Ban-magnet Sivo vows to fine-tune tackle technique

Jasper Bruce |

Parramatta’s Maika Sivo (right) has vowed to clean up his game as he returns from another ban.
Parramatta’s Maika Sivo (right) has vowed to clean up his game as he returns from another ban.

Maika Sivo has vowed to change his tackling technique as he prepares to return from yet another suspension for a shot gone wrong.

Parramatta winger Sivo collected AJ Brimson high during a pre-season challenge match against Gold Coast and found himself banned for the first three rounds of the season.

Ordinarily a player would only miss two games for a grade-two careless high-tackle charge – but Sivo’s extensive rap sheet meant he spent another week watching from the sidelines despite pleading guilty to the offence.

A similar high tackle rubbed Sivo out of four games late last season as the Eels battled to hold onto their spot in the top eight.

By the time the Fiji international returned in round 25, Parramatta had dropped to 10th on the ladder. They never rose any higher.

In total, the match review committee has charged Sivo seven times since the beginning of last season.

Eels teammate Dylan Brown put Sivo on notice after his latest ban, saying it was “not acceptable” to repeatedly let the side down with his discipline.

Heeding that warning, Sivo has been putting in extra work with defence coach Steve Antonelli.

“I just have to change my tackling technique and go from there,” he said.

“I’ve been practising after every session with our defence coach. I’ve been improving and can’t wait to get back.”

It was cold comfort for Sivo that his latest suspension had occurred early in the season, after he was rubbed out at a crucial juncture in 2023.

Grand finalists in 2022, the Eels have showed flashes of their best during a 2-1 start to the season that has them sixth on the ladder.

“I don’t want to be on the outside watching the boys play,” Sivo said.

“I wish I was out there, but … I have to keep working on my technique.”

The Eels are expected to name Sivo on the left wing for their traditional Easter Monday clash against Wests Tigers.

Blaize Talagi, who made his NRL debut in last week’s win over Manly, appears likeliest to drop out of the side.