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  1. Yes. An unfortunate addition to the interpretation of the rules which is unreliable and diminishes the game. But, as always in such discussions, only my opinion, and one, I suspect, not widely shared.
  2. Thank you for your considered response. In tactical sports, if one mode of play begins to dominate, opponents soon find approaches to counter. The acting-half-back “scoot”, though, is difficult to counter. It is generated by getting to the ground quickly and standing quickly, catching the tacklers out of position and the defensive line retreating. It can bring a lot of reward for quite a low level of skill. The counter is to delay the end of the tackle with wrestling techniques, not a particularly attractive feature of the game (for me, that is: most fans seem happy with it). Not quite what the O.P. was saying, but the “scoot” from the play-the-ball has become more significant - in my opinion - than it deserves to be. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to wonder if its impact could be lowered.
  3. As a teacher/coach of kids, I would often ban the acting-half-back from running with the ball in casual games, turning the role into one of distribution, with a play-maker at either side evaluating options. It increased the involvement of other players, increased general playability and enjoyment, and added, rather than subtracted, extra variability to the attack .The ramifications for such an approach are interesting, and worth a little consideration. Eliminating the acting-half-back “scoot”, for instance, would change the dynamics of the sport in significant ways, not all of them bad. The scorn and disdain poured, by some, on suggestions for change make me wonder if the sport has at last evolved to absolute perfection, can never be surpassed, must never need to react to changing circumstances. It doesn’t always look so to me.
  4. I need to ask: which specific mining villages are you telling us have no place in the future of the sport? Please name them: I’m sure they will have the resilience to cope with your assessment. And which particular places are the future of RL: cotton towns, chemical manufacturers, pie baking towns, towns with glass works, suburbs of ports? A list would be useful.
  5. A slightly disturbing choice of metaphor. In addition, the use of a metaphor is more likely to obfuscate than elucidate any point you are trying to make. Might help to say what you really think. Though it won’t help me: I won’t be reading it.
  6. And confirmation bias by yourself, of course. The simple fact of the matter is that Leeds and all other teams would break the rules less often if the expectation of sanctions was higher. No more "debate" with you. You appear to be one of those who needs the last word. Please indulge yourself: I promise not to reply.
  7. You are easily astonished, aren't you? Please consider that their may just occasionally be a tiny element of validity in the opinions of those with whom you disagree. Watched, played, taught, coached RL for decades. I found that coaching from the touchline had little effect: players were a little too busy to listen. I found that when refereeing, the less said, the better: in most walks of life, repeat the same comments over and over again for long enough and it becomes meaningless twaddle. Forum behaviour show that. I watched Leeds v HKR on tv last night with, for once, the sound on. The referee pestered, coached advised, instructed, announced, admonished from before the kick-off and throughout with hardly a pause for breath. It didn’t seem to enhance the flow of play, or stop Leeds with their hands on the ball at the end of the tackle, or moving off the mark when playing the ball. In fact, for all that he said, I saw little modification in behaviour throughout: perhaps he should have said more. At least HKR enhanced the flow with adventurous play and entertaining rugby.
  8. What an astoundingly ridiculous thing to say. Take it to its logical conclusion and see how much sense it makes. The sport has allowed itself to drift into sacrificing far too much in the search of a faster flowing game. If it needs doing, be brave enough to change the laws, not an individual’s interpretation of them.
  9. That would mean ignoring a good swathe of the rules in order to enhance the required spectacle, referees becoming a more vociferous part of the event, outrageous hyperbole from commentators, additional and repeated fixtures to fill up the programme, creative refereeing to manufacture tense finishes. This would all have the potential to impact on the integrity of the sport. Not the profile required for the top level of Rugby league.
  10. Which aspects of the game are leaving these smaller teams behind? Where are the signs of the evolution in the next few years? The quality of Super League? Its national profile? Exposure? Attendances? Income? The sustained success of expansion clubs? For those who believe - and there are some - that the success of the sport depends on providing Leeds with the best possible fixture list, some argument can be made for mergers. For those with a less restricted perspective, each and every club, at any level, which is lost to the game, diminishes a sport which has shrunk seriously - perhaps dangerously - at grass-roots level and above. And perhaps it would be prudent to value the clubs which have fought to maintain an existence, and to work hard to find a format for the sport which doesn't lose a single one of them.
  11. Thank you for the response. When the referee says “stay onside next time, Kev” or the endless equivalents of such, he (or she) is identifying that Kev was offside, and that he chose not to give a penalty because he didn’t want to disturb the flow of the game. It is manipulating the rules for a desired outcome. It may only be me who is disturbed by it, but is there any other sport which is so orchestrated and stage-managed? I once played in a minor game, kindly and generously refereed by Eric Clay who hummed a tune to himself from kick-off to final whistle, and spoke not one word for the entire match. It left an impression which later influenced my own (minor) refereeing and still leaves me disturbed by the necessity for endless badgering by modern refs. The offside by the defending line is an interesting one: according to the laws of the game, the referee should go back 10 metres with the defending line (or less if he is closely monitoring the play-the-ball) If the referee goes back 12 metres with the defending line, how does each player know what allowance he is permitted in front of the referee, without being individually told? And is it really a surprise that spectators who see a full line of defenders in front of the referee become annoyed. But, again, perhaps I’m the only one who believes that “line speed” is a euphemism for a level of offside allowed because the referee does not want to stop the game too many times. Anyway, thank you for the discussion (and the revival of very old memories).
  12. But referees do base their decisions on factors other than the rules. There are vast numbers of rule infringements tolerated every game. Most fans want, expect, demand that the game is stopped as little as possible. Referees do not enforce scrum laws, almost every play-the-ball has off-side by the defence, and every play-the-ball close to the line. Most tackles have some head contact with only a head contact to initiate the tackle being penalised. Hands on the ball at the end of the tackle and ball stealing is a major problem, not usually because the referee gets it wrong, but because the referee chooses to “keep the pace on the game”. We were told a couple of weeks ago that playing the ball on the mark was to be enforced, but there are still teams getting enormous unearned advantage because the referee is reluctant to enforce the laws. Dissent is frequent, and to a large extent, tolerated. We now demand - in the top games, visible to the large audiences - that referees manipulate the laws and orchestrate the game rather than adjudicate, and this they do. They choose when to intervene according to an agenda supplied to them and interpreted by them. Some teams are better than others at judging the level of intervention that the referee chooses. If your team benefits, you are happy with the situation. Referees make very few mistakes: they are obviously the best there are at what they do. But they do choose which of the laws to enforce, and at what stage. That it has reached this situation is odd, and diminishes the sport in some eyes.
  13. The only self-interested, small-minded parochialism to be seen here is by the few Top SL clubs, the ones with the money and power, who wish to create the most lucrative list of opponents for themselves. They will decide the size of Super League, and the composition. This they will do within a couple of years. There will be one selection criterion: do they provide an suitable fixture for Leeds, Wigan and St Helens? The statement which opened this thread is among the first warnings to anyone who thinks they have a chance of moderating the behaviour of those who have now taken charge. Some people believe that this will benefit the sport as a whole, some have serious doubts. In the debate sparked by the opening post, a diatribe on the inadequacies of Featherstone is distraction, diversion, deflection and obfuscation.
  14. How did a discussion about the potential action by seemingly small-minded, selfish, parochial SL members become a rant at the inadequacies of lower league clubs? There’s a suggestion of obfuscation here.
  15. Apologies for using your post as an excuse for my own personal rant.
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