NRL Competition Committee: Lots of Rocks, No Diamonds

My word this is becoming tiresome …

The meeting of the Competition Committee yesterday opened the window even further into how slow-moving and oblivious these characters can be.

Many believe the NRL product is good enough to withstand the challenge of rival sports (or, in coming years, the legal system). Then again, people still smoke, smash asbestos without a mask and listen to talkback radio. Surely if there’s no immediate effect there can be no harm? Who wants to think about the future? That seems to be the NRL’s approach.

It’s difficult to describe management of the NRL as having descended into chaos, because while chaos implies some sort of disorder, disorganisation and confusion, it also implies a hectic commotion. The Competition Committee don’t seem to have the energy, inspiration or wisdom to create even the modicum of mayhem that would deserve the epithet ‘chaos’.

This is a cause for great concern, and can only hope that David Smith’s new management structure puts an end to type of drivel served up yesterday.

Consider for a moment that the key issues discussed were Send-offs, Sin Bins and time-wasting. Leaving aside that the Dr solved this before the season even began, it is somewhat of a concern that they are approaching them with a sense of surprise.

One of the most important decisions a referee can make – the Send-off – doesn’t seem to have been ‘workshopped’ in any pre-season – ever – which begs the question why? And the greatest issue in the game right now – player welfare – also appears beyond the Committee’s grasp. They are clearly both related.

NRL.com reports that referees have now ‘been told’ to be more aware of the Send-off option, as if it was only discovered overnight. Presumably, this is what Nathan McGuirk meant when he described the meeting as insightful. What … rehashing stuff that should’ve been sorted years ago? It’s like a People’s Front of Judea meeting!Peoples Frong of Judea

Some poor sod is probably going to get sent off imminently for a completely undeserving reason. As always with NRL referees, it is double up to catch up, meaning you should probably never let them near your self-managed super.

But as soon as Richie Fa’aoso obliges, making the decision an easy one for them, they go to water and slip behind Josh Dragon in the race for the game’s best decision-maker.

They simply do not appear to have a framework or strategy for dealing with the game’s rules or issues.

To suggest now, as NRL.com does, that a player could now face dismissal for a shoulder charge should it be deemed serious enough is a sick and disappointing joke. The NRL had the chance when Fa’aoso first sent Ash Harrison on a one-way ticket to Disneyland.

The spear tackle issue should have been clear. At least a Yellow Card and 10 minutes in the Sin Bin for the first spear tackle, and a second Yellow (ie. Red and sent off) for the next one. If the first was bad enough, it’s a straight Red Card. It’s really quite simple, yet the great announcement yesterday was that foul play is exempt from the Sin Bin. Breathtaking.

Though it’s not as absurd as Brad Fittler’s insinuation, along with Geoff Toovey, that Inglis was somehow implicated in spearing himself. So, not only was Inglis the man on the grassy knoll, he likes to up-end himself and to bury his face in it as well, Gai Waterhouse-style.

These comments are the antithesis of the Jamie Soward Principle – in order to comment on any aspect of rugby league, commentators need to have played NRL with at least the equivalent honours bestowed upon him.

Given the evidence at hand, perhaps the opposite is the case.

The other great leap forward was investigating time-wasting surrounding scrums. Eight minutes is being wasted, no less!

But why restrict it to scrums?

I mean, why should a referee makes different decisions based on the same circumstances just because it’s the 75th minute in a close game, and not the 5th minute? We shouldn’t.

As above, the NRL requires a framework. They need to start by asking what time-off is designed to do (other than related to injury)? The answer: to avoid wasting time.

Time-offs should occur whenever the ball crosses the sidelines, or dead ball lines, resuming with the scrum or drop-out.

Time-offs should begin after each try and last until play resumes with the kick-off (meaning the goal is kicked in time-off).

Scrums related to knock-ons chew up far less time because the players are already assembled. Besides, the referees can blow time-off once either pack has bound.

Why do they try to recreate the wheel and end up with a rock?

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