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Opinion

Forget the rules, this is the NRL's biggest problem

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Roar Rookie
23rd June, 2021
88
1112 Reads

Like many other rusted-on old league fans, I have joined the bandwagon and found myself changing channels because of the blowout scores and the quality of some of the games.

The six-again rule but mainly the ‘any contact to the head’ rule have been two contributing factors to this.

To try and apply a black-and-white rule to to all contact to the head is impossible to enforce. There are too many variables and I hope common sense will prevail in time and the new rules will soon be rectified.

But I also fear there is another big black cloud starting to appear on the horizon and unless it is addressed sooner rather than later it will cause as much damage to the quality of the game – and for a much longer period.

The NRL has to get its priorities right and seriously start looking at the shortage of quality young players being developed for the future to accommodate the supply and demand the old clubs and the new clubs will require to be competitive and produce the high standard of games that the fans need to stay interested and entertained

I am not a Penrith supporter but I look at the team they have grown and developed over the last couple of years and I have nothing but admiration for what they bring to the table.

Nathan Cleary of the Panthers celebrates kicking a field goal

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Some have said they are arrogant the way they carry on but I see a team of young guys who have come through the grades together and are playing for each other and enjoying every minute of the game.

Their brilliant, electric attack and rock-solid defence is a credit to them and they are showing us how great and entertaining the game can be and should be.

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Love him or hate him – and I am a Queenslander, I might add – I salute Phil Gould for biting the bullet and having the vision to see that the way to be successful and produce a top quality team was to go back to nursery and grassroots and start growing their own young talent and developing them into a side that is now the envy of the NRL.

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Hopefully the NRL and other clubs have taken this on board and have plans in the pipeline to follow suit.

But will Penrith reap the rewards for years to come? I doubt it.

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Because of the lack of time, money and of effort of some of the other clubs to do likewise and the introduction of new clubs to the competition, there is going to be a big shortage of quality players to go around.

As a result, Penrith will lose many of their top players due to poaching from other clubs and the salary cap.

Matt Burton of the Panthers.

Matt Burton is already on his way out the door. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

There is too much competition from other clubs and codes competing for young talented kids and the NRL needs to act soon for the long-term future of the game.

The NRL needs to forget about coming up with new rules for a while and seriously concentrate on encouraging teams to follow Penrith’s lead by offering the incentives that have been often spoken about but always seem to end up in the too hard basket, offering discounts and bonuses to the home-grown players developed in a club.

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Maybe the under-20 comp needs to be resurrected.

By not having a competitive competition due to clubs not having enough quality players to go around, the game will suffer in the long term no matter how many new rules are introduced to try and make it more entertaining.

New rules can be made or changed overnight.

Growing and developing young talent for the future of the game is a more difficult and time-consuming procedure and needs to be addressed now for the long-term future and wellbeing of the game.

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