Killing the Golden Goose: NRL’s extra-time options evaluated
The NRL’s Golden Point tie-breaker system has been in the targets of people other than Wayne Bennett this week thanks to Monday night’s lame duck finish.
What had been envisioned in its conception as an epic climax to obliterate drawn results had turned into the proverbial fart at a funeral, as both Cronulla and the Roosters spent the ten minute extra-time period shuffling around offside and attempting field goals that would take home the grand prize on ‘Australia’s Funniest Home Videos’.
Obviously this is not ideal, but what other options exist for John Grant and has disciples? With everyman and his cattledog chucking in his ideas let’s take a moment to evaluate each possible alternative to Golden Point.
Let’s start with the obvious one eh, being traditional and everything as it is.
A draw is essentially footy’s equivalent of ‘To be Continued.’ You’re all caught up in the contest, wondering how your team is going to escape from this one when suddenly you look up and realise there’s no time and Rhhhhhhhheeeeee!
It’s tune in again next week, Batfans.
There can be beauty in a draw, undoubtedly, just like there is beauty in a manual scoreboard and standing on a milk crate at the back of the hill.
This beauty fades rapidly upon repeat however, and sitting in the stand for your fourth draw of the year watching your team’s players wear blank expressions like they’ve just watched a Scandinavian arthouse movie sans subtitles can leave you hankering for something more.
Ahh this old chestnut, the professional version of your Aunty Ollie screaming “Next try wins!” at the post family christening BBQ despite the fact that you’ve just put fifty on your little cousin.
The idea has merit, because as everyone bar Elton Flatley realises the order of footy cool goes try, then goal, then field goal.
However, if players can’t muster the energy after 80min to knock over a half-decent drop kick, are we really expecting sweeping ‘94 Origin game one backline movements?
And despite being mainly used in rugby league to kill time before footy training, is it right to remove goals from our game as a scoring option?
If you can win in the 79th min with a field goal then to make it void two minutes later in extra time seems a little insulting to the Barry Glasgow’s of this world.
Player drop offs
A staple of touch football, this is the process where teams are required to shed a player from their team every so often in extra time until someone scores.
A couple of ex-NRL players, who by the sounds of things are still niggling and showing up the Peter Punters at their local oval, have spruiked this system. But I have my reservations.
Aside from issues with field size, average team possession times and excess game stoppages, do we really want to start borrowing ideas from touch?
For mine it’s a slippery slope to go knicking ideas off your bastard offspring. I worry that if this method is adopted soon we’ll have NRL teams called tacky things like ‘the Pirates,’ wearing jerseys with loud garish designs and an emphasis on speed rather than football skills.
Hang on a second…
“Ha ha ha wrong sport you gibbered,” I hear you chortle halfway through writing a nasty comment.
Well, maybe it’s not as farfetched as we (would like to) think.
The penalty shoot out, whereby five players from each side line-up to kick a goal from the 22, does exist in some rugby union competitions. Behold.
Thankfully Petero Civoniceva’s conversion attempt the other week has pretty much guaranteed us that the NRL isn’t going to embarrass its players (and in extension us fans) by trying to get them to step up to the tee.
And really, isn’t deciding an 80min smash-athon with kicking practice a bit like deciding a federal election with a game of Uno?
Extra time both ways
No wacky ideas. No tampering with rules. Just a bit of extra value for the fans wanting a result for sledging on the train ride home.
If was good enough for Steve Jackson in ’89 and by jingo it’s good enough for me!
Time we killed this golden goose once and for all.
Follow Chris on Twitter: Vic_Arious@twitter.com
Chris Chard is a sports humour writer commenting on the often absurd nature of professional sport. A rugby league fan boy with a good blend of youth and experience taking things one week at a time, Chris has written for The Roar, Rugby League Player Magazine, US Sports Downunder, the QRL and People. Tweet him @Vic_Arious