I love Golden Point. Not just The Golden Point Podcast, I also love seeing NRL games decided by a moment of brilliance by one side or the other.
One of the reasons I love Rugby League is its unforgiving, uncompromising nature. There are no excuses to be made, you win or lose, and the final scoreboard does not care who got injured, who made mistakes, or under what circumstances the contest was played.
Games decided by Golden Point extra time are the finest moments of the contest played out in a ruthless manner that magnifies each every single decision players, coaches and officials make. A knock on becomes an absolute disaster. A line break can decide the contest. A solid 12 meter gain by a forward right up the middle of the field can turn into a platform for victory. A field goal by an unlikely player can turn him into a hero.
How can you not enjoy all of that? What type of person would think Golden Point extra time is a bad thing in Rugby League?
NRL coaches, that is who.
The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting today that 15 out of 16 NRL coaches want Golden Point extra time scrapped.
The one coach that doesn’t want Golden Point scrapped? The coach that won the 2015 NRL Grand Final by Golden Point, Paul Green. That says it all about coaches. They only like something if it leads to them being successful.
I have said for many years that if it were up to NRL coaches they would simplify Rugby League to such an extent that games would be decided by a controlled coin flip, with a double sided coin.
Coaches HATE anything that adds unpredictability in the game. They hate anything they can not control. Any time one coach comes up with a new tactic that works against everyone else, every single other coach howls in the media that it is bad for the game and should be stamped out…right before they copy the exact same tactics because all they care about is winning games.
Coaches are the last people on planet earth administrations should be canvassing the opinions of because they all have an agenda. They don’t care about how exciting the game is, they don’t care about it being unpredictable, they don’t care about the players, they don’t care about the fans…they just care about winning games.
If a coach finds he ends up with a playing staff that is terrible at passing and kicking the ball, he would want passing and kicking outlawed. Hell, in recent history we have seen coaches rally against tries scored by kicks simply because some teams had the halfbacks that can kick well and outside backs that can catch the high ball, and they had playing rosters that didn’t have the same ability.
So you can’t rely on coaches for their opinions on what is best for the game. They all have an agenda, and it starts and ends of their own team at any one point in time.
I think the best way to sum up the position of coaches in the NRL comes from a quote by South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire.
“I haven’t spoken to Todd and those guys on the committee but, around the finals, I do agree with what a lot of the coaches are saying,” Maguire said. “It is a game you want to play out to work out who wins rather than having it determined by that one point.”
Because who wants the biggest games of the season decided by who is leading the game by just one point. Lets make it two points…no, four points…actually, lets just name everyone a winner.
Another thing I can’t work out is why Wayne Bennett’s opinion on what is best for the game ever gets followed. The last person on earth who knows about what makes Rugby League exciting is Wayne Bennett.
Is he a proven winner? Yes. Absolutely. Without question. Are his teams fun to watch play the game? Hell no!
Some of the suggested alternatives are completely ridiculous. The stupid obsession with trying to copy anything the NFL does continues. The NFL has some ridiculous rules that are just not natural in the flow of their own games, but for some reasons Rugby League types loves to say “Well the NFL does this so we should too” because they believe it makes them seem like forward thinkers.
I can’t think of too many more stupid scenarios than seeing a team take a one point lead in extra time, and then having to give the opposition a set of six to either try and equal up the scoreline, or then beat them.
Are we really going to try and give a leg up to teams that allow themselves to have points scored against them in extra time? Please…
The suggestion the NRL follows an NHL rule and remove players from the field during extra time is just the most Mickey Mouse idea I have ever seen floated by the “brains trust” that holds swap in the corridors of power at the NRL.
Imagine the confusion with how players leave the field during extra time. Who leaves the field? How is that decided? What happens if a team is about to score a try out wide and the winger has to leave the field right at the moment he is supposed to catch the ball and score in the corner?
How many times would we see one team end up with more players on the field than it should have? What defender is going to leave the field rather than make a game saving tackle? It is the most ludicrous idea I’ve ever heard of and it would make a complete mockery of the sport.
Another thing to consider is that these rule changes get adopted across the entire game. Rugby League can be a pretty simple sport to explain to the uninitiated, but these type of rules changes make it almost impossible to draw in new fans as they are confusing, even to hardcore supporters of the game.
In Golden Point extra time, the first team to score wins the match. Simple. Effective. Exciting.
Can somebody tell me why Rugby League needs to get rid of any of that from the game?
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com