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"If you must cheat, don't compete" seems to be lost in modern sport

20th November, 2018
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20th November, 2018
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Over the last seven months, I’ve read thousands of comments that Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were cheating by using sandpaper on the ball in Cape Town.

By the letter of the law, that’s exactly what they did.

But it’s the punishment that has caused the greatest debate, ranging from the moronic demanding of a life suspension, to congratulating Cricket Australia for having the balls to severely punish the trio because cheating is not in an Australian sportsman’s DNA.

What total crap.

Call it cheating, or pushing the envelope, but I haven’t read one comment about how illegal the ‘scrum’ feed is in rugby league.

Since the code’s inauguration in 1908, the law has read – “The ball shall be fed into the scrum at the centre of the tunnel between the two packs”.

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What tunnel?

I’ve been watching rugby league for over 70 years, and I honestly can’t remember when the tunnel disappeared, and every ‘scrum’ is fed into the second row.

But it must have been before 2002, when Immortal-in-waiting Cameron Smith began his senior career with the Storm.

Since then, he’s played nearly 500 NRL, Origin, and international games, and not once – repeat, not once – has he ever hooked for the ball, nor has there been a tunnel.

An illegal feed is cheating, or does the fact the NRL condones the illegality according to the law book, that makes it ‘legal’?

cameron-smith-australia-kangaroos-rugby-league-four-nations-2016

Cam Smith (Simon Cooper/PA via AP)

Knockers on the cricket trio can’t have it both ways, so how about a concentrated effort to ban the illegal feeding of the rugby league ‘scrum’ that has long spread worldwide?

And, while you’re at it, closely watch the rugby scrum feed.

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Sure it’s a genuine scrum, and sure there’s a clear tunnel, but halfbacks are so shrewd they can feed the centre with a spin that would do Shane Warne proud.

Pushing the envelope, or cheating?

I haven’t seen a rugby league, or rugby, kickoff in the last five years without at least one offside, more often that not multiple offsides.

And never pinged.

Pushing the envelope, or cheating?

And cricket has two more that don’t pass the smell test.

The non-striking batsman taking off before the ball leaves the bowler’s hand, and the slather of zinc cream on faces.

In the former, Cricket Australia XI captain Ben McDermott took off early against South Africa. His batting partner, Max Bryant, smacked a straight drive that flicked Lungi Ngidi’s hand, and cannoned into the stumps with McDermott well out of his ground.

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Pushing the envelope, or cheating?

In the latter, if zinc is to minimise skin cancer, why doesn’t every cricketer wear it? But only a few do, which makes it suspicious.

So there are many grounds where those who have said Smith, Warner and Bancroft are unAustralian are a long way away from the real truth.

At least be consistent across the board.