'Stupid' move highlights NRL's biggest problem

2 weeks ago 12
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Superstar Parramatta Eels halfback Mitch Moses sends the ball long.

Queensland Origin enforcer Christian Welch echoed the thoughts of most rugby league fans last week when he posted on social media "please leave our game alone."

The ARL Commission has achieved its goal of speeding up the game over the last 12 months and if any more rule changes are approved by the people in charge, they could ruin the foundations on which rugby league was built in 1908.

The rulebook has stood the test of time and given the way it's being policed at the moment, the league should worry about getting the existing rules right before considering any more additions or alterations.

The late Kerry Packer once famously declared in a House of Representatives committee "since I was a boy, the Australian Government must have passed 10,000 new laws and I don't think it's a better place."

A proposed rule change for kicks was the last straw, says Mark Levy. (NRL Imagery)

Mr Packer went on to say "if you want to pass a new law, why don't you only do it once you've repealed an old one?" "This idea of passing legislation after legislation every time someone blinks is nonsense." The same can be said for rugby league. 

I'm all for new ideas and enhancing the product, however the latest brainchild from the NRL suggested a punishment for teams who deliberately kick into touch.

ARL Commissioner Wayne Pearce told the Herald "sometimes players can't help going into touch or the ball getting passed into touch, but if the ball is deliberately kicked into touch, then there should be some sort of disincentive." As Phil Gould would say, "No, no, no, no, no" and thankfully it WON'T be trialled.

Innovation committee boss Wayne Pearce proposed a seven-tackle set if a kick found touch. (Getty)

If that's the best suggestion from one of the legends of our game who played rugby league in the halcyon days, we're in real trouble. Eighth Immortal Andrew Johns was asked about it on Nine's Friday Night Football coverage and said, "I've never heard anything more stupid in my life.  It's the most stupid thing I've ever heard."

Paul Gallen also weighed in saying, "the game is about field position, is it not? So, when you kick for touch you're better off in defence and you try to bash the opposition to force an error and attack the tryline."

"If you kick it out and give the opposition seven tackles, it's an advantage to them, WHAT ARE WE DOING!"

The ARL Commission needs to start listening to the frustrations of the fans, the people who have played the game and the current crop of players and coaches.

Enough is enough; it's time to hit the reset button.

ARLC boss Peter V'landys. (Getty)

If the league is intent on making the product the best it can be, I've got a suggestion:

Why doesn't the NRL organise a week long conference during the off season and invite some of the most influential people in the game to put forward their suggestions on everything from rules to the match review committee to grassroots footy and the women's game?

We all want what's best for rugby league, so give us a voice.

As much as I respect the men and women on the ARL Commission, we've reached a point where the suits should be making decisions after taking advice from those at the coalface.

Forget about the bean counters and the number crunchers who compile data on a piece of paper which tell you the new rules aren't a contributing factor to the blowout score lines; start talking to the people who play the game, cover the game and love the game.

It's been another challenging season because of the pandemic and my head is still spinning when I think about the six-again rule, the crackdown on high contact and some of the other changes implemented by the NRL.

Leave our game alone.

Let me know what you think by emailing the Wide World of Sports Radio show by clicking on this link: https://form.jotform.co/70601482897867

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