It is time to stop revolting?

By Daniel Andruczyk

This weekend apparently saw a “whole bunch of average” games in the NRL. Well so it was claimed by several commentators on the radio. Apparently the play was terrible, the referees were terrible, it was stated that this has been the worst season in a long time in terms of quality rugby league and something needs to be done to “Fix it”? Um ha!? Since when did Rugby League, or any sport for that matter become purely an entertainment product?

Yes sure, I know that we, as Rugby League fans claim that out of all the football codes Rugby League is the best and most entertaining… and it is! But one of the great things about any sport is that you get a variety of games, sometimes good and sometimes bad, that teams need to be able to play and compete in any situation… and the fans need to be able to sit through and cheer any situation.

Why are we so obsessed in Rugby League every single year trying to swap and change things as a knee jerk reaction to some one off situation that happens, and if anything made the game interesting and a talking point. It is my opinion that in the last 5 years in particular that we have messed around too much with the rules and structure of the game purely for making money and the essence of the game and the reasons why we follow it are slowly being eroded.

It was once said that Rugby League is a sport ahead of its time, that it always brings in new “revolutions” into the game which many other sports then follow. However, I think this is completely the wrong way to look at the sport. Rugby League IS NOT a revolutionary sport, it IS a evolutionary sport. The revolution concept in Rugby League comes from the fact that we revolted against the Rugby Football Union in 1895, but isn’t the fact that we change in an organic way over time with play-the-balls and limited tackle rule an evolution of the sport, not a revolution.

Rugby League evolved to what it is now but with all the swaps and changes and quick fixes that seem to come in and out every year and also that there are different rules for different countries and International Rugby League shows that we have actually lost the plot when it comes to the sport. Is it that important that every game, team and player is a clone so that we get the same monotonous stuff every day and week? It also becomes difficult for referees to continually know exactly what the new rule interpretations and laws are, and so invariably the quality goes downs, which is exactly what the complaints were on the weekend.

So here is the paradox, the catch 22 from all this. A game is bad thus we must change the rules, but by changing the rules the standard of refereeing goes down and so the game is bad, so we change the rules etc… and round and round we seem to go.

I say that we need to stop this revolting for about 10 years. Draw a line somewhere and say OK, this is where we are at, lets just give this a go before we step back and have a world wide discussion for what needs to be done. Then if any changes are needed we make sure that 1. everyone is in a position to implement them and 2. the RLIF then endorses and makes sure that the laws are implemented across the whole world.

Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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15 Responses to “It is time to stop revolting?”

  1. Cheyne Maher says:

    Another well put blog Dan. There are way too many knee jerk reactions going on, partly driven by media. We just need to have confidence in our sport (or product).

    While it is important that we keep spreading the game accross the rest of Australia and indeed the globe of far more importance is keeping it strong in the heartlands. When interest in RL is going strong in NSW and QLD, we have more bargaining power for things such as TV rights and sponsors.

    This gives us a much stronger platform to win over new fans from frontier states like VIC and WA, as well as countries such as the USA, as opposed to trying to “change the game” to increase the entertainment value.

  2. superpaulia says:

    As a sport we should stop squabbling, accentuate the positives and work together (coordinated by the RLIF) to expand both nationally and internationally.

    Australia is should play a major part in this but unfortunately, RL in Australia is rapidly turning into a different sport than the one played elsewhere. The RLIF should tell the Australians to stop their experiments with two referees, no corner flags etc

    It won’t because the Australians are the RLIF. There lies the problem

    • dragons4eva says:

      It is the same in Cricket. The ICC(International Cricket Board) is rapidly becoming the “Indian” Cricket Board(no offense to any Indians) because India have the most votes in the ICC due to the sheer numbers in the cricket business. Australia thinks that they can change anything that they want while the rest of the Rugby League world sticks to the old rules. I reckon in 50 years the NRL will become the new NFL of league.

      • druzik says:

        Look what can happen very soon is that if the NRL changes enough, then you can get teams like in the QRL and Bundy red cup as well as other state comps break away to form a proper RL comp and then make it more national and international.

        The NRL in 10 years will be a different sport.

    • druzik says:

      That is true, the ARL/NSWRL have too much power within the RLIF.

      The worst thing is that the RLIF sanctions different rules for Australia as opposed to other nations. we have 4 different rules in RL now.

  3. superpaulia says:

    I personally can’t see how an NRL referee (used to working in pairs) can officiate an international match anymore.
    The Australians have said in the past that they won’t accept a Frenchman (even SL referee Thierry Alibert) or a New Zealander for their matches due to their lack of experience. Who will referee international matches involving Australia in the future?

    • druzik says:

      Well the funny thing is, that the standard of refereeing at the moment in the NRL is not very high and so I dont think the NRL really has any legs to stand on. Plus they dont give any chances for other refs from nations to ref international games so how can the standard rise. Its another catch 22 situation in International RL isn’t it.

      The funny thing is, the European referees tend to do a lot of international refing. You get them doing the European Cup and shield, and refs from all divisions are given the chance, so in reality there are many experienced refs in international rugby league matches.

      Actually Steve Davis, who is an Aussie, is one of the the current RFL referee development and policy refs and he has refed many internationals himself, I have seen him on two occasions ref and he is outsanding and he did the European Bowl match this year with Malta and Norway.

      If last weeks effort by Thiery Alibert in the Rovers v Leeds game is anything to go by, they I would rather have him ref than any of the NRL referees. He was superb.

  4. superpaulia says:

    It highly unsatisfactory that one nation can pick and choose referees (and as a result intimidate the ones they choose) for their matches.

    The RLIF should insist that they will appoint neutral referees for all international matches and not accept any interference.

    This will not happen because the RLIF and the Australian authorities are the same people. This is a big problem that we face.

    I agree that Thiery Alibert was excellent last Friday.

    • druzik says:

      Yes, agree. Maybe there should be some sort of centralising of referees?

      Look The RLIF has to be shaken up, if the sport will go forward we need to completely restructure the RLIF.

  5. druzik says:

    Well the NRL has become more of a robotic style, but there are still many places that have the open and fat flowing style of Rugby league. The French still have elements of it and in England they chance their arm more than the Aussies.

    But they are different styles, having different styles is great for the game. What isn’t great is different rules which we have now 4 as I last counted: NRL, ESL (and other comps), International and North America… till there is standardisation from the RLIF (which is the NRL/ARL basically) then we will always have issues.

  6. druzik says:

    Because it not that easy to get in. Slowly but surely I hope to build a name for myself in the RL ranks and you never know.

  7. C.T.SANDERS says:

    Let the nrl play there own game.we dont need them

  8. C.T.SANDERS says:

    It will die off

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