For quite some time now, I and a few other 'oldies' have been aware that the game we came to love in our youth, has changed radically from a game played by RL footballers to a game played by beefed up athletes leading to a reduction of footballing skills such as side stepping etc. It has also been my belief that much of this 'modern' style of rugby league has come about through too much Aussie influence in general.
However, having just read in the current issue of that excellent bastion of traditional rugby league, the Rugby League Journal, that some key elements Down Under have possibly seen the error of their ways and have spoken out accordingly. Under the heading...
Asking some of those awkward questions, Stephen Bowes has written...
“…so it was interesting to hear from Australia recently that a group of Rugby League “thinkers”, have expressed reservations about the direction the game is taking”
“Comparing data in the NRL from 10 years ago with that of today, they’ve detected fewer breaks and tries per game, and fewer passes leading to those tries. They have noticed, too, the increased bulk of players and the formulaic structure of the game, and have wondered where a continuation of this trend may leave Rugby League in another 10 years.”
“…has made public his fears for the future of the smaller player in the sport, the crafty ball-player with twinkling toes and magic hands, as athletes become bigger and more powerful and more and more emphasis is placed on gym work.”
Back to the drawing board then?