Stop the clock, NRL is running out of time

Chris Chard Columnist

By Chris Chard, Chris Chard is a Roar Expert

 , ,

32 Have your say

    Learning how to push in a scrum would help bring back the good times in the NRL. (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Colin Whelan)

    Related coverage

    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
    Chris Chard

    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

    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (32)

    • May 23rd 2013 @ 3:04am
      DubbleBubble said | May 23rd 2013 @ 3:04am | ! Report

      Well done, that was hilarious!

    • May 23rd 2013 @ 6:50am
      Silvertail said | May 23rd 2013 @ 6:50am | ! Report

      Classic ,

    • May 23rd 2013 @ 8:39am
      turbodewd said | May 23rd 2013 @ 8:39am | ! Report

      Good work Chris,

      ye post highlights a genuine issue – professional timekeeping and rugby league arent currently bedfellows. Rugby league claims to be an 80min contest but its actually 55-57min if u look at all the lost time at tries, dropouts, penalties, I could go on.

      We would have roughly the same game if it was 60min and had proper time stoppages. The fans would never need to complain or worry and it would be one less thing the ref need think about.

      • May 23rd 2013 @ 9:43am
        Luke Reds said | May 23rd 2013 @ 9:43am | ! Report

        I remember reading an article a few days ago (no link sorry) that the NRL is planning, either later in the year or 2014, to enforce less time in order for kickoffs, scrums, conversions and those things which apparently could add as much as eight extra minutes of actual playing time

        • Columnist

          May 23rd 2013 @ 10:37am
          Chris Chard said | May 23rd 2013 @ 10:37am | ! Report

          Yes it’s interesting.

          Perhaps the NRL is just trying to keep some sort of uniformity between itself and the lower levels of the game where it’s more difficult to constantly stop/start the clock, but really you could argue that unless the ball was in play the clock should be stopped… personally I’ve always thought time off for conversions would make sense.

      • May 23rd 2013 @ 5:32pm
        liquor box said | May 23rd 2013 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

        I think it would be less actual time in play, ever since you cant strike at the ball as it is being played there is essentiall wasted time betweeen the moment held is called and when the dummy half grabs the ball. The ball is actually being used or contested for a very brief time each set of six

    • Roar Guru

      May 23rd 2013 @ 8:46am
      Mark Young said | May 23rd 2013 @ 8:46am | ! Report

      This is one of your best!!

      There were a number of people wondering why some Jackass on the 6:37 Gosford to Central was giggling uncontrollably!

      Can we get a picture in picture feature for when the replays keep on coming and the water is slowly filling up the video refs box|?

      • Columnist

        May 23rd 2013 @ 10:39am
        Chris Chard said | May 23rd 2013 @ 10:39am | ! Report

        Ha ha it would be great wouldn’t it, one would actually look forward to the Video Ref being called upon!

    • Columnist

      May 23rd 2013 @ 9:35am
      Dane Eldridge said | May 23rd 2013 @ 9:35am | ! Report

      I must concur with the masses here, that’s some of your best innovation Mr C!

      I would love to see the D.Boyd foreword and the thumbnail it is printed on, if it ever eventuates. Who knows, there could be a brilliant poet hiding under those limited linguistics he displays?

      • Columnist

        May 23rd 2013 @ 10:41am
        Chris Chard said | May 23rd 2013 @ 10:41am | ! Report

        “Yeah yeah nah” ha ha

        Interesting old character Darius, everyone who knows him says he lovely bloke so maybe he’ll mellow out in years to come

    • May 23rd 2013 @ 9:52am
      Bearfax said | May 23rd 2013 @ 9:52am | ! Report

      Totally opposed to these new time rules. Surely we have to consider the welfare of the players here. They need time out now and then to recover. Easy for backyard watchers of the game to be critical of time wasting. But what’s lost with a few minutes to catch one’s breath? The more pressure they put on players like this the more chance of injury and the more chance of a clumsy tackle that may maim someone. Sorry but I think this is a media pushed idea to ensure the game fits into their allocated time slot on TV.

      • May 23rd 2013 @ 10:10am
        turbodewd said | May 23rd 2013 @ 10:10am | ! Report


        you make the game 30min halves with proper timekeeping = current duration.

        No difference to the players whatsoever, same time on the field.

    , ,