Violence or apathy? Rugby league at a crossroads

Joe Gorman Columnist

By Joe Gorman, Joe Gorman is a Roar Expert

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    If Paul Gallen says it's okay... (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Renee McKay)

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    On Monday night’s Q&A program, serial ranter and former Labor leader Mark Latham turned heads with his attack on the “tut-tut brigade”, who, in his view, are trying to push violence out of rugby league.

    At first glance, it is easy to dismiss this as one bloke trading on the blokey culture of the game as a way of trying to prove that he is, in fact, just one of the blokes.

    Surely the only thing worse than a politician trying to prove that he’s ‘one of us’ is a former corporate lawyer turned politician turning up to a television program in a leather jacket. Mark Latham is no ordinary bloke, and Malcolm Turnbull, try as he might, is no Marlon Brando.

    Neither is fooling us.

    According to Latham, if you love rugby league, you would have loved watching Paul Gallen reign blows on Nate Myles’ head. Gallen’s only crime, says the former Labor leader, was that his punches connected.

    Amidst all the outrage about those punches, Latham’s forthright views went straight to the heart of the issue.

    While I don’t consider myself the violent type, and have never had an enduring appetite for blood sports, he has a point. Without condoning the incident, it is difficult to make sense of all this anti-violence rhetoric in rugby league.

    The fact is, violence, brutality and physical toughness is woven into the very fabric of rugby league culture. Get rid of it, and it’ll be hard to know what’s left.

    I don’t get along to many league games, and these days only occasionally watch it on television. The sport lost me in my mid teens to other pursuits.

    But as a child, I loved the game, brought up on a diet of Brisbane Broncos and Queensland by my dad, who often referenced the game in his own writing.

    I never played league. I would never have been brave enough to face the physicality of the game.

    But as a child, like many others I suspect, what drew me to league was it’s sheer physicality and no-nonsense culture.

    There is something to be said for a bunch of extraordinarily ordinary guys cannoning into each other with such ferocity.

    It wasn’t a culture that I could ever belong to in a meaningful way, but it was still fascinating.

    Players like Gorden Tallis had me captivated, not because of his skill, but because of his courage and his ruthless physicality.

    His famous collar-slinging tackle on Brett Hodgson typified all that I loved about league.

    Friends of mine that played the game would tell stories of broken noses, dislocated shoulders and other traumatic tales which always seemed to end the same way – they popped it back in and kept playing.

    Clearly, physical toughness is a characteristic that is drummed into league players early on.

    The first game I went to as a kid was between South Sydney and St George, back when Nathan Brown had curly long blonde locks.

    I have only two memories of the day out. The first was of a player having a spasm on the field after copping a sickening knee to the temple, but playing on anyway.

    The other was the sheer roughness of the fans. A fat guy in a ill-fitting old Souths jersey sat in front of me, slowly tipping his beer out onto the ground as his attention was held hostage by a Rabbitohs attack.

    Further down an even fatter man yelled obscenities at a Channel Nine helicopter that flew overhead.

    I’d never seen anything like it. It was a little scary, but very genuine and very enjoyable.

    But league is a strange game now, one that seems determined to constantly parody itself.

    Like our other football codes, it’s been caught up in the quest to be all things to all men.

    These days, AFL is supposedly the beacon of multiculturalism, soccer doesn’t want to talk about wogs and rugby union isn’t just a game for private school boys.

    Rugby league is similarly trapped between two worlds.

    On the one hand, it’s a profoundly working class game with working class roots. But on the other hand, it’s now a commercial juggernaut, with little time for any of the excesses of it’s former self.

    Not that long ago, pretty boy Craig Wing was the outlier. Now it seems everyone is a walking work of tattoo art, complete with the waxed chest and the show muscles.

    The Nathan Hindmarsh “cheap schooeys at the leagues club” type seems rarer by the day.

    Players don the pink jerseys, but there is always another sex scandal just around the corner.

    The players are meant to be gladiators and risk-takers on the field and pillars of the community off it.

    South Sydney play in a pre-fabricated, soulless suburb in Homebush, which is both culturally and geographically well outside their traditional heartland.

    The game just seems confused by itself.

    It all comes to a head in State of Origin, where RnB artists with white moonboots share the space with our favourite over-excitable bogan Phil Gould.

    The whole thing becomes a bizarre and thoroughly amusing spectacle.

    Paul Gallen’s punches on Nate Myles weren’t particularly impressive or shocking.

    As far as I’m concerned, fretting about violence in rugby league is akin to complaining about noise at a rock concert.

    However primal and unexplainable it may be, if you don’t get some kind of enjoyment out of it you’re in the wrong place.

    The punches might have been stupid, but they weren’t what worried me. Since he infamously took a drunken dump in a hotel hallway in 2009, I’ve always thought Nate Myles deserved a clip around the ear.

    What worried me was how staged the whole incident seemed. It certainly wasn’t Artie Beetson mate-on-mate stuff.

    Fights in Origin have lost all meaning. We’ve been so overfed with footage of guys belting each other that we know it’s just a matter of time before the players go through their routine slugging matches.

    The players seem to know that we expect it of them. Paul Gallen certainly does anyway.

    In the end, Gallen’s one-two on Myles caused a bit of bruising, but there was no real harm done.

    Calling it “a great Origin moment” might be stretching it a bit, but worse damage has been done by crunching tackles that are considered fair and within the rules of the game.

    Like most sports fans, league lovers know that their game is best at it’s rawest. I don’t envy the job of rugby league administrators.

    How are they supposed to balance the fans willingness for blood with the pressure to stamp out violence? How do you legislate in such a complicated environment? Where does violence in rugby league start and end?

    Joe Gorman
    Joe Gorman

    Joe Gorman is a football journalist with a particular interest in sports history. After completing his thesis on football in Australia, Joe started with The Roar in October 2012. He tweets from @JoeGorman_89.

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    The Crowd Says (239)

    • June 12th 2013 @ 3:44am
      Simon said | June 12th 2013 @ 3:44am | ! Report

      Sport is an artform, and we need to start treating it like that. Each sport has it’s own culture, own history, and is it’s own form of entertainment. If you don’t enjoy Rugby League or understand the culture and passion behind it then in my opinion you don’t really have the right to try and change the fabrics of the game. I also disagree that the general public are as gullible as many media outlets portray them to be. Joseph Blow isn’t about to go out punch a guy on the street because Paul Gallen did it in State of Origin. I’m not about to go out and shoot a man just because I saw Al Pacino do it in the Godfather. Kids know the difference between State of Origin and real life, and to say otherwise I just nieve. Growing up, I also loved the culture and brutality of the game, but that didn’t mean I wanted to be part of it. You watch Rugby League and other sports to escape from reality, just as you do when you go to the movies or play a video game.

      • June 12th 2013 @ 10:39am
        Renegade said | June 12th 2013 @ 10:39am | ! Report

        Simon,i think you’ve nailed exactly how the majority of people view the incident.

      • June 12th 2013 @ 2:28pm
        Matt said | June 12th 2013 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

        Yep, this comment sums up my opinion.

      • June 12th 2013 @ 2:43pm
        me, I like football said | June 12th 2013 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

        Are you saying the fights are staged? If not then it is real life.
        (This same comment was moderated out earlier, Seriously)

    • June 12th 2013 @ 6:00am
      Robert said | June 12th 2013 @ 6:00am | ! Report

      I hate the do-gooders line”if he’d done that on the streets he’d be locked up”Well im afraid if you run up to someone in the streets and drive your shoulder into their mid riff whilst wrapping your arms around them,no shoulder charge,you’d probably get locked up too for assault

      Comment from The Roar’s iPhone app.

      • June 12th 2013 @ 7:41am
        p.Tah said | June 12th 2013 @ 7:41am | ! Report

        But tackling is in the rules of the game. Punching someone is not.

        • June 12th 2013 @ 11:18am
          Sideline Commentator said | June 12th 2013 @ 11:18am | ! Report

          Well observed. Hence the penalty and suspension.

      • June 12th 2013 @ 11:03am
        Positive Rugby said | June 12th 2013 @ 11:03am | ! Report

        By playing you give consent to be exposed to play that is within the rules. By walking down the street you don’t give consent to be tackled.

      • June 12th 2013 @ 11:23am
        so dumb said | June 12th 2013 @ 11:23am | ! Report

        There are rules on the field where you are allowed to tackle somebody from the neck down to the feet.

        Not attacking a very important part of the body, the head! that’s illegal on and off the field!

        As you will see in the NFL they are having massive issues with retired players who suffered concussion from head shots which leads to depression and other problems.

        If calling me a “do-gooder” means guys will have a life after there career spent with families not punch drunk then i am guilty.

        By the way is the opposite of a “do-gooder” a “do-badder” because he couldn’t care about what happens to the players as long as he gets his “i am tough” entertainment?

        Just for you in case nobody tells you enough Robert, you are tough!

      • June 12th 2013 @ 12:20pm
        Simon said | June 12th 2013 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

        If you went around throwing cricket balls at people’s heads you’d also get locked up.

    • June 12th 2013 @ 6:14am
      Positive Rugby said | June 12th 2013 @ 6:14am | ! Report

      Keep defending what happened, keep your head in the sand, keep pandering to the beer swilling idiots who condone the pointless violence and watch your little game slowly die as mothers everywheer pick different sports for their boys and girls. On the other hand you could focus on the athletic feast that is rugby league, state clearly that punching to the head is unacceptable in your game and watch your game grow and prosper. Simple really, now its over to you.

      • June 12th 2013 @ 7:08am
        eagleJack said | June 12th 2013 @ 7:08am | ! Report

        Well they don’t appear to be choosing rugby union either judging by the latest figures.

        So what’s your solution there PR?

        I love my union, played for 15yrs, but it could only dream of having an event as successful as the annual SOO series. The Lions tour is on par but it only happens once every 12 years. I think League, with its billion dollar TV deal, is quite happy where it is sitting in the Australian sporting landscape. Union on the other hand…..

        • Roar Rookie

          June 12th 2013 @ 7:18am
          Wilson Flatley said | June 12th 2013 @ 7:18am | ! Report

          Agreed, I played union for 14 years and league for 4 years, the problems Union are facing in junior numbers are more significant than RL’s issues. I like the game of Union more, but love the pure power of RL as well. What is the answer PR? When union has made a stand but is falling off the perch quicker than RL?

          • June 12th 2013 @ 10:17am
            Positive Rugby said | June 12th 2013 @ 10:17am | ! Report

            Union is prospering here in Queensland at club and school level. I don’t know where you get your numbers from. Its always been somewhat of an elitist sport anyway, so we are not really that concerned with numbers but rather with the quality of the experience, which for me has been excellent. If you read my comments you should see that I am not having a go at leage as a game, I am having a go at the attitude to violence that seems to go with it.

            • June 12th 2013 @ 1:50pm
              Mals said | June 12th 2013 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

              I love both League & Union but you have to naive to think there are no punch ups in Union. Look at the recent Lions game versus the Barbarians. There was a punch up in that game yet no player was suspended. Seems like rugby union isn’t “thinking of the children” as well.

        • June 12th 2013 @ 10:30am
          reality bites said | June 12th 2013 @ 10:30am | ! Report

          Rubbish, last year rugby union in Australia reported its highest participation rates ever, in history, period. Not doing too badly after all despite all the negative reporting.

          • June 12th 2013 @ 10:42am
            Renegade said | June 12th 2013 @ 10:42am | ! Report

            Well surely it should grow every year but is it anywhere near the other codes??

            • June 12th 2013 @ 11:16am
              eagleJack said | June 12th 2013 @ 11:16am | ! Report

              It has the lowest participation rates of the 4 codes. Not only that but the top juniors (at 15/16) are heading to league in greater numbers, due to the elite youth comp in league.

              The ARU have now implemented that the Rebels and Force can have 7 overseas imports each in their squads. This is because there is a dearth of talent in Australia. We cannot even fill 5 Super rugby franchises with Australian players.

              That should concern all union fans.

            • June 13th 2013 @ 10:00am
              Davey said | June 13th 2013 @ 10:00am | ! Report

              Thanks for your concern EJ, not sure why league fans always mention they were rugby fans/players in their past life and then continue to talk down the sport straight after. Top juniors in rugby in Australia are all playing school rugby at that age (at 15/16) so please stop pretending they switch to league. And if rugby kids in Australia plus the hundreds of 1st XV kids from NZ schools who are on NRL under 20’s list then there must be something wrong with rugby league talents in Australia. Imagine if Australian rugby franchises were open to NZ, South African and Pacific Island players? Imagine that just like the NRL depends on players from New Zealand and Pacific Islands. We are not concern but there will come a time when the flood gate will be open and All Blacks can play for the Waratahs, Rebels, Force and so on. Its only then that rugby will show its true potentials as a global sport with massive talents world wide.

              • June 13th 2013 @ 11:16am
                eagleJack said | June 13th 2013 @ 11:16am | ! Report

                Hilarious! So I can’t be a union and league fan Davey? Funny I don’t see you over on the Union thread.

                Stop being so precious and taking it personally if a fan of both codes says something negative about rugby union. I’m only stating the facts. They are being identified at 15/16 and offered contracts at that age. They will continue with their schooling and switch after school.

                The fact that Australia cannot fill 5 Super rugby teams with Australian talent is a worry to me as a rugby union fan.

              • June 13th 2013 @ 1:00pm
                Davey said | June 13th 2013 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

                I’m involve with that age group in Queensland and the majority of those players ended up in rugby and only a few switch to league.
                The fact that Melbourne Storm or all NRL teams cannot fill its NRL teams with help from NZ and inter states players is a worry. Imagine if the Rebels and the Force are alllow to tap into the NZ and Pacific island markets like the NRL clubs do?

              • June 13th 2013 @ 1:18pm
                Really! said | June 13th 2013 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

                I am a fan of both codes, but to be honest both have been a real letdown for me personally this year! Actually i would use the word boring!

                Maybe both codes don’t have enough players to fit teams!

        • June 12th 2013 @ 11:40am
          saffa in oz said | June 12th 2013 @ 11:40am | ! Report

          “Well they don’t appear to be choosing rugby union either judging by the latest figures’

          Who’s they? Sydney and Brisbane?

          Sorry, this is my bug bear!

          Another arrogant Australian who thinks the world revolves around what happens on the east coast of Australia.

          Union is extremely popular around the world and will survive with out Sydney and Brisbane, i dare say it will survive before league in all the other states around Australia as well if push came to shove.

          Union would still survive world wide if they lost Sydney and Brisbane but could League?

          Sure Union is dropping on the east coast of Australia with so many competitive sports but please understand “they” who don’t watch means little when it comes to the rest of the world.

          Also the “solution” is to not change the game of union for the small minority of the east coast of Australia. That is just arrogant!

          • June 12th 2013 @ 12:48pm
            Chairman Kaga said | June 12th 2013 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

            Well said.

            Interesting that when I was over in South Africa a couple of times the past 10 years, I had to explain what rugby league was. You get puzzled looks when you describe it has 13 a side, non contested rucks and scrums and it is the most popular rugby code in Australia. The assumption seems to be over there, that the NRL is just a union competition. Odd but true.

          • June 12th 2013 @ 1:33pm
            eagleJack said | June 12th 2013 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

            Hang on. We are talking about the landscape of Australian sport here. My figures are from the ABS which funnily enough is the AUSTRALIAN Bureau of Statistics.

            Not doubt rugby union is a global game. But that has no bearing on its standing within Australia. Just because it is prospering elsewhere does not mean the ARU can rest on its laurels here.

            No idea how Im being arrogant when Im focussing on a particular sports frailties within my own country.

            But thanks for taking the time to comment.

            • June 12th 2013 @ 1:52pm
              Mals said | June 12th 2013 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

              Well said EJ!

            • Roar Rookie

              June 12th 2013 @ 5:01pm
              Wilson Flatley said | June 12th 2013 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

              +1

            • June 12th 2013 @ 5:54pm
              saffa in oz said | June 12th 2013 @ 5:54pm | ! Report

              If i offended by calling you “arrogant” then i apologise.

              But i am sick and tired of hearing here in Sydney ‘mate union is dying, union is dying”. Thy never refer to just the East coast of Australia, i get the feeling they think it is going backwards everywhere. Which is not true and that is arrogant.

              Also saying Rugby is a global game but that has no bearing on it’s standing in Australia i believe is wrong.

              Rugby WILL always be played in Australia because of it’s global standing, if Rugby wasn’t global then yes it would die in Australia. But the beauty for Rugby players in Australia is the attraction of playing overseas and watching the World cup, 6 nations,European rugby, Currie cup, ITM cup, international sevens etc.

              This to me is and other ex-pats growing in numbers in Australia is the beauty of Rugby Union, and this is also the reason why Rugby will never disappear from Australia!

              • Roar Rookie

                June 13th 2013 @ 2:06am
                Damn Straight said | June 13th 2013 @ 2:06am | ! Report

                Want a tissue?

              • June 13th 2013 @ 7:37am
                saffa in oz said | June 13th 2013 @ 7:37am | ! Report

                Want a tissue!

                Sorry, i thought i was having a legitimate discussion and trying to give real input!

                Your reply is definitely a good reflection on you pal, nothing to give but i would say a drunken amateur reply. Nice one rookie……………………hilarious!

              • June 13th 2013 @ 10:09am
                Davey said | June 13th 2013 @ 10:09am | ! Report

                Well said saffa in oz. Denial plays a big part in some sports fans. Rugby league been the number one sport in QLD and NSW makes them feel good as for rugby the world plus Australia makes me feel good and that is why they always come back to QLD and NSW. Its their bread and butter. They like to mention Australian rugby as been in trouble but then turn a blind eye across the Tasman where rugby league is far worse state than rugby union is in Australia.

              • June 13th 2013 @ 11:15am
                kramer said | June 13th 2013 @ 11:15am | ! Report

                Damn straight, i see you on here all the time and like your input in the majority but you really let yourself down this time with your patronising and smart arse remark.

                I actually think this is an interesting debate.

                I get the feeling that Rugby is dying in NSW and Qld and i am not to sure of the figures but just from speaking to mates who the majority watch League and AFL, union is a distant 3rd. When watching rugby they only watch the international scene.

                If so, can international Rugby prop up rugby on the east coast of Australia or does Rugby just wither away in this area to a invisible code?

                Do we underestimate how strong Rugby is internationally and the influence especially with immigration in rugby watching countries on the rise in Australia?

                Again i think this is an interesting debate, but i have been told many times i am a boring old sod who finds the lesser interesting!

              • June 13th 2013 @ 1:07pm
                Davey said | June 13th 2013 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

                Rugby is on the rise or dying depends on who’s friends your talking about. In Queensland rugby its on a high ever in its history with Reds having record membership and participants numbers on the rise for the fourth years straight in all level of the game.

                http://www.rugby.com.au/News/NewsArticle/tabid/1699/ArticleID/8148/Default.aspx

              • Roar Rookie

                June 13th 2013 @ 1:39pm
                Damn Straight said | June 13th 2013 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

                Haha, I probably should have put a πŸ™‚ after that post mate, it was a poke in jest.
                Good to see the passion here though boys, keep it up.
                As for being a rookie, well I do admit that I have wanted to publish some articles, but I’m building the courage. Just being honest. It’s a tough crowd around here! πŸ˜‰

      • June 12th 2013 @ 7:54am
        warren said | June 12th 2013 @ 7:54am | ! Report

        Positive – I hate to break it to you but people are attracted to violence. From the Colosseum to today the gladitorial aspect of life and indeed sport is aspired to.

        I agree what happened at the SOO was not the best look but that is life and we need to get on with it. Most of the people complaining about it really do not follow the sport anyway so what difference does it make.

        Also RL has never been the top sport for juniors in NSW or QLD for as long as I can remember. Soccer has always been bigger at a junior level. Yet RL is the top spectator and most watch TV sport in both these states.

      • June 12th 2013 @ 8:23am
        Crosscoder said | June 12th 2013 @ 8:23am | ! Report

        Smith has aalready stated violence will not be tolerated,and wil be warning the respective SOO coaches of their obligations.
        The game ‘s participation numbers are up this year as well as female participation,if the game is slowly dying,then judging by the playing numbers ru has a real problem.
        You guys completely overlook the fact on the NRL punchups are now few and far between,and in un12 non existent and in older age groups any incident is clamped down hard.
        Don’t just read what’s in the agenda driven media Positive Rugby ,but do some actual research into the games grassroots development.that sir is also head in the sand.
        When there is no punchup in Origin,the usual cynics are nowhere to be seen.

        • June 12th 2013 @ 10:31am
          reality bites said | June 12th 2013 @ 10:31am | ! Report

          Rugby is growing, and last year experienced its highest participation rates ever. I grew up playing both sports, and quite frankly am amazed that either sport has a junior participation rate. I just don’t see any young kids into ‘footy’. Seems like the domain of over 40s.

          • June 12th 2013 @ 2:33pm
            Big Time said | June 12th 2013 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

            I live on the North Coast of NSW, and Union in this part of the world is in a very sick state of affairs. They have seen massive drops in participation right through Juniors into Seniors, and I mean massive drops in numbers. Barely any schools play the game in any serious capacity. I have many friends in South East QLD (fastest growing population in Australia) and Union numbers are also a cause for concern. Paint this how you will, but it is there for anyone to see.

            On the contrary, they are seeing a resurgence in League numbers through all age groups. The Titans change in attitude towards junior developement has been a big factor in this. Titans players are a bit like nut grass, they show up everywhere, which is a good thing. They are getting at the young kids. Go into a classroom and ask what team these kids support.

            AFL why not as big as League, is also seeing good growth, even though they do cheat on their participation numbers (AUSKICK???).

            I live in Australia. I really do not care what rugby is doing in RSA or anywhere else for that matter. I am happy to have a strong national league competition and our SOO, with some good international contests to boot. NRL has the toughest and most even competition in the world. A team like Parramatta who are sitting last, on their day could roll the Rabbits who are first. This could not happen in any other competition.

          • June 13th 2013 @ 10:17am
            Davey said | June 13th 2013 @ 10:17am | ! Report

            I live in Australia also and I coach rugby union at junior level and my friends tells me a different story and its similar to this story on this website. And for your information a team like the Force have beaten the Crusaders who were first. Even the Highlanders beat the Blues of Auckland.

            http://www.rugby.com.au/News/NewsArticle/tabid/1699/ArticleID/8148/Default.aspx

            Fourth consecutive year of growth sees player numbers surpass 300,000 for the first time, with a total of 323,115 players in 2012;

      • June 12th 2013 @ 8:45am
        Pot Stirrer said | June 12th 2013 @ 8:45am | ! Report

        Since when did mums choose what sportsthier kids play ? Kids decide what sport they want to play becuase of thier freinds and fathers influences. You need to get out from under your missuses skirt and go to the pub a bit more, maybe then you wouldnt be so soft

        • June 12th 2013 @ 9:01am
          Chui said | June 12th 2013 @ 9:01am | ! Report

          I don’t know whether to take this as a misogynist rant, or a joke.

          It is either a great illustration or mildly amusing.

          Unfortunately I know of plenty of instance of mothers stopping their kids playing contact sport, much to the chagrin of fathers. Thankfully when the kids are old enough they get to play their sport of choice.

          • June 12th 2013 @ 9:15am
            Pot Stirrer said | June 12th 2013 @ 9:15am | ! Report

            Why is it msogynist ? Mums dont choose what sport thier kids play, The Kids do. I grew up playing League and my son chose to play union. If your wife choses what sport your kids play then i say to you you need to spend more time with your kids and not in front of the tele watching house husbands

            • Roar Rookie

              June 12th 2013 @ 9:27am
              Damn Straight said | June 12th 2013 @ 9:27am | ! Report

              Yep, I also failed to see misogyny in that PS

            • June 12th 2013 @ 10:02am
              Tim said | June 12th 2013 @ 10:02am | ! Report

              Wow mate, did you give wife a good old floggin’ with a belt as well, you know because she deserves it and all? What’s wrong with equality in parenting and allowing a mother to have a say how her son, the one she gave birth to, is raised?

              • June 12th 2013 @ 10:13am
                Brendon said | June 12th 2013 @ 10:13am | ! Report

                You’re out of control Tim, that’s just a stupid statement.

                My mum had no bearing on what I wanted to play, I just went and played it and both my parents supported me. My influences were however all from my old man, loved the Rabbitoes and loved his motor bikes, so I ended up a Bronco’s supporter (Wally Lewis was my hero) and rode competitive motor bikes.

                What PS said is on the money, get over yourself mate.

              • June 12th 2013 @ 10:15am
                Pot Stirrer said | June 12th 2013 @ 10:15am | ! Report

                WTF, how did yo get that from what i said ? stop being a drama queen and extrapalatig everything to the enth degree.

              • June 12th 2013 @ 11:17am
                Tim said | June 12th 2013 @ 11:17am | ! Report

                Get over myself? I don’t really see the link between me taking issue to an attitude of “You need to get out from under your missuses skirt and go to the pub a bit more, maybe then you wouldnt be so soft” and being in love with myself, which is what I assume you mean here Brendon.

                Congratulations on your father having an influence on what you wanted to play, you’re missing my point however, which is that this one eyed blokey culture of misuses-skirt-hiding and pub-drinking anti-soft cure-all isn’t the solution. Pot Stirrers view may have flown in the 1970’s, but not now.

              • June 12th 2013 @ 12:30pm
                Brendon said | June 12th 2013 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

                You just took it to far Tim, no one mentioned belting their better half, other than you that is.

        • June 12th 2013 @ 10:19am
          Positive Rugby said | June 12th 2013 @ 10:19am | ! Report

          Yeah, you are of course completely correct, I should give her a clip around the ear and tell her who is the boss shouldn’t I?

          • June 12th 2013 @ 10:35am
            Pot Stirrer said | June 12th 2013 @ 10:35am | ! Report

            How the hell do you get that response from what i said ? you have a problem and i note u didntdeny watching house husbands lol

            • June 12th 2013 @ 10:55am
              Positive Rugby said | June 12th 2013 @ 10:55am | ! Report

              Actually, I’m quite happy under my wife’s skirt, I quite like it there and visit as often as possible. I’d rather be there than at the pub with you mate.

              • June 12th 2013 @ 11:56am
                well done sir! said | June 12th 2013 @ 11:56am | ! Report

                Sorry, i am at the pub now reading this and that was an A1 comment from Positive Rugby.

                Hilarious!

              • Roar Rookie

                June 12th 2013 @ 12:09pm
                Damn Straight said | June 12th 2013 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

                Haha, why are wearing your wife’s skirts mate? They probably look better on her. Before you fire up PR, I am kidding..but you were wide open there. Good gag by the way πŸ™‚

      • June 12th 2013 @ 10:04am
        Brendon said | June 12th 2013 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        If you don’t like it, then don’t watch it “positive”

        Let’s ban boxing and all forms of martial arts while we are at, why not ban the bouncer in cricket or completely rule the bump from Aussie rules? Lets take all the choice and danger out of life and none of us will ever get hurt.

        If mothers are taking their kids away because of this (which I very much doubt is actually happening) then let them go an play soccer, that’s fine, we will always have people that WANT to play rugby league and we can happily take the talent from that particular pool of sportsmen/women.

        I watch this particular sport because of the physicality, because of the confrontation, you take that away and it’s not really rugby league is it?

        I played league for 5 years before motorcycling became my passion and loved it, if it’s to tough then you’re to soft, there’s nothing “positive” about letting PC Do-Gooders ruin everything partially dangerous for the sake of sanitizing society to the Nth degree.

        I don’t think there should be massive punch ups in each and every game, but the odd one, when passion wins out and someone throws a bomb in SOO, that’s not an issue, it’s not like it was a king hit, they were toe to toe, so yeah not a great look, but the over reaction I’ve seen this past week is ridiculous.

        Go an watch netball if you love sport for skills alone, or tennis perhaps……Leave rugby league alone! If it was easy, everyone would do it, but it’s not and that’s why we love it.

        • Roar Guru

          June 12th 2013 @ 4:06pm
          wisey_9 said | June 12th 2013 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

          That’s the problem though Brendon. There are plenty of us out there who love the game of Rugby League – it’s tough, physical contest – when it it played within the rules.

          Punching a bloke in the head is not OK. Not on the field, not outside of it.

          All I’m asking is that, not matter what the sport (unless it is sanctioned but the rules) a player is reprimanded severely for doing so. 2 weeks downgraded to 1 is not good enough.

    • June 12th 2013 @ 6:45am
      Chris said | June 12th 2013 @ 6:45am | ! Report

      This is a great article and should be published everwhere. There have been a million punches thrown in Rugby League but for some reason this is the straw that broke the camels back? It’ll be forgotten after.this series

      • June 12th 2013 @ 8:26am
        Crosscoder said | June 12th 2013 @ 8:26am | ! Report

        And how many in NRL game sand junior rugby league Chris they are few and fr between
        .Care to discuss the threat of a machete in a junior AFL match in Vic.There are plenty of brawl incidents in your coe,except they try to santise the event by calling it a melee.

        • June 12th 2013 @ 11:45am
          Chris said | June 12th 2013 @ 11:45am | ! Report

          Not sure you if you are actually referring to me there crosscoder?

          My sport is Rugby League – I’m pointing out that this is an over reaction and it will die as soon as this origin series is over.

          • June 12th 2013 @ 12:32pm
            Crosscoder said | June 12th 2013 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

            Yes Chris.My point is the number of punches being thrown firstly in u12 is next to zero,over 12s ver little and treated harshly.
            The numbers being thrown now is far less than I can remember,and I have witnessed the 70s,80s et al.
            I agree with you ,once this series is over,its back to other rl matters.

            And when a SOO game has no such punchups,the cynics who await in a steamy lather will not be seen.Not all SOO game shave the punchups,which they conveniently overlook.

        • June 12th 2013 @ 2:11pm
          me, I like football said | June 12th 2013 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

    • June 12th 2013 @ 7:42am
      hotel calfornia said | June 12th 2013 @ 7:42am | ! Report

      If the referee had done their job and given Gallen 10 minutes in the sin bin, we wouldn’t be having these articles and reactions, why is there no witch hunt against them?

      • June 12th 2013 @ 8:46am
        oikee said | June 12th 2013 @ 8:46am | ! Report

        Dont you come on here often. I am one step ahead of these caribbean refs and video backpackers who only qualification is being a mate of a fiend of a buddy who once played Pokeymon.
        Amatuerism at it’s very best.
        Rugby league needs to stop this rot, go to America, get someone who is qualified to introduce American rules and laws that have governed their game for decades.
        If you look at most of the games-rules, ideas and how to grow fans etc, it all comes from American knowhow anyway.

        The AFL have followed their lead, look at them compared to our shonky rules and refs setup.
        You earn respect when you learn from mistakes, a point Gallen might want to take on board, denial wont get you anywhere and he is already throwing the blame everywhere but back on himself, it is everyone’s fault but his own. Nice one Gals, real role model, real Origin moments that cant be shown because assualting someone is not a good look.
        And lets say what it really was, a pre-meditated assualt. You cant sugarcoat it any other way, or your just pandering to the grubs and bullies of this world. amen.

        • June 12th 2013 @ 10:20am
          Pot Stirrer said | June 12th 2013 @ 10:20am | ! Report

          SO Oikee, if Gallen is such a grub what do you think of the great Arthur Beetson ? Do you remeber his unprovoked attack on Mick Cronin ? and Beetson had been an Aust Captain. nd they were team mates at the Eels at the time!

          • June 12th 2013 @ 10:44am
            oikee said | June 12th 2013 @ 10:44am | ! Report

            Geewhiz, next you will be dragging Totumkarmun into the arguement.
            That was then, this is now, they even made a movie about it, stop dragging the past into this mess.
            We also fed christians to the lions, we dont anymore, geez.

            • June 12th 2013 @ 11:08am
              Pot Stirrer said | June 12th 2013 @ 11:08am | ! Report

              Whats when it happened got to do with anythng, its either a grub act or it isnt by your on definition, whih is it ?

              • June 12th 2013 @ 11:59am
                oikee said | June 12th 2013 @ 11:59am | ! Report

                I am not here to get into a slinging match with you, laws change, systems change, we no longer light fires with 2 sticks. Geez.
                I cant explain any better than that, back in Beetsons times, swinging arms were the norm, spear tackles had just been banned and unprovoked attacks was a sendoff offence,.

                If you read my posts you have have noticed i mentioned all this would not have happened, 10 in the bin.
                I blame the refs, the game the nsw supporters for backing a wrong bet.
                Gallen as your role model, good luck with that.

              • June 12th 2013 @ 12:35pm
                Brendon said | June 12th 2013 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

                Oikee, not all change is for the better, I for one would prefer to see some biff in this sport, I would therefore view any change or what I term “sanitisation” of the game as negative, so unnecessary.

                The main reason SOO got so popular in the early years is because Arty Beetson biffed his mate, it showed passion, it showed that the rivalry meant something, so it’s relevant to this argument, you can’t just disregard info because it doesn’t suit you.

                Can anyone tell me the last time anyplayer was seriously injured by a punch up in SOO? Has it ever happened? Has anyone ever had to be carted off to hospital because they got in a bit of fisty cuffs on the field?

            • June 12th 2013 @ 12:39pm
              solly said | June 12th 2013 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

              I agree.

              Why on earth do people keep bringing up what guys in the past did? What kind of argument is that, because they did it back then we should keep doing it? Or that because some guy used to do stupid things before he’s not allowed to change and speak out against it now?

              Geez…

            • June 12th 2013 @ 12:47pm
              warren said | June 12th 2013 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

              No you have made a comment that seems only to suit a NSW player. Same as Fatty Vautin on the night. If it was a QLD player he would have said it is part of SOO, but because it was a NSW player he should have been sent off.

              QLD are the biggest whingers when it comes to SOO. They will 7 in a row and soon as something goes against them there is some conspiracy by NSW to rob them.

              Leave RL to NSW people to run. You had your go with Superleague and look at that mess.

        • June 12th 2013 @ 10:43am
          Neil said | June 12th 2013 @ 10:43am | ! Report

          Where have the AFL followed American rule makers? In what instance and how? American rules into a game that has nothing to do with America? I don’t get it oikee.. I think you’ll find most “world” games have emanated from Britain/Europe and Americans hold insular “world championships” such as the World Series. Caribbean refs, video backpackers? WTF?

          Interesting to see Tallis giving Gallen a hard time over the incident then we look back on his career and see his “pre-meditated” assaults in which Gallen’s pales into insignificance. People in glass houses…… a point Gordy should take on board. Time to take off those maroon glasses oikee

      • June 12th 2013 @ 12:33pm
        Crosscoder said | June 12th 2013 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

        Eagles music buff.You are correct,the ref should have instantly utilised the bin

    • June 12th 2013 @ 7:45am
      mike from tari said | June 12th 2013 @ 7:45am | ! Report

      Storm in a tea cup, but beware we have a RAH RAH in charge of our game now. My son has been playing since he was 7 years old, he now plays in the Q. Cup, thats 18 years, he has been punched twice in that whole time, violence in League was rubbed out after the 70’s & 80’s, now it is a hard, hard game with a little bit of a punch up in the heat of the moment.

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