No kneejerk reactions to the golden point debate
Here we go again. The rugby league community is once again imploding. On Monday night this week, the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks fought out a 14-14 draw with the Sydney Roosters at Toyota Park.
The game was not the best or the most exciting but nevertheless it was still a game of football.
People have since slammed the concept of golden point and it is now all the media can talk about. There has been calls for reviews, calls for the concept to be dropped and calls for it to remain, and I just can not get my head around it. Why do we want to take away something that makes our sport so unique?
I am a very big supporter of the system we call golden point. In 2006, just three years after its introduction, my beloved Melbourne Storm played out against the Penrith Panthers in a thrilling golden point decider. The teams went into the extra period locked up at 16-16, and my nerves were at an all time high. The game was back and forth, up and down, left and right, east and west. It had it all. The Storm then finally popped over a field goal, winning the game 17-16.
I felt an extreme sense of jubilation as that kick went over, and it appeared as though Olympic Park felt the same that day. This is a game that otherwise would have been just another draw. Instead it was a match that I will never forget thanks to the concept of golden point.
While it has the ability to create games into instant classics, I understand the frustration and hatred for the concept. It pushes players for an extra ten minutes, it can become a field goal shoot out and it may even be boring, but we should take pride in the concept and change it for the better. The AFL currently does not have extra time. The A-League does not have extra time until the finals and the same applies to the Super Rugby.
This concept truly sets the code apart from any other, and it needs to stay. Instead of scrapping it, place a golden try rule into the equation. The first team to score four points, no matter how they get them, is the winner of the match.
Or why not instead of a desperate shoot out or first to four points match, golden point becomes extra time and 10 more minutes of football is played. Or better yet, have a drop off system in place. There are many ways we can better the concept before it is left on the scrap heap for good.
I urge you all to think before you cry out for it to be removed. Some of the code’s greatest games were played under these conditions. Last season, Darren Lockyer kicked the winning field goal to sink the Dragons’ season and advance to the preliminary finals; in 2010, Roosters’ centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall beat an exhausted Wests Tigers outfit to the try line and in 2009, the Storm and Warriors fought out a spectacular draw.
Why take away something that has given us a classic match to talk about nearly every year? Come on, rugby league. Just this once, don’t implode.
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