Rugby League is a sport that is fairly unique in the sense that the games tactics can change organically over time without the need for rule changes or artificial pressures forcing the game in one direction or the other.
Rugby League has a set of rules that allows for a variety of attacking and defensive tactics that can be applied by different teams at different times, catering to player personnel and general trends in the game, and it allows the sport to change naturally over time.
With that in mind, nothing frustrates me more than when the NRL decides it needs to change the rules of the game every five minutes. It is almost as though suits at NRL headquarters are trying to justify their existence by having a new meeting every few weeks about what they can change in a sport that is just fine the way it is.
This isn’t helped at all by whinging coaches, who have never lose a single game due to their own terrible decisions or by the mistakes their own players have made throughout games, or by the media who are reactionary in the extreme, and who are so confused themselves about some of the rules of the game that you are left yelling at your TV screen and asking why someone can make a living talking about a sport they don’t event know the rules of!
The latest rule under fire is Golden Point Extra Time in the NRL Finals series. Because, you know, everyone absolutely hates exciting finishes to finals matches where everything is on the line and it can all be decides by one terrific play.
The brilliant idea being put forward by the suits and idiots in the media is that a team could go ahead by a field goal in Golden Point Extra Time, but that wouldn’t win them the game. A penalty goal or a try could win the match, but actually going ahead on the scoreboard because you earned field position and had the ability to score more points than the opposition with a field goal….no, that won’t count.
This type of stupid idea could very easily see a team move ahead of its opponent early on in extra time, only for the game to continue for another 20 minutes. What the hell is the point of that?
You could also see one team take an early lead, only to lose the game because the opposition scores a try. It would effectively kill any reason you would kick a field goal in extra time, and that to be takes out a fundamental part of the game that has been in existence for over a century.
That is not even mentioning the fact that you could win a game with a field goal after the 80th minute siren, only for that very same act a minute later to be worth pretty much nothing at all.
It is not up the the games suits, or whinging coaches, to change the values of the game. It is not up to any of them to say one skill-set or tactic is preferable over the other. In the same way that it was completely ludicrous that some were suggesting tries that come from kicks should be devalued, the idea of nerfing Field Goals in the biggest games of the year is just as unnatural and ridiculous.
Stop messing with Rugby League’s rules. There is nothing wrong with the game. Stop making the rule book a moving tactic. Stop confusing players and supporters with unnecessary tweaking of the rules. Stop putting referees under pressure by having to remember new rules every six months and then being attacked for enforcing the new rules of the game.