are trying to get us under more scrutiny than their teams when we play them. "We're certainly not at the bottom but we ain't up the top either and there are plenty of teams around us. "I don't know what coaches are saying now but I'm sure it will come out again to get officials to put more scrutiny on us. "It happens every year and it always seems to come from the coaches (whose teams) we're playing in a couple of weeks." Dragons coach Nathan Brown launched an extraordinary attack on Melbourne last week, claiming their niggling tactics and use of wrestling techniques would lead rival clubs to become vigilantes. Bellamy has long defended his side over the grapple - a word which causes him great angst. "The grapple, here we are, everyone just thinks that, according to other coaches and the media, we're the only ones that ever hold around the head and neck area," Bellamy said. "And here we are sitting fourth or fifth. There's not much in it but the stats don't surprise me. "Most people, if you read the papers, they would be expecting us to be on top by a mile. "I've never ever said we're squeaky clean. I've never made that out. "But there's a couple (of other clubs) in this top area I thought would be in the top area. "As I said, every bloke would think we'd have 30 (incidents reviewed) and the next club would have two, something ridiculous like that." Wests Tigers assistant coach and former Test hooker Royce Simmons was astounded his team finished first and claimed they never wrestle around the head or neck. "That blows my mind. If anything I think we're too clean," Simmons told The Daily Telegraph. "I'm very surprised because we don't hold down anyone. Even referees say we jump off (tackles) too early. "That is what they tell us. "We don't practise touching the head. We practise getting numbers in tackles and slowing things down. Everyone does." Souths' Jason Taylor said there were numerous reasons that a player in a tackle might end up holding or touching the head of an opponent. "It has nothing to do with wrestling," Taylor said last night. "It could just be that a player is sidestepped. "The issue is more about the grapple and whether coaches coach the wrestle to immobilise a player. "A lot of those might be while the player is still on his feet. It means absolutely nothing to me." Penrith chief executive Mick Leary called for all wrestling coaches in rugby league to be banned. "It (finishing equal last) is testimony to the way the game should be played," Leary said yesterday. "We don't attack the head or neck and I think it's time for all wrestling coaches to be thrown out of the game. "We think it is a great result." Despite the stats, Melbourne will no doubt be under scrutiny over the grapple again tonight when they play the Gold Coast Titans at Olympic Park.