Punish a dropped ball in rugby league
A growing proportion of rugby league fans’ discontent arrives on a weekly basis in the form of contentious decisions by referees.
“The ref cost us the match” is a catch cry you generally hear from bitter fans, especially when games have gone down to the wire.
The knock-on rule, which is one of the most controversial every week, often requires the referee to make a call when he cannot see the incident in the first place.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard fans say: “He knocked that ball on, it didn’t go backwards. Are you blind? A few tackles later you guys scored a try. How much did you pay the ref?”
Could the game afford to lose some of its complexity and conjecture, while helping newcomers to the game more easily develop a better understanding of its laws?
A new rule that allowed for a change over for any dropped ball regardless of whether it is backwards, forwards, or sideways would considerably simplify the game.
A motion that constitutes as a pass would have to be excluded – situations such as a player picking up a ball cleanly after it has bounced after it was passed, or tapping a ball on to a team mate in a sweeping backline movement.
A ball coming into contact with the ground after being tapped back from a kick however, would constitute as a dropped ball under the new rule. This is currently one of my pet hates. A high kick that goes up holds no real reward for the defensive team when taken cleanly – unless the ball is caught in goal.
The offensive team on the other hand can often extend a single arm above their opponent’s attempted catch, to knock the ball backwards and then hope for a result from the ensuing lottery. I see no real skill in this action, and teams continually go to the air for a result when the defensive line proves difficult to breach. It’s messy, time consuming, and often leaves fans bewildered.
Personally I’d rather see a low scoring game, than a match with an inflated score line through iffy tries.
At the end of the day, I believe that a mistake is a mistake. Whether you drop the ball backwards, forwards, or sideways it should constitute as an error. That old cricket analogy could then apply to rugby league as well: Catches win matches.
Passionate about your league? Then sign up to The Roar's brand new daily league email, delivering Roaring articles directly to you day-in, day-out. You'll love it!
Click here to join now!
Looking to join The Roar team? We're searching for an experienced Group Sales Manager to lead our team in Sydney. Yes, this does mean you get to work with the site all day long! If you're a digital media sales star, we want to hear from you. Apply now.