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joe elliot

Bring back the biff

95 posts in this topic

Iv been stepping onto the rugby pitch for the last 20 years to play in answer to franksy.

Iv never met a fellow player who doesn't enjoy watching origin and the fisticuffs that comes with it.

You keep putting your heads in the sand by thinking the game attracts more people by sanitising it.

It is turning people away from it.

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I'm not wanting fights every 2 minutes, I'm wanting the referee's to realise they spoil the spectacle of the game by sending people off. A ten minute spell on the sidelines is all that is needed. It adds to the game.

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There's "biff" then there's thuggery.  Two prop sized players squaring up with a few punches thrown and no damage caused will have most referees telling them to put their handbags away and get on with the game.  What I've found in my years in the game is that if you tolerate any more than that then you get cowards throwing cheap shots or deliberately going out to injure opponents, they are cowards regardless of their hard-man act.  There's a very fine line in this and I'm strongly in favour of the current refereeing interpretations of intolerance towards anything that looks slightly iffy; far better that than a player injured by a cheap shot ignored by a referee.

 

That said, this picture always brings back fond memories:

fight.jpg

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There's "biff" then there's thuggery.  Two prop sized players squaring up with a few punches thrown and no damage caused will have most referees telling them to put their handbags away and get on with the game.  What I've found in my years in the game is that if you tolerate any more than that then you get cowards throwing cheap shots or deliberately going out to injure opponents, they are cowards regardless of their hard-man act.  There's a very fine line in this and I'm strongly in favour of the current refereeing interpretations of intolerance towards anything that looks slightly iffy; far better that than a player injured by a cheap shot ignored by a referee.

 

That said, this picture always brings back fond memories:

fight.jpg

Not sure if a player hitting a man on his knees makes a good story, I would have liked to have seen the before and after Pictures before I considered that a great advertisement for the game.

Bit of a contradiction there CKN

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The minority are very loud in there disgust that a punch should be thrown, they use words like thuggery and violence. These people have never played and can't see the wood for the frees with their argument that it puts people off watching.

It does the opposite, it gets more people watching.

In this instance I'm struggling to see what difference it makes as to whether people have played or not?  It's not exactly a hard issue to assess and form an opinion on.  As "these people" are fans of the game they're perfectly entitled to have their say in such a matter.

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Not sure if a player hitting a man on his knees makes a good story, I would have liked to have seen the before and after Pictures before I considered that a great advertisement for the game.

Bit of a contradiction there CKN

I remember watching the game.  It was a fair fight that the picture caught at an inopportune time.  This is from a time long gone and not really welcome to return.

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The fight from the game the other night has 550,000 views on YT already, for anybody counting. If you search 'rugby league' or 'super league' on Youtube some of the top results are biff, so the Google algorithms suggest it's a popular aspect of the game for fans and neutrals. The Gallen fight is the 7th most viewed "rugby league" video of all time, in the space of 3 days. Although it's hard to judge correctly because the Blair - Stewart fight and the NRL grand final fight from last year had similar popularity before being removed by the NRL, as do most fights.

 

In looking I noticed The Rugby League of Extraordinary has been a good campaign going off the Youtube numbers (255k views for the main promo). Can't remember seeing a SuperLeague video online with those kind of numbers... couple of Bailey videos come close lol.

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You can watch all sorts of sick things on the internet - some things get millions of views.

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God there are some sensitive delicate souls on here aren't there. I love all this faux outrage and morality and the 'won't somebody think of the children' nonsense.

As someone has said there's a huge difference between nasty cheap shots and a square off between 2 players. The Origin game improved immensely on Wednesday after Gallen gave Myles' chin a bit of a tickle. It gets the blood pumping for the players and the fans.

When JP put Willie Mason on his 'arris I bet even those objectors on here were cheering.

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God there are some sensitive delicate souls on here aren't there. I love all this faux outrage and morality and the 'won't somebody think of the children' nonsense.

As someone has said there's a huge difference between nasty cheap shots and a square off between 2 players. The Origin game improved immensely on Wednesday after Gallen gave Myles' chin a bit of a tickle. It gets the blood pumping for the players and the fans.

When JP put Willie Mason on his 'arris I bet even those objectors on here were cheering.

i think most people enjoy it when things get heated. What i disagree with is encouraging any kind of brawling.

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i think most people enjoy it when things get heated. What i disagree with is encouraging any kind of brawling.

Sometimes when there is a battle going on between 2 players the best thing a ref can do is let them settle it. A good clean scrap can take the heat out of games which are threatening to boil over and quite often games which descend into cheap shots could be prevented by the ref letting them have a toe to toe scrap. Refs like Fred Lindop had common sense, they'd see it brewing and stand back and let it happen then say right you've sorted it now lets get on with the game, but the next one you're off. Today's refs know all the rules but don't have any common sense, they're all programmed the same.

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I've never been to a game in the past 35 or so years where there has been a bit of a dust up and then the crowd has gone silent and gone all Daily Wail and said thats terrible we must stop it now.

How many shout 'get into them' vs 'oh no thats wrong think of the children watching'?

Like it or not physical intimidation is part of the game - its totally designed that way. But it has to be legal, controlled sensibly, etc.

Whilst blatant one-sided thuggery should be outlawed and dealt with appropriately (Meli's tackle on Hall for instance). But a dust up where both parties take part equally should be 10 mins in the bin to cool down.

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You can watch all sorts of sick things on the internet - some things get millions of views.

 

Go on...

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Go on...

just because people are intersted in watching fighting rl players on the web does not mean we should allow or even worse encourage it.

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The problem with the bring back the biff brigade is what they want to bring back is thuggery and open violence.

 

The game has biff now, players throw punches at each other we get pile ins and we get retribution tackles. What we don't get is games were rugby is secondary and picking a fight is the primary aim.

 

The biff hasn't gone away, the mindless thuggery and violence has thankfully been binned.

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I've never been to a game in the past 35 or so years where there has been a bit of a dust up and then the crowd has gone silent and gone all Daily Wail and said thats terrible we must stop it now.

How many shout 'get into them' vs 'oh no thats wrong think of the children watching'?

Like it or not physical intimidation is part of the game - its totally designed that way. But it has to be legal, controlled sensibly, etc.

Whilst blatant one-sided thuggery should be outlawed and dealt with appropriately (Meli's tackle on Hall for instance). But a dust up where both parties take part equally should be 10 mins in the bin to cool down.

Nail been hit on the head there.....

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I think we've had the balance right for most of the SL era. The odd flare-up, usually sorted by two yellows and the odd red where things went too far. I'd have liked to see Gallen binned and told that any further slip-ups would end his participation.

I don't like seeing players sent off for a bit of handbags, it tends to spoil the game. Sinbinnings put an end to it in all but the rarest of occasions.

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Our Open Age team tried to bring it back yesterday. I now await a grovelling appearance before the discipline committee.

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An article in WA Today http://www.watoday.com.au/opinion/editorial/biff-is-another-hefty-blow-for-rugby-league-20130608-2nwm4.html

gives statistics for child participation in various sports.The article shows that participation rates for rugby league have remained static since 2006 whilst participation rates for soccer, AFL (& even netball and basketball) have all significantly increased over the same period.

 

One of the reasons given for this is that there is a trend for parents not wanting their children to play league due to the illegal biff seen on TV. In effect, it frightens some parents away from the game.

 

Due to the physical contact of league there will inevitably be occasions of violence during some games, but in my opinion, if we are wanting to attract as many people to play and participate in the game as possible we must adopt a zero tolerance to illegal violent play.

 

The worlds most popular team sport (soccer) appears to go from strength to strength without any clamour to make the game more violent. RL is a tough enough game as it is without encouraging some bonehead that it's ok to knock someone's head off. If the best idea that we as a sport can come up with for attracting new fans and players is to 'bring back the biff' we really are in trouble.

 

 

There's also another article in the Sydney Morning Herald that makes depressing reading.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/mothers-cautious-of-league-violence-20130608-2nwtr.html




 

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just because people are intersted in watching fighting rl players on the web does not mean we should allow or even worse encourage it.

 

It's not just the web, it's on tv and live at grounds. The occasional fight is proving to be a popular aspect of the game and with that in mind I don't see why we should get super excessive on it. What's the benefit. Is there any?

 

Interesting blog/article:

http://m.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/editorial/biff-is-another-hefty-blow-for-rugby-league-20130608-2nwm4.html

This is right imho.

We see the odd flare up at the moment. If we stopped punishing it we would see more. It would quickly become known as a thugs game and why would parents take their kids to play that.

 

I couldn't disagree more with that and I've said as much for a while now(on other forums.) I really think that it's a delusion and a grave mistake for people to believe that if the game came down harder on unsavoury incidents a) that parents, mums, whoever, would be more inclined to favour the game and B) that the incidents themselves would stop.

 

A couple of points I'd like to make as to why I don't think there's any truth or logic to the idea. The main being that we can already point to examples of fighting prevailing over stronger punishment. Super League takes an approach which is  more hardline than the NRL, but despite the punishment being stronger, fights tend to be more frequent at SL level than at NRL level. A clearer example would be Top 14 in rugby union, a competition which is blighted by fighting. Being a union competition, bans for fighting in Top 14 are very, very strong, and yet the number of fights, all-in brawls in particular, is above and beyond what we see in the NRL/SL.

 

Assuming we can agree that even with red cards and 4-8 week bans for fighting in the game that fighting would continue at a similar rate, wouldn't we then be unnecessarily shooting ourselves in the foot if we condemned fighting too much? Look at the excessive media criticism and the attacks upon the sport in Australia right now, at a time when the occasional  fight isn't frowned upon all that much by fans or by the NRL. Do you think that these media attacks would cease to exist if a fight happened but the NRL were harder on punishing it? Let's imagine every fight is a red card and a 4 game suspension, in that hypothetical world is the media any less critical of Gallens actions. No, I'd posit that they'd be even more critical. Not only is the sport now a sport for thugs and mungos, but the players are completely out of control and don't even care for the harsh punishment given out. Fights in sports where fights are harshly punished are usually received much worse by the media, it's a more shocking sight.

 

And so it'd be an error of judgement to think that the NRL, or Super League, coming down hard on fights is going to have any real influence on the way in which the media report said fights or the way in which parents perceive them. Rugby league is already considered by many to be a thugs game and with that said my more controversial position is that it's doubtful you'd change the perception because it's not one that's based on fact or reason, it has its roots in class bigotry and vulgar prejudice.

 

The article you post is good evidence for what I'm saying. Soccer out there is assosciated with the middle class; positive attributes are given to the game because of it. Rugby league down under is assosciated with the working class and is viewed negatively because of it. Don't you think it odd that football, a sport much maligned in Europe by the media as being a sport for the uncouth, is perceived as being the exact opposite in Australia. Is there any real difference between football in Europe and football in Australia other than the class of people who tend to play it? Is there?

 

If rugby league were a sport of the upper class could you say without breaking out in a fit of laughter that media and parents would negatively assosciate it with thugs and lambast it at every opportunity as the neanderthals game of choice. When I last checked rugby union somehow escapes these criticisms and participation roadblocks, even though it's a game filled with every unimaginable thuggish act, it has its brawl, it has extreme violence in rucks, it has players breaking their necks in scrums, it has all of what rugby league has and more - and the media are silent, parents aren't all that concerned.

 

Is there anybody on this forum, truly, who doesn't think the issues that we're discussing go deeper than their surface-level appearance? It's unimaginable to me that somebody could think to dispute that the biggest problem for rugby league is not that there's a 3-second fight every 30 games, but that the game hasn't been able to shake its negative class connotations.

 

Rugby league is going to be seen by certain elements of society as a backwards scummy sport unfit for their little angels to play. You can come down hard on shoulder charges and fights and it'd be no less true, it's the way it is. Reason being is that those things are simply cruxes used to legitimise prejudice views already held by bigoted people. As long as rugby league is seen as a working class game, and the working class is looked upon with distaste, there are going to be parents who think their children are too good for the sport. A sin bin, a red card, a 1 game suspension, a 14 week suspension, it doesn't matter.

 

I remember similar articles from Australia last year when James Graham bit Billy Slater. Odd, I never saw the Aussie media making the same point regarding soccer when Suarez bit Ivanovic. People seem to be rather selective in what outrages and disgusts them. They disgust ME. They only want to think of the children when it suits their ingrained prejudice.

 

I'm not for a moment saying it should be open slather, but as a sport I think we're close to having the balance right as it is. We shouldn't be punishing players to the same degree as other sports because we're not other sports; there's a contextual difference between biff in rugby league and biff in the middle of a round of golf. The relative indiscipline and violence is not the same. You're going to get tempers boiling over in our sport every now and then, especially in highly intense, big games. Punishment ought to reflect this, punishment at the moment does reflect this, lax punishment in origin and internationls reflect this. That's why I think sin bins and a game suspension would suffice for most incidents. Less often violent acts should warrant a red card and a longer suspension, although I don't personally think Gallens act fits the bill as I don't accept the 'he had his hands down' defence... Then again I'm a NSW fan! 

 

In all, if fans of other sports or parents in general are too stupid to appreciate the difference between a punch in rugby league and a punch in soccer then that's their loss. If there are parents who don't understand that what takes place and is accepted at the highest level of the game is not acceptable for 6 year olds, again, it's their loss. I don't think it's wise to try and sanitise the sport under the illusion that by doing so people who object to the game are going to suddenly do a 180.

 

As a sport we should be competing with other codes, with parents, on our own terms, playing to our own strengths, our own values, our own history. If other sports, other people, have different values, conflicting values, then that's their prerogative. What business is it of theirs what we do as a sport? Why are they so concerned with what we're doing? It's not enough that they deny their own kids the opportunity to play, they want to run around with their propaganda campaigns trying to get stop other peoples childrens playing the game?

 

And I promise this is my last point, but I think that it can be comforting to identify specific elements of the game as standing between widespread popularity and mainstream acceptance, and where we are as a sport now. Time will tell but I'd be happy to put my house on the fact - I don't have a house but entertain me  :drag:  - playing numbers over the next year or two aren't going to sky-rocket just because we've made illegal the shoulder charge. Someone involved in the game at a real grass roots level could tell me their experience, but I'm doubtful, to say the least, that the day after the ban half of the middle class mums across the country brought their little Sebastien to play rugby league. And if they haven't already then I equally doubt that they'd do it if we clamped down hard on fighting.

 

The crime rates for the black community could drop to the lowest in the country tomorrow and it wouldn't stop racists being racist towards black people, just as we could start banning fighting and it isn't going to stop the anti-league sentiment which is prevelant amongst a large number of society. Cruxes to legitimise ingrained prejudice, as I said. Fighting is a non-issue.

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The worlds most popular team sport (soccer) appears to go from strength to strength without any clamour to make the game more violent. RL is a tough enough game as it is without encouraging some bonehead that it's ok to knock someone's head off. If the best idea that we as a sport can come up with for attracting new fans and players is to 'bring back the biff' we really are in trouble.

 

The worlds most popular team sport is blighted by violence at the grass roots. And if we're to accept that violence in the sport has stalled participation, why did this begin only in 2006, and why is it only evidenced in Australia. Why doesn't violence in sport stop French rugby in its track. How did we in England manage to break the 100k player mark in 2011/2012 if violence in sport is such a concern? Could it be that the media in Australia, the filth that they are, are misrepresenting the statistics and peddling conjecture to suit their already established agenda. I would think a more likely explanation for stalled playing numbers is the very real concern over the number and size of the Polynesian kids playing the game, that and the fact the media try to destroy and undermine it every chance they get.

 

Addressed the rest of your post with my last.

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Cant be bothered to read that whole post, especially with the nonsense about 4-8 match bans. The balance is right - the only ones asking fir chsnge are those who want mire brawling. Seriously have a word with yourself.

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It's not just the web, it's on tv and live at grounds. The occasional fight is proving to be a popular aspect of the game and with that in mind I don't see why we should get super excessive on it. What's the benefit. Is there any?

 

 

I couldn't disagree more with that and I've said as much for a while now(on other forums.) I really think that it's a delusion and a grave mistake for people to believe that if the game came down harder on unsavoury incidents a) that parents, mums, whoever, would be more inclined to favour the game and B) that the incidents themselves would stop.

 

A couple of points I'd like to make as to why I don't think there's any truth or logic to the idea. The main being that we can already point to examples of fighting prevailing over stronger punishment. Super League takes an approach which is  more hardline than the NRL, but despite the punishment being stronger, fights tend to be more frequent at SL level than at NRL level. A clearer example would be Top 14 in rugby union, a competition which is blighted by fighting. Being a union competition, bans for fighting in Top 14 are very, very strong, and yet the number of fights, all-in brawls in particular, is above and beyond what we see in the NRL/SL.

 

Assuming we can agree that even with red cards and 4-8 week bans for fighting in the game that fighting would continue at a similar rate, wouldn't we then be unnecessarily shooting ourselves in the foot if we condemned fighting too much? Look at the excessive media criticism and the attacks upon the sport in Australia right now, at a time when the occasional  fight isn't frowned upon all that much by fans or by the NRL. Do you think that these media attacks would cease to exist if a fight happened but the NRL were harder on punishing it? Let's imagine every fight is a red card and a 4 game suspension, in that hypothetical world is the media any less critical of Gallens actions. No, I'd posit that they'd be even more critical. Not only is the sport now a sport for thugs and mungos, but the players are completely out of control and don't even care for the harsh punishment given out. Fights in sports where fights are harshly punished are usually received much worse by the media, it's a more shocking sight.

 

And so it'd be an error of judgement to think that the NRL, or Super League, coming down hard on fights is going to have any real influence on the way in which the media report said fights or the way in which parents perceive them. Rugby league is already considered by many to be a thugs game and with that said my more controversial position is that it's doubtful you'd change the perception because it's not one that's based on fact or reason, it has its roots in class bigotry and vulgar prejudice.

 

The article you post is good evidence for what I'm saying. Soccer out there is assosciated with the middle class; positive attributes are given to the game because of it. Rugby league down under is assosciated with the working class and is viewed negatively because of it. Don't you think it odd that football, a sport much maligned in Europe by the media as being a sport for the uncouth, is perceived as being the exact opposite in Australia. Is there any real difference between football in Europe and football in Australia other than the class of people who tend to play it? Is there?

 

If rugby league were a sport of the upper class could you say without breaking out in a fit of laughter that media and parents would negatively assosciate it with thugs and lambast it at every opportunity as the neanderthals game of choice. When I last checked rugby union somehow escapes these criticisms and participation roadblocks, even though it's a game filled with every unimaginable thuggish act, it has its brawl, it has extreme violence in rucks, it has players breaking their necks in scrums, it has all of what rugby league has and more - and the media are silent, parents aren't all that concerned.

 

Is there anybody on this forum, truly, who doesn't think the issues that we're discussing go deeper than their surface-level appearance? It's unimaginable to me that somebody could think to dispute that the biggest problem for rugby league is not that there's a 3-second fight every 30 games, but that the game hasn't been able to shake its negative class connotations.

 

Rugby league is going to be seen by certain elements of society as a backwards scummy sport unfit for their little angels to play. You can come down hard on shoulder charges and fights and it'd be no less true, it's the way it is. Reason being is that those things are simply cruxes used to legitimise prejudice views already held by bigoted people. As long as rugby league is seen as a working class game, and the working class is looked upon with distaste, there are going to be parents who think their children are too good for the sport. A sin bin, a red card, a 1 game suspension, a 14 week suspension, it doesn't matter.

 

I remember similar articles from Australia last year when James Graham bit Billy Slater. Odd, I never saw the Aussie media making the same point regarding soccer when Suarez bit Ivanovic. People seem to be rather selective in what outrages and disgusts them. They disgust ME. They only want to think of the children when it suits their ingrained prejudice.

 

I'm not for a moment saying it should be open slather, but as a sport I think we're close to having the balance right as it is. We shouldn't be punishing players to the same degree as other sports because we're not other sports; there's a contextual difference between biff in rugby league and biff in the middle of a round of golf. The relative indiscipline and violence is not the same. You're going to get tempers boiling over in our sport every now and then, especially in highly intense, big games. Punishment ought to reflect this, punishment at the moment does reflect this, lax punishment in origin and internationls reflect this. That's why I think sin bins and a game suspension would suffice for most incidents. Less often violent acts should warrant a red card and a longer suspension, although I don't personally think Gallens act fits the bill as I don't accept the 'he had his hands down' defence... Then again I'm a NSW fan! 

 

In all, if fans of other sports or parents in general are too stupid to appreciate the difference between a punch in rugby league and a punch in soccer then that's their loss. If there are parents who don't understand that what takes place and is accepted at the highest level of the game is not acceptable for 6 year olds, again, it's their loss. I don't think it's wise to try and sanitise the sport under the illusion that by doing so people who object to the game are going to suddenly do a 180.

 

As a sport we should be competing with other codes, with parents, on our own terms, playing to our own strengths, our own values, our own history. If other sports, other people, have different values, conflicting values, then that's their prerogative. What business is it of theirs what we do as a sport? Why are they so concerned with what we're doing? It's not enough that they deny their own kids the opportunity to play, they want to run around with their propaganda campaigns trying to get stop other peoples childrens playing the game?

 

And I promise this is my last point, but I think that it can be comforting to identify specific elements of the game as standing between widespread popularity and mainstream acceptance, and where we are as a sport now. Time will tell but I'd be happy to put my house on the fact - I don't have a house but entertain me  :drag:  - playing numbers over the next year or two aren't going to sky-rocket just because we've made illegal the shoulder charge. Someone involved in the game at a real grass roots level could tell me their experience, but I'm doubtful, to say the least, that the day after the ban half of the middle class mums across the country brought their little Sebastien to play rugby league. And if they haven't already then I equally doubt that they'd do it if we clamped down hard on fighting.

 

The crime rates for the black community could drop to the lowest in the country tomorrow and it wouldn't stop racists being racist towards black people, just as we could start banning fighting and it isn't going to stop the anti-league sentiment which is prevelant amongst a large number of society. Cruxes to legitimise ingrained prejudice, as I said. Fighting is a non-issue.

 

run that by me again.....

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