Cameron Smith says the NRL's attempts to eliminate the shoulder charge from the game hasn't worked and has only served to create confusion amongst the playing ranks.

The Melbourne captain said the suspensions handed out to Newcastle's Kade Snowden (seven weeks) and Canterbury's Frank Pritchard (two weeks) were further evidence of the haphazard nature of the NRL's attempted crackdown on the outlawed tackle this season.

Speaking on Fox Sports' NRL 360 Smith said he agreed dangerous tackles needed to be punished but believed the NRL match committee hadn't been consistent in dealing with shoulder charges while also neglecting other tackles like the `cannonball'.

"This whole shoulder stuff has been a grey area all season," Smith said.

"I agree with a lot of other comments over the weekend that there were probably worse than that (Snowden's tackle).

"The gradings are hard to understand.

"I said at the start of the year why couldn't we have kept it ... that if you hit someone in the head, whether they are hurt or they bounce back up it's an automatic five weeks."

North Queensland hooker Ray Thompson copped a broken jaw after being hit by Snowden's shoulder in Townsville on the weekend but Queensland and Australian skipper Smith said he agreed with sentiments that Pritchard's tackle on South Sydney centre Bryson Goodwin, who was left largely unhurt, looked worse.

"I think as a game we do react to injury or how spectacular something something looks," Smith said.

The cannonball tackle, in which a stationary ball carrier is hit at or below the knee by a third defender while being held by two other defenders, has sparked the ire of many in the game.

Penrith supremo and Nine Network commentator Phil Gould has led calls to have the controversial tackle banned.

Smith said that was another area the NRL had failed to police properly and nominated an early season tackle on Storm teammate Ryan Hinchcliffe, which resulted in a six week lay off due to injury to the utility but went unnoticed by the NRL match review committee, as an example.

 

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