The Hypocrisy Of NRL Coaches And A Look At Wrestling

I don’t need to hear from Rugby League coaches any more.

Coaches are cheats and liars. The don’t care about anything other than winning their next game. They have no interest in what is best for the game overall, they don’t care about their opposition, in fact they really don’t care about their players either.

All they care about is trying to put in place the circumstances they want that they think will win games for them.

Now you understand where NRL coaches are coming from, maybe you can understand why they say the things they say.

No NRL coach has ever coached a team to a loss. They were screwed by the referee. The opposition team used illegal tactics. The draw was unfair. The ball they use is too slippery during night time football. Its the bloody salary cap. It was also the media. Then again, fan expectation is probably too high.

Do you see my point?

I’ve always found it strange that coaches have any say on the rules of the game and the way the game is generally played.

From a coaches point of view, they are looking to cut down on variables that could effect their chances of winning a game. That means that when it comes to changing rules, obviously coaches want to cut back on any parts of the game that they feel they can not control.

The Sin Bin is a great example…

Coaches think that a 10 minute sin bin is way too harsh, and it should be cut back to 5 minutes. What they would like is to be able to is instruct players to give away professional fouls, normally in the act of stopping an opposition players from scoring a try, and not have too much of an effect on their teams own performance.

Scrums are another area that shows coaches up. The same coaches that will claim the game is boring are the ones that refuse to attack from a scrum. They go one pass off the scrum and that is the end of it. Get tackled, try and get a quick play the ball. That is a variable you can control far more than a sweeping attacking play.

Wrestling is a great area of hypocrisy among coaches in the NRL. Lets take a look at wrestling a moment…

Try explaining the act of tackling in Rugby League without using the word “Tackle” or “Wrestle”.

The basic idea is that you stop a players forward progress and kill the ball at the same time. You stop the offload and isolate the player, and therefore the ball, which allows you to concentrate your defense on that much smaller area of the field. Then, you drag the player to the ground, ideally. All of this happens in a matter of seconds.

Before Rugby League or even Rugby Union existed, the sports that they formed from used a situation changing method of wrestling a ball handler to the ground to enact a change of game situation.

When people talk about “Wrestling”, what they are describing is the act that you come across when you have professional Rugby League players who are far more effective at tackling than we have ever seen at any other point in the games history.

What was once called a “tackle that cut him in half”, something that has been valued in Rugby League since 1895, is the exact same thing as a double takedown, a more you see in wrestling and MMA. Don’t believe me? Take a look:

If you went back to 1908 and attended a training session with any Rugby League team anywhere in the world at that time, they would be practicing that exact move….not calling it wrestling, they would be calling it tackle practice.

They are the same thing. A tackle is the art of stopping a players forward progress and wrestling him to the ground. That has always been the case, right back to the games formation.

With full time professionalism, every area of the game has improved. Smart coaches 15 years ago started to look at ways to tackle more effectively. They looked at ways players could improve the way they controlled an attacking players momentum. They looked at how to tackle players in a way that it took them longer to get up and play the ball, buying crucial seconds for their defensive line to get set.

We all know, and have always know, that for a defense, the best tackle you can make is when you take a player off his feet, drive him backwards, and have him land flat on his back. If you do that, you have won that ruck. The attacking player will take longer to get to his feet and then play the ball.

In attack, we know that if you can push through a defense, gain the momentum advantage, and then get tackled on your stomach, you will usually win that ruck. It means the defense is back pedaling, and it allows you to stand much quicker to your feet and play the ball very fast.

These two things have been keys to victory in Rugby League even since we have had a play the ball.

Wrestling is not a new thing. Wrestling is tackling. In a game where full time professionalism is the norm and the contest within a tackle is so crucial to overall success, of course tackling with be one area where specialized coaching is used.

You want to know why teams use “Wrestling coaches” rather than former players who were good defenders these days? Because “Wrestling coaches’ coach take down techniques for a living! They know how to teach key aspects of a tackle and can articulate what works and what doesn’t work far better than former players can.

The best part is, every single club uses “wrestling coaches”. All of these coaches that are whinging about Wrestling, what they are really upset about is that their side is losing the ruck. They are not about to sack their own “wrestling coach” or try to revolutionize the game. They can’t. Tackling is wrestling. This idea that you can “ban wrestling” is stupid because you’d basically be banning tackling!

Right now, the NRL has a great balance in the way the game is played. The balance between attack and defense is fantastic. The teams that are winning games by big margins, they are not taking advantage of rules that disadvantage the defense, they are winning because they are dominating the contest physically and backing that up with brilliant skill.

The teams at the bottom of the table that are losing games, they are the ones that are being beaten up front. The have poor go forward in attack and in defense they are being dominated by the opposition.

That is not wrestling…..that has been Rugby League ever since a bunch of clubs met at the George Hotel in Huddersfield in 1895.

Yet, here we are in 2012 and we have a bunch of coaches, all of who coach teams that are losing, whinging about Wrestling and demanding rule changes because the game is supposedly boring.

How ridiculous!

This is why coaches should not be involved in any way in setting the games rules. They only care about their own self interests and if they had their way, they would dumb Rugby League down to a contest that was nothing but a coin toss….probably with a double sided coin!

So as the media does it typical hysterical act and tries to sensationalize every angle possible, and coaches piss and moan about things they can’t control, just use your own eyes and a bit of common sense.

The game is great. The game is exciting. Anyone that thinks the game is boring needs to stop watching teams at the bottom of the ladder playing each other, and start watching the best sides who are playing fantastic football.

It has been that way since 1895 too…

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