The dust is settling over David Gallop’s surprise resignation as the NRL’s CEO after ten years at the helm, but the challenge remains to keep his legacy intact.
The Australian Rugby League Independent Commission is now solely charged with ensuring the intricacies put in place during the Gallop tenure continue to develop and grow throughout all aspects of the game of rugby league.
It has been well documented that the commission’s top priority is to finalise the code’s forthcoming television-rights deal.
Furthermore, the commission must ensure all facets of the game – from the NRL teams and players down to those at the developing grass roots level – are financially secure.
Yet there’s no point focusing all the available resources solely on the ‘big fish’ when there are so many other issues yet to be resolved.
The commission’s early-season report card looks promising with the rightful hardening of the stance it has taken on its players in relation to violence against women.
Moreover, it should be praised for scrapping of the cumbersome McIntyre system in preference to the AFL finals series method, which so many experts and pundits alike had constantly called for throughout Gallop’s reign.
The AFL disbanded the McIntyre system back in the late 1990s, instead opting for the highly popular ‘two-tiered’ finals pool system.
This has been met with resounding success since its inception at the turn of the century.
It’s a big tick to the rugby-league commission for having the initiative to adopt another code’s proven system in an attempt to enhance their own game.
But why stop there?
Gallop was instrumental in introducing the exciting golden-point extra-time concept.
Whether you love it or loathe it, there’s no denying that those final added minutes add edge-of-the-seat entertainment to the game.
However, the extra-time tie-breaker model could do with some tinkering.
The first place to look is none other than on the dejected faces of those players who have just watched a field goal, whether spectacular or just plain flimsy, sail directly over the crossbar of their defending goal posts.
Any team that remains unbeaten after 80 minutes of a thrilling encounter must walk away with some form of recognition in terms of competition points.
Likewise, why should a team who fails to secure a win within regulation time take all of the spoils!
As per the AFL-sought finals series adaptation, the rugby league commission need look no further than the US-based National Hockey League (NHL).
In this competition, teams are awarded three points for a regulation time win, two points for an overtime win, one point for an overtime loss and zero points for a regulation time loss.
Should a deadlock at the conclusion of the designated extra-time period still remain, a sequence of penalty shoot-outs ensue to determine the victor.
The overtime winning and losing teams are then awarded the two and one points respectively.
Unlike the NHL, the rugby-league commission would need to keep its time-sanctioned golden-point rule as status quo in awarding each team a solitary point where the deadlock remains unbroken.
It is of some significance that through 14 rounds of the current 2012 NRL Premiership, there have been six games to date that have ended after 80 minutes with the scores all locked up.
All six having been decided in less than the allotted 10 minutes of golden-point extra time.
A substantially advantageous by-product of the overtime win/loss points system is that ties will no longer be so significant to the final ladder.
Whereas the often dreaded for-and-against method of determining standings throughout the regular season ultimately plays a big part in determining the final eight come September, the importance is somewhat reduced under the NHL formula.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out there are a number of NRL teams who aren’t as flamboyant as others.
Those teams generally defend with grim determination and concede very few points.
More often than not these teams do just enough in attack to ebb out a win by a few points.
In turn, they tend to have a lesser points-differential ratio.
With teams potentially earning three, two or one points per round, the ladder remains just as congested.
However, the NHL method provides a truer reflection of the outcome of individual games.
A re-formulated ladder sees many teams separated by a solitary competition point on the ladder, rather than having five or six teams on the same number of points.
This prevents the sequential order being resolved by how many game points they score or concede throughout the season.
The adjusted table below provides an indication as to how the 2012 NRL competition standings would look after 14 rounds with the introduction of the NHL-style 3-2-1 points system.
Let’s hope that the new commission continues its open-minded approach and has a good look at this one…
Round 14 – NHL-style 3-2-1 Proposed Ladder
Team P W OTW OTL L D B F A +/- Pts
1.Storm 13 11 0 0 2 0 1 358 153 205 36
2.Broncos 13 9 0 0 4 0 1 332 236 96 30
3.Sharks 13 8 0 1 4 0 1 242 228 14 28
4.Bulldogs 13 8 0 0 5 0 1 285 193 92 27
5.Sea Eagles 13 8 0 0 5 0 1 228 211 17 27
6.Wests Tigers 13 6 2 1 4 0 1 269 229 40 26
7.Rabbitohs 12 5 2 0 5 0 2 268 265 3 25
8.Cowboys 13 7 0 0 6 0 1 312 250 62 24
9.Dragons 13 5 1 2 5 0 1 190 224 -34 22
10.Warriors 13 6 0 0 7 0 1 302 304 -2 21
11.Titans 13 5 0 1 7 0 1 209 245 -36 19
12.Raiders 13 5 0 0 8 0 1 249 318 -69 18
13.Roosters 13 5 0 0 8 0 1 216 312 -96 18
14.Knights 13 4 0 1 8 0 1 208 279 -71 16
15.Panthers 13 3 1 0 9 0 1 212 297 -85 14
16.Eels 12 2 0 0 10 0 2 208 344 -136 12