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Northern Sol

Was 4-tackle rugby league any good?

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I don't remember unlimited tackle (too young) but I've seen old videos and union so I get an idea what it was like. But 4 tackles just sounds awful. I'm guessing that since that era didn't last long that it really was as bad as it sounds.

Anyone remember it?

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That's what I thought. Why did anyone think that 4 tackles were enough?

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I think originally they were copying the 4 downs as in American Football. 6 tackles was an improvement. Unlimited tackles, you could go a whole game without having the ball, if you did not have a good pack.

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I think originally they were copying the 4 downs as in American Football.

Yeah, what they didn't factor in is that you only had to go ten yards in American Football to get another set.

Four wasn't enough but six has worked fine over the years.

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I think originally they were copying the 4 downs as in American Football. 6 tackles was an improvement. Unlimited tackles, you could go a whole game without having the ball, if you did not have a good pack.

You could compete for the ball at the PTB though and if you had a skilled player win it occasionally. Unlimited tackle RL was much more like the way Union is played today than Union was played at that time. I never played 4 tackle League - I'd moved to playing Union by then, but on TV it did look very frantic.

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You could compete for the ball at the PTB though and if you had a skilled player win it occasionally. Unlimited tackle RL was much more like the way Union is played today than Union was played at that time. I never played 4 tackle League - I'd moved to playing Union by then, but on TV it did look very frantic.

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I'd be interested in seeing an experiment playing a five-tackle rule as a means of reducing score margins and dominance of one team over another. More interested than going back to five metres or contested scrums, certainly.

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You could challenge at the ptb under six tackles

Very messy

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I watched the 1966 Challenge Cup final recently and what particularly struck me was the aimless kicking out at the ptb. No real chance of getting the ball, maybe run your studs over the ball carrier's fingers with a bit of luck ....

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You could challenge at the ptb under six tackles

Very messy

The PTB used to be a mini version of a competitive scrum, and had all the same problems. In fact in the very early days a scrum was formed after every tackle.

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The PTB used to be a mini version of a competitive scrum, and had all the same problems. In fact in the very early days a scrum was formed after every tackle.

Correct and was described as such in official publications

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Things were a lot different back then. For a start the pitch was two feet deep mud for most of the season. You could compete for the ball at the PTB and it was a scrum if the dummy half caught in possession. Few scoots then! A lot of games were just a midfield slog. Anyone who has only seen SL would not enjoy it one little bit.

Four tackles was awful. Progress was only made from penalties.

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l have seen all three, and unlimited tackles could be the proverbial game of two halves, the team receiving the kick off could theoretically keep the ball for a full halfif they didn't knock on or give a loose pass which could be intercepted. 4 tackles was frantic and didn't allow for a constructive attack to be formulated. but six tackles for me is just right, giving the game more structure as a whole,

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Things were a lot different back then. For a start the pitch was two feet deep mud for most of the season. You could compete for the ball at the PTB and it was a scrum if the dummy half caught in possession. Few scoots then! A lot of games were just a midfield slog. Anyone who has only seen SL would not enjoy it one little bit.

Four tackles was awful. Progress was only made from penalties.

Them wot tdays forrards was forrards and ookers ooked

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Things were a lot different back then. For a start the pitch was two feet deep mud for most of the season. You could compete for the ball at the PTB and it was a scrum if the dummy half caught in possession. Few scoots then! A lot of games were just a midfield slog. Anyone who has only seen SL would not enjoy it one little bit.

Four tackles was awful. Progress was only made from penalties.

John, is dropping a tackle worth a look then? After all, teams are able to make a lot of progress these days, on (generally) decent pitches and with 10 metres to exploit.

I suppose the points in favour would be that teams would have to do more to score when they have the ball, and may try to move the ball a bit more earlier in the set. On the other hand, a team with a weaker pack or without a halfback with a big boot would get punished.

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The PTB used to be a mini version of a competitive scrum, and had all the same problems. In fact in the very early days a scrum was formed after every tackle.

When I played U17 unlimited tackle RL in the sixties we had a player called Peter Coates ( I believe he subsequently signed for Dewsbury) who was a pastmaster at winning the ball at the PTB - I'd say 2/3 times a game he'd win the ball back. Plus of course you had to pass the ball from AHB, if you were caught in possession you conceded a scrum to the oppostion, so not many dashes by the dummy half. Even in those days of contested scrums, the majority went with the feed no matter who had the head.

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I remember watching the very first game under four tackles. I think it was against Barrow in October 1966 in the Floodlit trophy on a rainy night at Watersheddings (that was a rare event!). What a farce of a match it was. Both sides seemed to panic every time they had the ball, knowing that they only had a very limited number of tackles to do anything with it. Matches after this under the new rule improved a little, but six tackles turned into a better option and history has told us it works reasonably well.

As an aside, I believe that RU are exploring the possibility of a limited number of tackles, to get away from the ludicrous situation of one team sometimes having 20 or more attempts to breach the line. Where we went years ago, other sports seem to follow eventually.

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John, is dropping a tackle worth a look then? After all, teams are able to make a lot of progress these days, on (generally) decent pitches and with 10 metres to exploit.

I suppose the points in favour would be that teams would have to do more to score when they have the ball, and may try to move the ball a bit more earlier in the set. On the other hand, a team with a weaker pack or without a halfback with a big boot would get punished.

I think it is an interesting one. I would just urge some caution on this one, as we saw when we added the zero tackle it can make quite a big difference to things.

If we genuinely believe that games are too high-scoring then I do think your suggestion would be a better alternative to moving the defensive line.

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I enjoyed the aspect of the game that allowed markers to 'strike' for the ball at the PTB. Of course it was a shambles in the 60s and 70s with players kicking out willynilly. All that was eliminated with the introduction of the rule that sent the tackle count back to zero for an attempt at striking for the ball. Simple and effective. Players were only striking when a sloppy PTB from the opposition allowed a reasonable posdsibility of possession being gained.

A separate point is whether the play is played correctly or not by the team in possession.........

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I remember watching the very first game under four tackles. I think it was against Barrow in October 1966 in the Floodlit trophy on a rainy night at Watersheddings (that was a rare event!). What a farce of a match it was. Both sides seemed to panic every time they had the ball, knowing that they only had a very limited number of tackles to do anything with it. Matches after this under the new rule improved a little, but six tackles turned into a better option and history has told us it works reasonably well.

You're saying that limited tackles came in as a mid-season rule change? Seriously ?!

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You're saying that limited tackles came in as a mid-season rule change? Seriously ?!

So did the 10m rule which changed the sport completely.

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John, is dropping a tackle worth a look then? After all, teams are able to make a lot of progress these days, on (generally) decent pitches and with 10 metres to exploit.

I suppose the points in favour would be that teams would have to do more to score when they have the ball, and may try to move the ball a bit more earlier in the set. On the other hand, a team with a weaker pack or without a halfback with a big boot would get punished.

Not sure. First thoughts would be that it would lead to more kicking. If the last tackle is further out would the team risk running it?

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John, is dropping a tackle worth a look then? After all, teams are able to name a lot of progress these days, on (generally) decent pitches and with 10 metres to exploit.

I suppose the points in favour would be that teams would have to do more to score when they have the ball, and may try to move the ball a bit more earlier in the set. On the other hand, a team with a weaker pack or without a halfback with a big boot would get punished.

Not sure. First thoughts would be that it would lead to more kicking. If the last tackle is further out would the team risk running it?

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But isnt frantic interesting? Were the games interesting? Perhaps after a longer trial tge players would have accustomed.

Given that four tackles was only trialled for a short period with a 5m rule and competitive acrums, it might work better in todays game with 10m.

I think 6 tackles may be one or two tackles too many - the first two tackles generally see little or no passing and is just a forward trying to make yards.

Its defo worth trying

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