Five things we learned from NRL round 16
What did we learn from round 16 of the 2012 NRL Season? Here’s the five big talking points from last round.
The ‘separation’ rule for scoring a try is a joke
Can we please go back to the days of seeing a rugby league winger (or a footballer of any position for that matter) only be awarded a try when he has control over the ball? In the seventh minute against the Canberra Riaders on Saturday night at Dairy Farmers Stadium, Cowboys winger Ash Graham was awarded one of the most nonsensical tries you will ever see.
Despite clearly viewing that Graham had lost control of the ball over the line as he was hit by Canberra’s opposing winger Edrick Lee, the video ref awarded the try to Graham because he deemed that there was no separation between his finger and the ball as the ball made contact with the in-goal area.
It is not the video ref who should be criticised but rather the NRL for having the separation rule which allows players who have clearly lost control of the ball to score a try. The NRL must fix this rule next season. The rule, as it currently stands, is an insult to the intelligence of rugby league fans around the country.
Blink and you missed it
The South Sydney versus Brisbane game on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium was one of the quickest games in the NRL this season. Despite being victims to two clear refereeing mistakes (an incorrectly ruled strip and a forward pass which led to a Broncos try in each instance) the Rabbitohs were clearly second best against a more mobile and incredibly slick Broncos outfit, eventually going down 26-12.
Brisbane ultimately played more intelligently as they completed 33/43 sets, compared to 22/36 from Souths. The Broncos were far more dominant physically with and without the ball. Souths turned over a mountain of possession, which combined with the fast nature of the game, resulted in an exhausted Rabbits outfit conceding three tries in the final quarter of the game. It was the Broncos’ 21st victory from 27 games against the boys from Redfern.
Is it over yet?
What happens when two of the dullest teams in the NRL come up against each other? NRL fans had to sit through a very poor quality and dour game of rugby league at WIN Stadium as the St George-Illawarra Dragons (averaging 14.5 points scored and 17.2 points conceded per game) took on the Gold Coast Titans (averaging 16.7 points scored and 18.1 points conceded per game).
Rather unpredictably, two of the most impotent attacking teams and miserly defensive units in the NRL played out a forgettable 8-6 scoreline. For those who didn’t manage to stay awake until the end, the Dragons won.
Nathan Hindmarsh is one of the most inspirational leaders in the NRL
We already know that Nathan Hindmarsh has been the heart and soul of the Eels throughout 15 seasons and 320 games for Parramatta – but Hindy’s performance in the ‘Battle of the West’ against the Panthers on Saturday night was nothing short of legendary. When all looked lost, as the Eels trailed the Panthers by 12 points with 12 mins to go and with Parramatta staring down a four point gap between themselves and the second last team on the ladder, up stepped ‘Mr Parramatta’.
Hindmarsh was brilliant as he set up the last two tries, turning back the clock to when he was a line-breaking forward rather than a tackle machine, to send the game into golden-point. Much maligned Eels halfback Chris Sandow sunk the Panthers with a 90th minute field goal to win 19-18, but it was Hindmarsh who earned the plaudits for his performance at Centrebet Stadium.
With his stats it’s not hard to work out why. Hindmarsh made 21 runs for 193 metres, one try assist, 1 linebreak assist, 1linebreak, six offloads, eight tackle busts and 41 tackles.
Nathan Hindmarsh. What a leader. What a legend.
Knights fans are some of the most passionate in the NRL
Despite being jeered off at full-time after their last home game loss against the Canberra Raiders (32-16) in round 14 – in what resulted in their fifth straight loss this season – Newcastle Knights fans turned up in droves on Monday night to see their side defeat the West Tigers 38-20 at Hunter Stadium. 18,637 Knights fans ignored the team’s poor form, and the bitterly cold weather, to support Wayne Bennett’s men and watch a game of football that featured nine tries.
It didn’t begin well for the Novocastrians. The Knights looked gone after just 23 minutes as they conceded 14 unanswered points to a Robbie Farah inspired Tigers outfit. From that point on, however, Newcastle began to dominate the contest and ran away with a comfortable victory in front of their brilliant fans.