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The Barry

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Joined July 2010

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But that’s the whole point of having the bunker, to get closer to 100%…otherwise let’s just live with the 96-99% anyway

Using Thursday night as an example, the ref awards try, bunker could have looked at it before Reynolds lined up his kick and told Klein it was no try. He could have reversed the decision and thrown the ball to the Bulldogs for a 20 metre tap

We hear all the time “the bunker is there to stop the howler”. Well that was a howler that would have been over ruled with one look by the bunker. That should be the bunker’s focus, not looking at whether the player had a pinky on the ball 12 times from 10 different angles, where a call either way is complete opinion and reasonable either way

South Sydney's pretend contenders can have no complaints about Su'A's sin-bin

I don’t know how many more different ways I can write it…if the ball carrier crosses the sideline in the act of scoring the protocol should be that it gets checked

If it’s a clear cut try the video will clear it in one look before the goal kicker is even ready to take his shot at goal. If not we avoid an absolute howler like we got on Thursday night

Worrying about major mainstream criticism is the NRL’s biggest problem. This idea that awarding a try without going to the video as Gus Gould et al currently propound is some sort of tick mark for the ref is ridiculous

I don’t have a problem with a quick check after a try to clear the howler that a ref may have missed. There’s a natural break in play anyway and with points on offer they are critical decisions

What I dislike about the technology is things stopping the game and reviewing a strip / loose carry call that gets looked at 10-12 times to determine a genuine 50/50

It’s these calls where we’re interrupting the flow and momentum of the game for no good reason that need to be looked at

South Sydney's pretend contenders can have no complaints about Su'A's sin-bin

The interpretation and what Klein specifically said on Thursday night was “forceful contact“

If someone’s burrowing in from dummy half, yes contact with the head is inevitable but forceful contact is almost impossible unless the defender winds up with a swinging arm…in which case it should be a penalty

There was a tackle later in the game, where Josh Jackson (I think) made a lazy tackle where his arm bounced up off the ball and hit Cody Walker a glancing blow on the face. The ref quite rightfully penalised Jackson but didn’t take any further action because it wasn’t forceful contact

There was probably a 100 other tackles where some sort of contact was made with the head

The rule is to specifically stop / limit these sorts of forceful tackles where the defender is launching towards the head of the ball carrier

Maybe the game would be better if we’d never learned about how dangerous concussions are, but now we do know something has to be done

There may be times defenders have good excuses of why they’ve knocked someone into Disneyland, but “he fell 10cm” shouldn’t be one of them

Be careful what you wish for when it comes to high contact

The Su’A tackle is the most recent and obvious example

The intent of changing the rules isn’t to find someone to blame. 20 years ago we didn’t know the long term effects of concussion so we were willing to accept the odd accidental head shot

But the whole environment has changed. We’re starting to understand the cumulative effect of head trauma so the tolerance for accidents has reduced

Su’A’s tackle or whatever example you want to use was accidental but it was also completely avoidable. Aiming so high with force is a high risk tackle

It really comes down to two questions… do we want these accidental head shots reduced or out of the game? To me, it’s a clear yes

So how else do we get them out of the game other than putting some responsibility on the defender for these high risk high shots?

Be careful what you wish for when it comes to high contact

They’re good questions

If a player made a clean break and scored under the posts and the ref allowed it, but replays showed he’d lost it, I could probably live with it… but why not look at it

That’s not what happened the other night. Paulo’s legs crossed the touch line as he grounded the ball. It’s unreasonable to expect touchies or refs to get that right, in real time, 100% of the time

But it’s not unreasonable to expect that as a standard when a players legs cross the sideline as he grounds the ball that it’s reviewed to make sure. It really was a quick, look once at the front replay. Done.

I don’t think we’ve got the use of the video ref right, but there’s no reason not to look at those ones. We all knew it was no try before Reynolds kicked for goal, why shouldn’t it be an auto review and why can’t the bunker give the ref the heads up that it was a mistake?

I disagree with holding the game up to micro analyse 50/50s, but tries are obviously game changers and there’s a natural break to review

There has to be a limit on how far they go back. It’s not 100% but in the play that lead up to the try seems ok. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to review the whole play since the last tackle, Otherwise do you go back two plays, three plays, there’d be no footy…

In real time, I called out “did he go out?” I wish I’d posted it here in the blog but I thought it was wishful thinking because I’m biased and he did ground the ball a long way inside the touch line and there was no one tackling him

South Sydney's pretend contenders can have no complaints about Su'A's sin-bin

Rest them all Ivan…

Cleary to rest more Panthers against Dogs

Yeah, probably not worded well but I meant the way he dropped his body height and launched upwards…

That’s the technique that great head on tacklers like Gillespie, Gilmeister and Dean Lance (who I reckon is one of the most under rated head on defenders of all time) used…except they drove up from under the ball so the chances of smashing someone in the head like Su’A did was minimal

Be careful what you wish for when it comes to high contact

The best thing about being a Bulldogs fan over the past 40 years has been the regular semi finals, grand finals and premierships. Second best has been the security of knowing that when the bad times hit, they’ll never last long because of how well the club is run

Doesn’t feel like that any more

I choose to believe that Peter Moore, like Walt Disney and John Wayne is cryogenically frozen. When they find a cure for 40 Craven A’s a day, he’ll be thawed out and the Bulldogs will return to their rightful place at the top of the ladder

As ridiculous as that sounds, it seems a more likely path to success than waiting for the current board to sort itself out and get us back on track

The Dogs of War mentality wasn’t intended for the board room

That’s all well written and reasonably argued but it misses the mark

For better or worse we live in an era where we’re more aware of the dangers of head trauma. I’d love to continue with the ‘accidents gonna happen’ shoulder chargin, head punchin, high shottin, game that we all grew up with

But it’s not reasonable to subject players to that and it’s completely unsustainable

Accidents will always happen, but they’re not unavoidable

I don’t think Su’A intentionally set out to hit Lewis in the head. Lewis definitely fell just before the point of impact

BUT Su’A did deliberately and intentionally choose to make a tackle aimed at Lewis’ upper sternum, above the ball. Before the point of impact he dropped and then launched his body upwards

His technique was classic… except his intended target was too high. It makes the tackle high risk and the margin for error minuscule. If he aimed 30cms lower – under the ball – that tackle would be every bit as spectacular, but with a far reduced chance of anything going wrong, regardless of how far Lewis fell

So no, Su’A didn’t deliberately hit Lewis high, but that doesn’t mean there was nothing he could have done to avoid the head contact

This week it was him dishing it out, next week it could Su’A in the receiving end. It’s a far better outcome for the game and particularly its players if defenders start making better choices when they go in to make a tackle

There will still be unavoidable head contact and injuries…but this wasn’t unavoidable by a long shot

Be careful what you wish for when it comes to high contact

Great comment Mick…

South Sydney's pretend contenders can have no complaints about Su'A's sin-bin

But the rule is that hits like Sua’s are actually illegal whether they’re accidental or not

It’s not about any head contact it’s about forceful head contact where a defender is launching himself into a high risk zone

Su’A could just have easily hit Lewis under the ball. The tackle would have been every bit as brutal but the chances of head contact would have been zero. But he didn’t. He INTENTIONALLY chose to go the more dangerous, high risk road. It went wrong, he pays the price bad luck. It’s a pretty easy and pretty fair system and pretty much answers your queries

South Sydney's pretend contenders can have no complaints about Su'A's sin-bin

I think there’s another element to it

It’s counter productive to the quality of the end product to have your best assets sitting out suspensions. It’s “better” to set a standard where a normal head shot gets a warning and a brutal one three weeks than setting the bar at three weeks and eight weeks

I think this theory manifests itself in plenty of other ways. Rookie or lesser known players get harsher treatment than top tier players for on field or off suspensions

The NRL has always been reluctant to suspend players for off field incidents until the off season from hell a couple of years ago

Things like tripping you can get off with a fine now instead of getting a few weeks. Same with low grade high shots. Eye gouging and biting used to be 10 or 12 week suspensions. Not for a while

Like all good conspiracy theories there’s zero actual evidence for it but a lot of things point that way…

South Sydney's pretend contenders can have no complaints about Su'A's sin-bin

No ones saying take hard tackles out. Take head shots out…even if they’re accidental. How can you argue with that?

South Sydney's pretend contenders can have no complaints about Su'A's sin-bin

Yeah, I’ve said all the way through that I don’t think it was intentional…but it was definitely high risk. Aiming at the upper sternum, above the ball as well as dropping and launching upwards leaves a very small margin for error and no way to pull out if the attacking player drops like Lewis did

You’re 100% right, defenders need to tackle lower. You can’t make high risk tackles like Su’A’s and then say “not my fault” if it goes pear shaped

South Sydney's pretend contenders can have no complaints about Su'A's sin-bin

I agree Su’A went for a legit tackle, he just didn’t make a legit tackle

I don’t think it was intentional at all, but that’s not the rule any more. There’s an onus on the defender to avoid contact with the head. Su’A took the risk by going so high and paid the price went it went wrong

It doesn’t matter how it was back in the day

South Sydney's pretend contenders can have no complaints about Su'A's sin-bin

Yes Tim I know

But you’re only looking at one side

Wynn, Craig’s Young, Pat Jarvis and O’Grady dropped cowards elbows into every tackle they made

Wynn was the ultimate cheap shot merchant but went to water whenever he was confronted. He got found out by Beetson in State of Origin 1, when Beetson dropped him for trying to bash a halfback. Wynn got no more than he deserved

The Dogs absolutely deserved it. They completely outplayed the Dragons for the entire game. The Dragons had pace and skill out wide but insisted on trying to bash the Bulldogs through the middle. They played against their strengths and into the Bulldogs

Dragons waited until the 76th minute to spread the ball out wide and scored immediately

It was a terrible coaching performance, terrible playing performance and Wynn getting KO’d had nothing to do with the result

Let it go buddy. It was 35 years ago and no amount of one-eyed salty tears will get the Dragons the premiership

I hate the Bunker

It’s a badge of honour Scotty… you’re not doing your job if you don’t have some one eyed @rse-hat calling you a hater

South Sydney's pretend contenders can have no complaints about Su'A's sin-bin

They haven’t though

Lewis did one of these hits a few weeks ago and wasn’t suspended. NAS ironed out Niukore and got off with a fine while Niukore then broke B Smith’s jaw and wasn’t even cited…

South Sydney's pretend contenders can have no complaints about Su'A's sin-bin

I’m not advocating that at all…although it is worth some thought

When the “ref’s decision cant be overturned” rule was written 100+ years ago, there wasn’t a review process in place, let alone super slo mo etc. if that rule stays fine, but just doing it because it was done like that 100 years ago is daft

What I was actually saying is that if a players legs cross the sideline while scoring the try, the onfield officials should automatically refer to the bunker

The process isn’t that the commentators or the opposition players have to call for a video review, it’s the role of the onfield officials if there’s any doubt

They clearly stuffed that up

South Sydney's pretend contenders can have no complaints about Su'A's sin-bin

It’s not rubbish at all…the answer is easy – don’t aim your tackle above the ball

Front on defenders like Gillespie, Gilmeister, Dean Lance, etc pulled off hits that we’re just as big and always aimed under the ball

If a defender CHOOSES to aim at the upper sternum and drops and launches his body upwards like Su’A did, the margin of error is tiny

Players drop, slip, fall in tackles all the time. A defender needs to allow for that. Hit above the ball all you want. If it works, fine. Great hit. But you can’t play d.umb when it goes wrong

Su'A lauded for 'skewering' Lewis... then gets binned

Sorry Steve, that’s garbage

You can still have brutal collisions that don’t involve whacks to the head

If Su’A had aimed that tackle around the ball it would have been a brutal Gillespie / Gilmeister type of classic tackle. It would have been just as spectacular

We know more about head injuries than ever before, but I reckon we have more head contact than ever before. The player with the “wobbly boot” used to be once a week. Now you see at least one every game

If rugby league can only be a brutal, collision based sport if there’s hits to the head then it’s probably doomed

South Sydney's pretend contenders can have no complaints about Su'A's sin-bin

That’s a good point – players fall in tackles all the time. Its the whole point of making a tackle. Defenders need to allow for that

It’s not an option to say “he fell, so it’s okay to hit him in the head”

South Sydney's pretend contenders can have no complaints about Su'A's sin-bin

Agree with both of you

If you aim above the ball there margin of error if something goes wrong is tiny. Defenders should be accountable for that

Also when you watch the tackle, Su’A drops his body and hits Lewis rising. It can be spectacular and is a technique used by great front on defenders like Gillespie, Gillmeister and Dean Lance but not when you’re aiming your tackle at the upper sternum in the first place…it’s a recipe for disaster

South Sydney's pretend contenders can have no complaints about Su'A's sin-bin

Great comment

The half time diatribe by Andrew Johns was embarrassing. Comment after comment of “the defender can’t disappear” “this is a collision sport” “I know we have a duty of care”

He missed the mark by a mile

South Sydney's pretend contenders can have no complaints about Su'A's sin-bin

I agree it’s essential but no so much on that it only needs tweaking

For me the approach I’d fundamentally flawed. They see it as an opportunity to micro analyse the closest of 50/50 calls in the hopes of coming up with a “perfect” decision – which is impossible

I think it needs to be limited in either number of replays or time. That will get rid of the howlers. If used correctly, one or two looks was enough to decide the Paulo try / no-try, the Chris Smith try, the Reimis Smith try, the try that Hoppa stopped with his boot and the Knights captain’s challenge. They’re the potential howlers.

Looking at something 12 times to determine if it was a strip or loose carry or whether there was a pinky touching the ball aren’t howlers. They’re 50/50s that are all opinion and will never have a “right” answer

I think you and I are on the same page, but I don’t think changing the entire approach to how the technology is used is just a ‘tweak’. It takes someone with the brains and gumption to redesign the system, retrain the thinking of the refs and the fortitude to withstand the inevitable knee jerk criticism

Farcical scenes as refs opt not to check clear non-try with the bunker