It’s time to fix up the rugby league rules
Once again referees have dominated this weekend’s NRL games. The ambiguity around game day officiating is now at the point that any time a decision is sent upstairs it is becoming a bit of lottery as to the outcome.
I am as frustrated as anybody as to how all this rubbish has crept into our game. I also feel very sorry for the referees as the rules that they have to adjudicate to are a disgrace and are leading them into making poor choices during games.
If we want to see a return to games that are determined by the teams participating and not the man in the middle, than we need to reduce the ambiguity in the rules.
More black and white and less grey is what I am calling for here.
I have some suggestions that I wish to put to my fellow Roarers for adjudication. My focus is on two of the most controversial areas in our game at the moment.
These are rule changes that I believe will clear up a lot of the heated discussions, which seem to follow every game these days.
Rule 1: You have to have total possession when it the act of scoring a try. This means that the torso rule is abolished and control is refereed on the same basis as in the general field of play.
If a player has the ball stripped (i.e. Greg Inglis during Origin) in an attempt to score a try then by default this is a no try. If it is deemed an illegal discression than a penalty is awarded 10m out and play resumes.
This eliminates grey areas and refereeing interpretations and puts the onus back on the player to maintain possession at all times.
Rule 2: You cannot run behind your own player or obstruct a defending player at any point while maintaining possession of the football for the benefit of gaining your team an advantage.
With this rule if a player accidently runs behind their own player and submits (i.e. does not take advantage of this play) then play on.
If at any point a player with the football gets an advantage through either running behind a player or via a defensive team player being obstructed then it is no try and a penalty.
There should not be any need in this instance to take a view as to whether the shepherd or obstruction impeded the defensive team in any way.
This is grey area rubbish and should be eliminated from the rules. The onus should always be on the attacking team to execute their plays fairly and accurately.
Any hint of a defensive player not being given a fair chance to make a tackle should result in a no try.
These two rule changes in my opinion will remove a significant amount of controversy from our game.
I am getting very tired of rules committees introducing overly complicated rules that increase grey areas to our game and cause much frustration for the fans.
This is not rugby union. League prides itself on being a fast and simple game to both watch and play. Let us keep it that way.