Dave Craven: Enigma Chase has damaged reputation with cynical attack

Salford Red Devils' Rangi Chase
Salford Red Devils' Rangi Chase
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BARELY a few weeks after clips of that remarkable pass went viral, its enactor is going the same way again but for all the wrong reasons.

Now, for the foreseeable future, all people will talk about instead is that tackle. Welcome to the enigma that is Rangi Chase.

Part of the reason there has been so many replays watched of the Salford player’s wonderful skill when setting up Josh Griffin’s try against Hull FC in February is that viewers had to watch it again just to see what he actually did as, firstly, it was so extraordinary and, secondly, so swiftly delivered.

Now realising what was coming, they probably wanted another look to be able to savour all its beauty with knowing eyes. It was no surprise more than a million people eventually witnessed it.

Yet now the same player, one of the most gifted I’ve seen play live, has lost many of his admirers following a piece of cynical foul play that has left many in the game – and outside of it, no doubt – completely disgusted.

The attack on Brett Ferres’ leg, and that’s just what it was so let’s forget the RFL’s ‘dangerous throw’ description, was a simply horrendous challenge.

Challenge is perhaps the wrong word, too, as that suggests two players were competing.

Huddersfield second-row Ferres was stood up, motionless, in a two-man tackle when Chase cheaply dived down at his prone lower leg to bring him to the ground.

In targeting the player’s joint, though, the laws of physics deem there was an inevitable painful conclusion awaiting for Ferres, who is now facing up to four months sidelined after his ankle ligaments were wrecked by a man who was his team-mate at Castleford for almost four years before going on to represent England together in the 2013 World Cup.

It is understood Ferres was far from ready to accept Chase’s attempts at an apology in the bar afterwards. Understandably so.

Those who have viewed footage of the incident in Good Friday’s game will not, in this case, be pressing the play button twice, certainly if they have seen the angle shown from the club’s own eye-watering shots of the ugly act. What stunned me, more than anything, was Chase appeared to almost circle his opponent like a wolf circling a wounded beast, looking for the tastiest piece of meat.

He had so much time to assess the situation and it is hard to imagine what was going through his mind when opting to do what he did. Or how he pleaded not guilty.

Chase has received a seven-game ban but I’d hate to know what he’d have to do earn the full eight-match penalty and, regardless, he will still be back playing long before the stricken Ferres.

Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson and Leeds Rhinos counterpart Brian McDermott have labelled the tackle as “cowardice” and questioned why some clubs adopt a cheap tactic.

The reason is to slow the play-the-ball down, to shave off another presumably vital second, although some would argue it is to actually inflict pain on opponents. Either way, the game really doesn’t need it and shouldn’t put up with it.

This is the perfect opportunity to ban the perpetrator for as long as the player he injured is sidelined.

Then, and only then, might players think twice.