Is it time to introduce ‘The Fatty Rule’?

Anthony Roar Pro

By Anthony, Anthony is a Roar Pro

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30 Have your say

    Paul ‘The Fatman’ Vautin was a grand final captain for Manly in 1987, captained Queensland in two winning State of Origin games, and was an Australian Kangaroo representative.

    Other famous men to captain a winning grand final team (NSWRL/ARL/NRL), captain Queensland, and play for the Kangaroos include: Arthur Beetson (Roosters), Mal Meninga (Canberra Raiders), Allan Langer (Brisbane Broncos), Darren Lockyer (Brisbane Broncos) and Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm).

    Only 18 Queenslanders have played more Origin games than Fatty.

    How big was the Fat?
    If you lined up every Australian male in order of height, the Fat would be in the middle. Standing at 176cm, Vautin the lock/second rower is the same height as the average Australian male. And that is the problem, modern Origin players are tall and average 185cm, 9cm taller than Fat.

    The smallest Origin players this series were five eighths Anthony Milford and James Maloney. Each 176cm, same height as Fatty, same height as the average Australian.

    Bottom line, the Queensland Origin team would never select a tiny tot in the forwards. And how much poorer would the game be without the Fat, a dead set character of the game.

    And herein lies the problem. If a player like Paul Vautin would be overlooked due to being a comparative ‘runt of the litter’ in the modern era, have the NRL effectively destroyed hope and marginalised future rugby league players and supporters? And to the detriment of the NRL, has the NRL restricted itself to a smaller stock of players?

    Paul Fatty Vautin at the Logies for the Footy Show

    Maybe State of Origin is not your cup of tea. What do you want to be? A Wallaby? For most Australians, no chance. The 2015 Wallabies average height was approximately 188cm. Immediately a line is drawn through the names of the majority of would be rugby players. This means there is limited playing stocks available for professional rugby union to pick from.

    Ok you live on the other side of the Barassi line, Australian Rules football it is. Surely Aussie rules is getting it right? Nope. The AFL is now geared towards players who are tall and able to run for miles each game. The average AFL player is 188 cm.

    The result is this. Soccer is now a viable option in both rugby and AFL heartland. Soccer is getting a lot of things right, but perhaps its greatest attribute is that height (and bulk size) is not an advantage to the same extent which it can be in rugby union/rugby league/AFL.

    What rugby union, rugby league and AFL are guilty of is mirroring the trends in American gridiron and basketball. This has happened in the span of a mere 40 years.

    A lot of parents look at their kids and know they are not tall enough, or bulky enough. The English also average 176cm, and New Zealand 177cm.

    The Fatman Rule
    If I was king I would implement a boxing weight division style ‘Fatman Rule.’ The Fatman Rule would ensure that at the elite level, whenever a team takes the field, the playing team’s average height must not exceed the average Australian male’s height. Further the average BMI of the team must be within the average BMI range of a healthy Australian male. After all, team sports are supposed to be about being healthy, not bulky.

    What would be the result? Participation rates and crowds would stand to increase. The game would have become about the every man again. Playing stocks would immediately swell at the elite NRL/rugby union/AFL level. A larger pool would suggest that you would be able to pick both great players and characters/role models for the game.

    Heaven forbid more characters like Paul Vautin might emerge from this type of rule.

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    The Crowd Says (30)

    • Roar Guru

      August 19th 2017 @ 7:55am
      Rellum said | August 19th 2017 @ 7:55am | ! Report

      Wally Lewis did this in 84 and 86 whilst also coaching his club in 86. Of course we did loose all three origin games in 86 so I am not sure if that meets your requirements.

    • Roar Guru

      August 19th 2017 @ 8:12am
      The Barry said | August 19th 2017 @ 8:12am | ! Report

      It’s interesting but that’s not a real proposal is it? We get every team on the scales and tape measure before every game?

      There’s that saying “a good big man will beat a good little man” which makes it exhilarating when a quality little bloke cones through.

      Also – are you competing Vautins height when he was playing in the 80s to the average male height now? If you are it sort of makes your point redundant.

      • Roar Pro

        August 19th 2017 @ 10:22pm
        Anthony said | August 19th 2017 @ 10:22pm | ! Report

        I like your scale and tap measure imagery.

        For height, unless a Gattaca is done, height should stay pretty well constant. Granted you do get a marginal increase over time.

        Your quote was used by Phil Gould just before the Origin Dynasty “a good big man will beat a good little man”. Seems like QLD listened.

        You are dead right though, when the little man comes through great to see. Let’s get more of them coming through though, and get back to 1970s/1980s size distribution!

    • August 19th 2017 @ 8:40am
      RV said | August 19th 2017 @ 8:40am | ! Report

      You don’t need a BMI rule, you just need to reduce the interchange or go back to the substitution rule.

      Then you wouldn’t have these huge, lumbering players that can only play for 20-30 minutes of a game.

      • Roar Guru

        August 19th 2017 @ 11:22am
        BigJ said | August 19th 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

        What just like the 80’s

    • August 19th 2017 @ 9:17am
      Agent11 said | August 19th 2017 @ 9:17am | ! Report

      Can I just mention how dumb and inaccurate Fatty’s commentary was last night? At one point he said the Broncos are averaging 36 points a game in 2017. Not sure where he got his statistics from but that would be an all-time season record if true. The Broncos are only scoring 24 points a game though. He later said the Dragons have struggled to score tries all season even though the Dragons are the second best attacking team in the NRL this year…

      • Roar Guru

        August 19th 2017 @ 9:34am
        Michael Keeffe said | August 19th 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

        get foxtel

      • August 19th 2017 @ 9:39am
        Big Daddy said | August 19th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        Agent 11,
        He has brain damage from nodding his head all the time.
        The guy is a dinosaur and I think Andrew is trying to take the “wee wee” with this post.

        • August 19th 2017 @ 11:19am
          Noel said | August 19th 2017 @ 11:19am | ! Report

          I’m pretty sure he said ‘over the last 4 games’ or something like that.

          • August 19th 2017 @ 11:48am
            Oingo Boingo said | August 19th 2017 @ 11:48am | ! Report

            Facts are over rated Noel , when character assassinating , creativity and exaggeration are the order of the day.

        • August 19th 2017 @ 6:13pm
          Peter said | August 19th 2017 @ 6:13pm | ! Report

          Actually Paul Vautin has suffered a quite severe stroke with consequent brain damage but hey, great snarky comment! Hope it made you feel good.

        • Roar Pro

          August 20th 2017 @ 10:35am
          Anthony said | August 20th 2017 @ 10:35am | ! Report

          Most footy fans would agree, Fatty is an icon of the game!

          If champion players of the past (like Fatty and other players from the 70’s/80’s) are now considered to be too ‘small’ to be given a look in these days, something has gone wrong with the game. The first stone to look under is height.

          The problem is these players are not small. The NRL has just gotten too big.

    • Roar Rookie

      August 19th 2017 @ 9:29am
      Chris Charlton said | August 19th 2017 @ 9:29am | ! Report

      I think after Jonathan Thurston was overlooked due to height and became a rugby league great/ legend/ possible future Immortal, the height has become less of a factor in scouting.
      Having said that, if a man can’t tackle worth his life, or is a defensive liability because of a lack of size or physicality, then that should also be taken into account.

      • Roar Guru

        August 19th 2017 @ 9:44am
        BigJ said | August 19th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        Agree Chris i think people forget that defense is the most important part of the game and it took old Jt about over ten years to realise this.

        Andrew your article make no sense. I can tell you that through twenty years of sports and being a sports an fitness coach BMI is an outdated method that lost its purpose long before i even entered into the fitness world. These days fat and muscle % are the way now and your so called fat rule would make fatty ineligible as his fat percent would probably be over what would be considered healthy. The healthy range is below 25%

        • Roar Pro

          August 19th 2017 @ 9:03pm
          Anthony said | August 19th 2017 @ 9:03pm | ! Report

          Thanks for your comments bigJ. Muscle % is a great metric.

          The Intent is to bring the sport back to the everyman. Height is the key metric of the article.

          A secondary metric is BMI, but could this be interchanged with Muscle %? Sure why not.

          Before the recent push towards the chunky supersized players, there was a long proud history in which players had a more mainstream Muscle %. Play a few finals from the 70’s and 80’s, and compare to the modern day. Which is the better product, well that is up for debate.

    • August 19th 2017 @ 9:36am
      AGordon said | August 19th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

      At the same time the Fatman was running around for Manly, a bloke named Paul Sironen was playing for Balmain. It was always an interesting contest when the little blokes had to stop a guy who was 195cm. This sort of thing would be lost with your proposal.

      As others have suggested, if there was no interchange (except for head injuries) and only 4 replacements per game for other injuries, you’d need a lot more players capable of lasting the full 80 minutes. Whether that would mean more smaller players, probably, but there are plenty of guys well over 180cms who play full games now – most backs in all NRL sides fit this bill.

      By the way, Fatty was seen as a bit of a “one off” throughout his career because, even then, the vast majority of players were much bigger

      • Roar Pro

        August 19th 2017 @ 1:44pm
        Anthony said | August 19th 2017 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

        The Fatman Rule would not exclude Paul Sironen from playing as you would just need the TEAM average to be below the cap. What it does ensure is that the game doesn’t become height dominated.

      • August 20th 2017 @ 12:05pm
        Brando Connor said | August 20th 2017 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

        If you are serious about bringing the game back to the average bloke. You need to get rid of these health food eating freaks. Strip it back to the basics of pies and beer. A simple rule change I like to call “score a try – eat a pie”. Sounds complicated I know, but it boils down to if your team scores a try everyone on the attacking side has to eat a pie prior to the restart. Similarly no runners with sports water for rehydrating. Atleast once a half every player must run to the esky at the half way line and grab a tinny of beer and chug the whole thing, because we done believe in waste. And for hygene purposes stray dogs will roam the grounds cleaning up any spew. Rugby League safely back in the hands of the average bloke! You’re welcome Australia.

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