The Tuesday NRL Rubdown – The Dr’s Top 5 from Round 7

Speaka da Inglis?

The Daily Telegraph asks:

“Is it more important to protect NRL stars from foul play or risk ruining “the spectacle” by sending a player from the field?”

What’s being lost in translation here? Because it’s hard to believe this question is even being asked. In an era of third party liability where falling off the monkey bars is grounds for a lawsuit, when does the NRL begin to appreciate its legal commitments and duty of care?

Failing to use the send-off for a second spear tackle on Greg Inglis on Friday was a monumental mistake. Talking about ‘ruining the spectacle’, or even the suggestion of replacing dismissed players, have no place in a rational discussion. Particularly in 2013.

If coaches allow players to engage such practices without personal sanction, then they deserve to face the consequence of being a player short.

Rugby league is big business more than ever before, and handicapping yourself is bad business.

It’s time for the NRL to stand up and activate one of those management silos.

Sin Bins and Concrete Boots

The Sin Bin is being talked about as if it is some new invention. Yet, 95% of respondents to an online survey agree it should be used, and our referees Messiah can only agree that it’s in the rule book. Welcome to the proactive world of the NRL.

The survey doesn’t mention yellow and red cards, but why they are not being used is a mystery.

Further, restricting the Sin Bin to professional fouls, and not foul play, is just dense.

Daniel Anderson claims to not be in concrete loafers with respect to making changes, but the evidence is to the contrary. He and the NRL are slow to act, slow to react, and unimpressive in identifying key principles on which to build their approach.

So he’s going to ‘table it’ this Thursday to the Competition Committee? The 2nd of May, 2013 … Round 8 …? You have to be joking. It’s 2012 all over again.

Penalties – are they increasing?

PenaltiesDespite the claim that penalties are increasing across the competition, the evidence suggests otherwise. That is, there is no systematic trend to speak of. Consider:

– The first 3wks each had over 100 penalties blown, averaging 111 per week and peaking in Round 2 at 121.
– The following 3wks were all under 100, the lowest being 84 in Round 4 and averaging 89. You might say penalties were systematically ‘decreasing’.
– Last week’s aggregate penalty count of 124 stands out against the prior 3wks, but is near enough the same as Round 2.
– Moreover, the fortnightly moving average sits at 107 vs a weekly average of 103.

Conclusion: penalties aren’t systematically increasing.

Roosters – Myth or Reality?

The poor old Roosters are a team that NRL supporters love to hate, much like Manly for many years. This year’s performances are therefore being greeted with scepticism. After all, they’ve only played the bludgers, right?

It is quite clear they have improved each week, and since steeping up a gear or three in Round 4, they have averaged 36 points per match. They can only play what is in front of them, and they have been impressively dominant and business-like, quite unlike Roosters teams of recent years.

The Rabbitohs in Round 1 was a tough initiation for an almost completely new structure, and they were taught what Top-4 footy is all about. Since then, they have conceded just 8 points per game. Anyone unhappy about that is hard to please.

Moreover, despite that loss, and the surprising late loss to the Raiders, the Roosters score only 1 point less than the Storm per match on average (and who are unbeaten), and concede 4 less – ie. Their ‘For & Against’ is the best in the NRL.Top 8 For and Against

In fact, they are either first or second place in such metrics as defence, line breaks, errors and tries.

Roosters fans can rest easy. They are Top-4 all the way.

Notice the Knights in the chart above? They won’t be under the radar for long.

Basic skills

JabberjawSharks aren’t well suited to passing the ball. A lack of opposable thumbs on their flippers is a dead giveaway.

Still, even Jabberjaw might have made a better fist of the classic draw and pass than Stapleton and Pomeroy could muster on the weekend. It literally cost them the game.

Passing 10 metres in front of the man you are trying to draw is bad enough, but passing the ball along the ground or 5 metres behind your support is never going to meet with success.

As a thought, it you smashed these two into Ben Roberts in the Large Hadron Collider at 99.9% the speed of light, might we discover the long theorised ‘clown particle’?

Aside from the issue that coach Shane Flanaghan would prefer to deliver these two to ASADA with a ‘Do Not Return’ sticker is the broader issue of basic skills in the game (recall the Roosters having similar disasters in the first few rounds).

The modern player is a colossus of chiselled muscle and endurance, but has athleticism taken away from practicing fundamentals and basic skills?

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