The NRL Round 8 Rubdown – The Joy of Six

Golden Point – What’s the Point?
Michael Hagan is absolutely correct. Enough of the glorified half-time-style entertainment known as Golden Point, where two teams play eye-scratchingly boring football for up to 10 minutes in the mindless pursuit of nothing more than a field goal, and risking injury in doing so.

End it already! It's late!

End it already! It’s late!

It’s a development I have never supported, simply because it doesn’t reward a team for their efforts over 80 minutes of intense competition.

The idea that a draw is abhorrent is akin to Cricket Australia’s obsession with having an all-rounder. Neither makes sense.

The Sharks and Knights served up a veritable dogs’ breakfast of field goal attempts on Saturday in Golden Point, taking the farce to a new level, while the only truly majestic field goal was kicked by the Warriors’ Shaun Johnson in regulation time. Now that is how you kick a drop goal!

The Johnson ‘tap’
The Warriors were incorrectly awarded a try when Shaun Johnson tapped a ball forward over a defender’s head on the weekend, setting up their hard-fought win. Depending on the mood of the referee on any given day, or their forgetfulness of yet another very basic rule, this type of incident can go either way.

The fact is that it’s a poor rule anyway. The player is deemed to be in control of the ball when fumbling, and a legitimate target for the defence. It should be exactly the same in this instance. It’s a low percentage play which most times it will be knocked-on anyway.

Manly thumb their noses at stats
Manly’s Missed Tackle percentage last night was twice as high as normal, they had less than 42% of Possession, made less than 1100 metres in attack while their opposition made about 1500, and yet still won.

Like Parramatta, superhuman efforts can win games (or come close in Parramatta’s case), but will not sustain a winning record in the long term. They will have to be better against the Roosters next Monday. They know stats like last night’s won’t be good enough, even for the Roosters who they invariably beat. Then again …. it is Manly, after all.

Decoys and Obstruction (or why the Storm were rightfully denied a try)

Ahh, there it is ... you have a Jason Ryles in your pulmonary artery ... I'll book you in for a Videorefscopy

Ahh, there it is … you have a Jason Ryles in your pulmonary artery … I’ll book you in for a Videorefscopy

The Dr’s position on obstruction has always been that it cannot be a rules-based decision. There needs to a context applied, the sole objective being to adjudicate whether a defender was impeded from preventing a try.

When Jason Ryles thundered into a Raiders defender on Saturday, the Storm was correctly denied a try based on obstruction, though opinion seems to be mixed. I don’t know why.

A bad read in defence is a bad read – period. It is not obstruction provided the collision and actual ball-runner passing through the gap are instantaneous. The Ryles example occurred well ahead of the next phase of the set play, denying the defender the opportunity to ‘rebalance’ himself in the defensive line, and hence, no try.

Bantering with Referees
Last night Bill Harrigan noted the increasing engagement of referees in long-winded diatribes, but it’s not like it’s a new development. It is pervasive across the NRL, and clearly a coach-directed tactic to … you guessed it … waste time in pressure situations (with the exception of Jarryd Hayne, where it’s all about the comedy).

I’m yet to see a captain stop the referee when his team is on a roll, for instance, but I have seen them bring up ancient history when the opposition is on the attack. Seriously, they have a memory like my wife in these instances, and the referees seem as helpless as me in trying to stabilise the situation.

The Competition Committee went down the wrong path again last week. They didn’t identify the problem (wasting time), preferring to restrict the concept to scrums. It makes no sense, but is akin to the shoulder charge rule where they missed the actual issue (head contact). And hasn’t that worked out well?

Postscript
Referees – you wouldn’t feed them, would you? This is a blog all of its own, but how can a video ref miss a blatant knock-on? And how do two on-field referees miss so many shockingly forward passes?

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