I know it’s been about 20 hours since it last happened in Rugby League but….it’s happening again. THE SKY IS FALLING!!!
When the Canterbury Bulldogs kicked the ball through the defensive line and it’s hit the referee it enacted what is possibly my favourite rule in the entire game.
When the ball hits the referee play is stopped a scrum is packed, and the attacking team gets the loose head and feed.
I love this rule because it is an old rule that has remained untouched for a very long time. It is a rule that was put in place to make the best of an unfortunate set of circumstances on the field.
Now, after the match, Bulldogs players claimed that they had talked all week about using this tactic to retain possession. My guess is they said it tongue in cheek. That hasn’t stopped an overreaction by some people in the media however as they started fear mongering that we would now see teams kicking the ball at referees to get repeat sets of six.
A media campaign pushing for rule changes based on a single event, whoda thunk et!
I absolutely hate rules changes. I despise them with a passion! Rugby League is a really great game that doesn’t have too many issues. Still, we get the media pressuring the NRL, who then asks coaches what they want, then we get suits trying to justify their existence by forming committees who ALWAYS come to the conclusion that rule changes need to be made.
How about we just play to the damn rules of Rugby League!
If a team can get one set of six in a match because they kicked the ball at the referee, good luck to them. I would also say this however…
Good luck to the player who blatantly kicks a ball at a referee. It’s one think to grubbed the ball through and see it brush the referee, it’s another thing entirely if the referee feels he has been targeted by a kicker deliberately. If that started to be the case we may see some very harsh action taken against a player simply because all referees at all levels deserve to be protected by players and officials.
Something else to consider is that referees are smart. They love the game. They know the rule book inside and out. They know Rugby League better than most people and they see it up close and personal on a weekly basis.
If referees start to feel as though kickers are aiming for them they will simply position themselves better. They will make themselves a very difficult target, get well out of the way of kickers, position themselves behind defenders, and cut the chances of being hit by the ball down to almost zero.
So, would you want your teams general kicker to be trying to find the referee to kick the ball at, or would you rather him just put the best kick he possibly can in? I know which one I’d rather see!
I hope that the NRL, for once, backs the rules of Rugby League and insists they won’t be changed. When one single occurrence that is about as rare as a penalty try happens, it is hardly time to start tearing sections out of the rule book once again.
The rules are fine. They don’t need changed. There isn’t a crisis. The media is full of shit. Life goes on. Go you mighty Panthers.
I think we can all agree on that!
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