Stop the clock, NRL is running out of time

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Anthony Miniciello tries to get into a scrum. (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Colin Whelan)

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With news that the NRL is set to crack down on the acts of lollygagging around before scrums and dropouts, it’s time the governing bodies took a deeper look into some of the other timing issues in the game.

Rugby league is a sport where, traditionally, time is only of fleeting importance. This rings particularly true when you compare to it to, say, basketball or American Football, where the clock is a constant nemesis trying to steal victory from your grasp.

Time off, time on… no one really cares in the NRL until it’s the final five minutes of a close match and timekeeper Davo forgets to stop the clock.

But, if studies are showing eight minutes a match are being wasted on scrums (I’d have argued the figure to be somewhere closer to the last eighteen years) then perhaps it’s time for a complete overhaul of rugby league’s timing rules and the penalties associated with not complying with them.

Not just for players themselves either, but for the entire rugby league community at large.

Here are some time restrictions that need to be bought in ASAP!

Three seconds: The maximum amount of time in any one instance that an NRL captain can converse to a referee in a blatantly whingy tone.

Punishment: Immediate benching.

45 seconds: The maximum amount of time allowed during an NRL broadcast to be dedicated to golf jokes, horse racing stories, droning on about ref decisions or betting odds. This includes any ensuing laughter (real or fake).

Punishment: Guest host on the Footy Show.

10 years: The minimum time between a team adopting new jersey or logo designs (twenty years for the Wests Tigers for prior offences).

Punishment: Forced to wear a 1996 South Queensland Crushers commemorative strip.

One Minute: Time in which all video ref decisions must be made.

Punishment: After this time elapses the booth begins to fill with water like some sort of James Bond-style trap until a decision is made… Russell Smith can swim right?

10 minutes: The maximum delay of match kick off for broadcast reasons, including but not limited to flight-phobic elderly commentators resembling Dawn Fraser.

Punishment: Forced to wait behind in the stadium until every fan has left with nothing but a cold hotdog and a peroxide-haired ground announcer screaming “Are you ready for the footy?” over the PA for 30 minutes.

Six weeks: The minimum amount of time a player quoted to be training the house down by any coaching staff member must be retained in the first grade team, before being punted to reggies or bought by Penrith or being Arana Taumata.

Punishment: Ben Roberts at five-eighth.

28 seconds: Minimum ex-player political career (known as the Meninga mark).

Punishment: Become CEO of Parramatta.

Five years: Time that must elapse after retirement before a player brings out a self-serving biography full of notable omissions.

Punishment: Foreword by Darius Boyd.

Two weeks: The minimum amount of time a player must be widely touted as NSW’s halves answer, before switching to the next bloke who can pass from right to left and land a grubber in the in-goal.

Punishment: Seven series losses in a row.

I could go on, but really if we get these little birdies under control then I think the NRL will be a far greater product for the fans.

After all, life is all about timing, right?

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 since 2011. Tweet him @Vic_Arious
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