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Rugby League rules - some proposals from a new fan


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#1 Vasile Andreica

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 05:24 AM

Hello everyone.

 

I've been lurking around here for a while. I'm from Romania, not exactly a RL heartland, and I find Rugby League a fascinating concept of a sport, which provides good games more often than not.

 

I follow NRL games on their official livestream channel and keep myself updated on European (mainly British of course) rugby league from various sources. I generally like the balance provided in the rules, the 6-tackle rule is very challenging and makes for equal opportunities with the ball.

 

Still I feel the game can be upgraded, as it has always been creative in its approach and always dared to take radical ideas to heart. The play-the-ball is a quick and elegant way to restart play, for example, at the middle point between the messy rucks of Union and the elaborate snap formations of American football.

 

The rules as they stand now entice teams to a formulaic style of play. I'm going to risk being ridiiculed - after all this is only my 2nd post here - and post some ideas to bring back creative rugby without losing the fine balance between defense and attack. There I go:

 

- Ditch the scrum altogether. It looks ridiculous as it is, makes a joke of the classic Union scrum positions and the grouping of players is very rarely exploited anyway. Instead, when a knock-on or another scrum situation appears, make it a play-the-ball on the spot, with the tackle count starting at zero, thus giving the team an extra tackle to work with.

 

- Allow only two defensive players to be involved in a tackle. Three tacklers or more - instant penalty. Will make for easier play-the-balls, more offload opportunities, and bring back the skill in tackling, instead of four-player gang assaults.

 

- To balance this, bring the defense at 5 meters instead of the current 10. This will force the attacking team to try more creative strategies, and maybe you will see the return of chip-and-chase or high chase kicks on 2nd or 3rd tackle, and innovative passing plays looking for the line break.

 

- Borrow from Union the rule which prohibits kicking the ball dead, giving the defensive team a scrum from the spot of the kick. You can make it applicable from behind the defenders' 30 meters line, because a crossfield kick is one thing and a mindless booting of the ball away is a whole other thing.

 

- At the end of a half, allow the team in possesion to play on till they complete their set of tackles, if they so wish.

 

The game is pretty good as it stands, but I feel these ideas are worth debating. Rugby League kept reinventing itself and this doesn't have to stop.


Edited by Vasile Andreica, 25 July 2013 - 10:33 AM.


#2 oldrover

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 09:04 AM

i wouldn't give a penalty for 3 tacklers or more, but a tackle could be deemed complete with a play the ball ensuing. it could stop some of this wrestling in the tackle.


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#3 Heritage XIII

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 09:19 AM

Wow, for a newcomer your suggestions appear to be very astute. Well done and welcome to the rugby league family. You seem to be on the right track.

 

Hope to see the Romanians apart of this organisation one day :)

 

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#4 YCKonstantine

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 09:26 AM

Possibly, maybe, no, you already removed the scrum in point one..

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#5 Vasile Andreica

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 09:32 AM

Possibly, maybe, no, you already removed the scrum in point one..

 

I was telling the Union rule. In league as I see it, of course, play-the-ball and tackle zero :)



#6 nathanwood7

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 09:39 AM

The scrum one is interesting. Personally I still see the merit in scrums as a way of removing forwards from the action and giving the backs more space to put on set pieces etc. However this has been almost entirely negated by the decision to allow players to break from the scrum (forwards) and move off the 10m defensive line (backs) at the earliest possible opportunity (is it when the ball reaches the loose forward!?). This means that by the time the ball reaches the first receiver, a lot of the space has been closed down.

 

I understand that part of the reason for this is to avoid "messy" or prolonged scrums, but it still seems a little bizarre as surely it would make for a more attractive open game if attacking teams were given more space/opportunities by strictly policing a rule that players cannot break until the ball is clear of the scrum (dare I say it like union).

 

What I would never advocate is Union style scrums, which are dangerous for the players involved, and painful for spectators to watch as the referee sets and resets them 100 times.



#7 zorquif

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 09:47 AM

The scrum one is interesting. Personally I still see the merit in scrums as a way of removing forwards from the action and giving the backs more space to put on set pieces etc. However this has been almost entirely negated by the decision to allow players to break from the scrum (forwards) and move off the 10m defensive line (backs) at the earliest possible opportunity (is it when the ball reaches the loose forward!?). This means that by the time the ball reaches the first receiver, a lot of the space has been closed down.

 

I understand that part of the reason for this is to avoid "messy" or prolonged scrums, but it still seems a little bizarre as surely it would make for a more attractive open game if attacking teams were given more space/opportunities by strictly policing a rule that players cannot break until the ball is clear of the scrum (dare I say it like union).

 

What I would never advocate is Union style scrums, which are dangerous for the players involved, and painful for spectators to watch as the referee sets and resets them 100 times.

 

My problem with this is that you often see 'forwards' lining up in the backs at scrum time now. Because you cannot push, there is no advantage really to having the big guys in the scrum. I think you should have to name who your scrum is before the game (I know that needs messing with to allow for replacements - so lets say you can name eight or nine 'forwards' of which 6 have to be on the pitch at any one time)



#8 Steve May

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 09:57 AM

Hello everyone.

 


- Ditch the scrum altogether. It looks ridiculous as it is, makes a joke of the classic Union scrum positions and the grouping of players is very rarely exploited anyway. Instead, when a knock-on or another scrum situation appears, make it a play-the-ball on the spot, with the tackle count starting at zero, thus giving the team an extra tackle to work with.

 

Hello and welcome.

 

I think your point  about the scrum here is interesting but I think it would be a great shame if the game was restarted with a simple PTB, and the opportunity for variation was lost.   It is for the coaches and players to decide how they want to use the opportunities afforded by the scrum. 

 

I don't think the comparison between scrums in RL and RU is particularly insightful.   The games have been separate for nearly 120 years now.  The classic union scrum positions are irrelevant in RL and have been for decades.


Edited by Steve May, 25 July 2013 - 09:57 AM.

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#9 Steve May

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 09:59 AM

My problem with this is that you often see 'forwards' lining up in the backs at scrum time now. Because you cannot push, there is no advantage really to having the big guys in the scrum. I think you should have to name who your scrum is before the game (I know that needs messing with to allow for replacements - so lets say you can name eight or nine 'forwards' of which 6 have to be on the pitch at any one time)

 

If there is no advantage to having the big guys in the scrum, then the coaches and players should find ways of using the big guys outside the scrum.    It seems to me to be an obvious moment for some interesting set pieces.

 

I would be against naming particular players and restricting what players can do on the field.  This isn't netball.


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#10 Steve May

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 10:00 AM

The scrum one is interesting. Personally I still see the merit in scrums as a way of removing forwards from the action and giving the backs more space to put on set pieces etc. However this has been almost entirely negated by the decision to allow players to break from the scrum (forwards) and move off the 10m defensive line (backs) at the earliest possible opportunity (is it when the ball reaches the loose forward!?). This means that by the time the ball reaches the first receiver, a lot of the space has been closed down.

 

I understand that part of the reason for this is to avoid "messy" or prolonged scrums, but it still seems a little bizarre as surely it would make for a more attractive open game if attacking teams were given more space/opportunities by strictly policing a rule that players cannot break until the ball is clear of the scrum (dare I say it like union).

 

Agree with this.


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#11 nathanwood7

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 10:06 AM

My problem with this is that you often see 'forwards' lining up in the backs at scrum time now. Because you cannot push, there is no advantage really to having the big guys in the scrum. I think you should have to name who your scrum is before the game (I know that needs messing with to allow for replacements - so lets say you can name eight or nine 'forwards' of which 6 have to be on the pitch at any one time)

 

If a defending team wanted to put its forwards in the backs then it would run the risk of being exposed by the faster backs of the opposition utilising the extra space better. Similarly the attacking team would lose its ability to put on a fast backs move if it used forwards outside the scrum, so I don't think pushing (or not) is the only relevant factor to having forwards in the scrum



#12 Johnoco

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 10:19 AM

I think they should have vaguely relevant positions in a scrum (ie second rowers in second row) and that when they rush to form a scrum near the end of the game, they should have to stay bound rather than just using it to stop the clock.

#13 Vasile Andreica

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 10:33 AM

Edited the OP to add a final suggestion, which I forgot when typing it in the morning.



#14 bobrock

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 10:39 AM

Good luck with your effort. RL fans are generally open to proposals but a little sensitive. Some time ago I wrote exactly the same about the ball kicked dead in an australian forum, but at the same time I openly made clear I am a union fan. Very few people answered about the matter, but many more reacted angrily and some of them even made comments about something I would name "Rugby Union Vichy spirit", inevitably driving anything I could say about League. Quite funny. But that doesn't bother me. I was at Old Trafford last year and even watchig the game live I couldn't understand why nobody kicked the ball before the final tackle. One day or another I'll get it myself.



#15 Steve May

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 11:20 AM

 But that doesn't bother me. I was at Old Trafford last year and even watchig the game live I couldn't understand why nobody kicked the ball before the final tackle. One day or another I'll get it myself.

 

 

If you think of RL plays as being sets of six tackles, the game makes much more sense.    And remember that the balance between the importance of possession and territory changes during the course of the set.   

 

If you kick the ball early, then it's very likely you'll lose it immediately and since it's early in the tackle count it's likely you won't have the territory to allow you to comfortably defend the next set.   You'd be putting yourself under pressure needlessly.

 

It does happen sometimes though, but the circumstances where it's a good option are quite rare.

 

Also worth noting that if you have a good kicker, then a 40-20 gets you off the rack and into a great attacking position at any point in the tackle count.    And to reference the OP, a 40-20 wouldn't be nearly as effective if just earned you a PTB upfield rather than a scrum.


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#16 Steve May

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 11:22 AM

Similarly the attacking team would lose its ability to put on a fast backs move if it used forwards outside the scrum, so I don't think pushing (or not) is the only relevant factor to having forwards in the scrum

 

Then again, if you drop a mobile second row or prop out of the scrum you can put on a play with a big guy running over the top of an exposed little guy.

 

I've seen Huddersfield do this successfully with Eorl Crabtree.


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#17 Steve May

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 11:30 AM


- At the end of a half, allow the team in possesion to play on till they complete their set of tackles, if they so wish.

 

 

 

Interesting.  When would play actually end?  Presumably when the opposition takes possession of the ball?


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#18 EastLondonMike

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 11:34 AM

As Zorquif suggested, id like to see a rule added to the game that states all forwards must pack into the scrum in their positions, no full backs or hookers packing down at loose forward in attacking /defensive scrums.. with subs and potential injuries you'd always end up with maybe one or two in a scrum who normally wouldn't be there but i'm sure there are ways of policing such things. I'd also state that anyone not binding properly at the scrum gets penalised straight away. All we hear these days isrefs telling players time and time again to bind in properly. Just penalise the buggers!


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#19 Vasile Andreica

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 11:35 AM

Interesting.  When would play actually end?  Presumably when the opposition takes possession of the ball?

 

I would think yes. If the attackers kick on the final play of the set and regain possesion after the air contest, it's only fair they play their new set, as they earned it.



#20 Martyn Sadler

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 11:36 AM

Interesting.  When would play actually end?  Presumably when the opposition takes possession of the ball?

Interestingly, that is a rule change I urge on Nigel Wood at the RFL whenever I meet him.

 

The game would end when the ball goes out of play, as it does in rugby union.

 

Rugby union is always at its most exciting when scores are tight and the game reaches and goes beyond 80 minutes, with the side that is one point behind but in possession desperately trying to score by recycling the ball.

 

In similar circumstances we draw a Rugby League game to a close too quickly.






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