It’s time to punt the dead ball kick in the NRL
James Maloney hit after getting a kick away during the NRL Round 25. AAP Image/Action Photographics/Grant Trouville
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It has become another little trick in a coach’s arsenal. The kick that is launched down field, not with the intention of finding touch, but belted in the hope that it lands in a bloke’s bucket of chips in the first row behind the posts.
Kicking for field position is meant to be an art form, but now it has become yet another tactic employed to slow the game down and reduce the variables.
It makes complete sense.
If you’re in bad field position what is the point in trying to find some open space?
You have to charge down field, often with a disjointed defensive line, while trying to stop a rampaging fullback.
It’s much easier to just thump a kick towards the aforementioned chip consuming patron, take a breather and get the line set.
It’s not exactly thrilling viewing though is it?
The Dragons have used the tactic numerous times in the past.
Last night against the Knights, Jamie Soward did his best to make sure balls launched from his boot went over the head of the dangerous duo of Darius Boyd and Aku Uate.
The Dragons aren’t the only offenders. Most clubs are guilty of using the tactic.
The commission’s general manager of football operations Nathan McGuirk has been pretty efficient when it comes to changing rules that make the game worse.
Hopefully he was watching last night.
It reduces the chances of seeing Billy Slater or Matt Bowen slice through a scattered defensive line. That isn’t good for the game, or those all important television numbers.
Kickers need to be punished for what is effectively time wasting.
If the ball goes dead when kicked from inside the attacking teams own half the opposition should re-start their set on half way instead of the 20m line.
It would be interesting to see how many balls were kicked dead then.
At least then the bloke in the front row could enjoy his chips in peace.
You can follow Luke Doherty on Twitter @Luke_Doherty and on Sky News Australia.