Daniel Nichols – Golden Point: Yay or Nay?

Last night’s game between Manly and Melbourne reignited the debate on whether or not golden point is a good idea. Twitter lit up with arguments saying it’s the most exciting way to decide a winner whilst others were saying it’s nothing but the penalty shoot-out of rugby league.

Personally I would much rather it be golden try than golden point as usually degenerates into each side snapping field goals from massive distances. Seeing the Australian halfback Cooper Cronk trying to land a field goal from 40 metres was ridiculous.

I’d much rather him look to roll the ball toward the goal line and pin the opposition in their own danger zone and look to force a mistake.

Don’t get me wrong, golden point is exciting. Being a fan of neither side I was brought into the dying moments of the game as the field goals were flying but the mindset seems to be that at the end of every set a field goal attempt must be made regardless of field position.

Five minutes each way probably doesn’t allow a team to get on top in the field position game so I’d suggest making it ten minutes each way with the first try scored automatically ending the game.

I saw plenty of suggestions on twitter that were similar to golden try with the addition that if a team wanted to take a field goal and the extra time period ended without a try being scored then whoever is leading at the time would win the game, assuming a field goal has been kicked. This overcomplicates things for mine hence I’d stick with a first try wins.

Golden try would also hopefully rid the extra time period of the hesitance of referees to blow a justified penalty. Too many times players have left the defensive line early to put pressure on a player looking to take a field goal and the referees are far too worried to award a penalty.

With golden try you’d still get the excitement of golden point without the crazy field goal attempts. Don’t get me wrong I love when a player lands a field goal from 40 out to win a game but the amount of shots that fall well short compared to the times it goes over isn’t favourable.

Robbie Farah mentioned that if a player misses a field goal then the opposition gets the ball from where the field goal was attempted. I don’t mind this but it would be unfair to penalise a player who has had a shot from 40 out only for the ball to come off the cross bar for instance. The fact the player missed by very little shouldn’t cost a team 40 metres. It’ll also be very difficult for the referees to find exactly where the field goal was attempted meaning a break in play to check the video.

Other suggestions included playing until a point is scored. This would be fun but could lead to injuries as players are conditioned to play 80 (or 90) minutes. Without a doubt they could play longer but you’d hate to get 2 or 3 golden point games in a row, it could fatigue an entire side.

Of course the traditional thing would be to leave it as a draw. I have to admit games that end in draws always fall flat BUT I remember the days watching teams throw the ball around to salvage a draw in in the dying seconds and that was exciting, certainly better than working hard to force a draw only to have a fluke field goal from distance cost you the game.

Rugby League at the essence is about scoring tries. This shouldn’t change just because the game ended in a draw after 80 minutes. For mine golden try is the best idea to decide drawn games in extra time. I’m not sure what coaches and players would say about extending the period to ten minutes each way but I’m sure it wouldn’t be a huge concern as drawn soccer finals mean an automatic 15 minutes each way at the completion of a 90 minute game. Personally I don’t know a Rugby League fan who doesn’t think NRL players are fitter and stronger than those playing soccer.

There are numerous suggestions out there, some good, some terrible (i.e. the idea of bringing a player off after every set until it’s a game of rugby 7’s) but for mine the game should be decided by a try. Penalties would still be relevant as it would help with field position/restart of a tackle count and you wouldn’t get 10 minutes of field goals from anywhere and everyone. Golden try encourages attacking footy and that’s what most, if not all league fans want to see.

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