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Harry Stottle

End of an Era

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Reading the thread Ball playing Loose forwards and the mention of Harry Pinner, got me thinking back to the 3rd Test in 1985 GB v NZ, I have titled this thread as End of an Era because in my opinion this was the last of the test matches before the game started to become somewhat lets say sanitized, in fact during the game Ray French makes reference to speaking to Old Timer Lions who stated that test match Rugby was not as it used to be, but French carried on to say "Well they won't  be dissapointed with this then" This is the full match, I went to the game and thoroughly enjoyed it back then and also recently in this video, but I suspect others won't, it is not for the faint hearted, this is the full match the quality obviously not of todays standard but sit back and make your own minds up, it's well worth the viewing.

https://youtu.be/qXpRrT7MaFI

Edited by Harry Stottle

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I was at that game as a 15 year old trying to take in as much Rugby League as I could having just started playing and watching.

I didn't know much about the sport (some would say I still don't!) but I absolutely loved it.

There are some parts of the modern game that I prefer and some part of this era I prefer... what I will say is that a great game of Rugby League in 2020 is just as entertaining as a great game of Rugby League in 1985.

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Ooh yes, all three Tests from that tour are on YouTube, thanks to that fine uploader Shaun. 🙂 Plus plenty more to boot. Just subscribed to his account.

Edited by Futtocks
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"Men will be proud to say 'I am a European'. We hope to see a day when men of every country will think as much of being a European as of being from their native land." (Winston Churchill)

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the recent gb performances were more sanitised than a tampon festival

 

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the grass may be greener on the other side of the fence but the crows are just as black

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2 hours ago, Harry Stottle said:

Reading the thread Ball playing Loose forwards and the mention of Harry Pinner, got me thinking back to the 3rd Test in 1985 GB v NZ, I have titled this thread as End of an Era because in my opinion this was the last of the test matches before the game started to become somewhat lets say sanitized

If you look at the matches from the 1994 Kangaroo tour, while they're less scrappy, I don't think you could go so far as to call them "sanitized". I think the mid-90s was a turning point, because the game went properly full-time professional then. Even in Australia, the majority of players still had jobs up until then.

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46 minutes ago, CrushersForever said:

If you look at the matches from the 1994 Kangaroo tour, while they're less scrappy, I don't think you could go so far as to call them "sanitized". I think the mid-90s was a turning point, because the game went properly full-time professional then. Even in Australia, the majority of players still had jobs up until then.

Have you commented before watching Crusher?

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Good grief!  These days there would have been hundreds of penalties in a game like that!


Four legs good - two legs bad

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I didn't care for the flops, messing around and elbows on prone players etc. That was of its time and fans and the media wouldn't have that now, and nor should they. 

But there are other things I miss from then. The tactics were far more interesting to watch. There were few scoots from acting half, and few 5 drives and a kick sets. Even when the teams were making the hard yards, it often went through a couple of pairs of hands before a forward ran onto it. I used to love half backs at that time. It was my favourite position, and watching the likes of John Woods was what got me really into it. 

I think the game is still outstanding, but I certainly miss some of the more enterprising play and slightly slower ptb.s

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Coincidentally 1985 is also the end of an era when Leigh were very very good, and Wigan were ######... 

🙂

Edited by dixiedean
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3 hours ago, Dave T said:

I didn't care for the flops, messing around and elbows on prone players etc. That was of its time and fans and the media wouldn't have that now, and nor should they. 

But there are other things I miss from then. The tactics were far more interesting to watch. There were few scoots from acting half, and few 5 drives and a kick sets. Even when the teams were making the hard yards, it often went through a couple of pairs of hands before a forward ran onto it. I used to love half backs at that time. It was my favourite position, and watching the likes of John Woods was what got me really into it. 

I think the game is still outstanding, but I certainly miss some of the more enterprising play and slightly slower ptb.s

The slower play the balls is a really important point.

In the modern game we are obsessed with speeding up the ruck thinking this makes a more entertaining game.

My view is that if we slow the ruck down and stop teams gaining the advantage of 'the roll' it will force teams to be more creative to break down defences and we will return to the ball movement and incentive half back play. This for me will be more entertaining. 

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I'd forgotten how good Crooks really was. Great performance from him.

Out-of-position Hanley well and truly bottled-up by NZ. 

Schofield and Fox way below the necessary standard.

Same old same old: French was right. Too static, not running on to the ball so we were running from a standing start  each time.

Inexplicable the way the ref seemed to let so many offences go, and didn't punish repeat offenders sufficiently.


Four legs good - two legs bad

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My ideal RL game (2020s v 1980s) ...

Releasing Tackled Player - Now

Play The Ball - Then

Movement of Ball - Then

Player Fitness - Now

Scrums - Mix (Have ball put in middle of scrum as then but opposing hooker doesn''t strike for it as now) (Might encourage the opponents to push to try and "win one against the head").

Golden Point in League Matches - Then (ie Not have it)

Stopping clock - Then (Too much now)

Oldham as League Champions (Well that's neither going to happen now nor did it happen then !)

 

Edited by RL does what Sky says

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I have to say having watched a fair bit of the game highlighted in the OP, and having grown up exclusively in the SL era (so no chance for rose tinted spectacles), other than the creativity from the halves its clear why the game has changed. The teams, for all they pass it about, hardly go forwards apart from when they kick, pick the ball up in broken play or sheer individual brilliance. Perhaps its this lack of go forward from the pack that encouraged slightly more expansive/creative play.

Defences are clearly much more organised now, but attacks are also more predictable. I think what has been most noticeable about Daryl Powell's best Castleford teams (between 2014 and 2017 imo) is how they have been far more creative in attack and able to use inventive set plays rather than the standard moves it seems most teams do, much like the teams in the 1985 test were doing. That really made them stand out for me and I'd hope some other coaches adopted this style. 

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5 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

I have to say having watched a fair bit of the game highlighted in the OP, and having grown up exclusively in the SL era (so no chance for rose tinted spectacles), other than the creativity from the halves its clear why the game has changed. The teams, for all they pass it about, hardly go forwards apart from when they kick, pick the ball up in broken play or sheer individual brilliance. Perhaps its this lack of go forward from the pack that encouraged slightly more expansive/creative play.

Defences are clearly much more organised now, but attacks are also more predictable. I think what has been most noticeable about Daryl Powell's best Castleford teams (between 2014 and 2017 imo) is how they have been far more creative in attack and able to use inventive set plays rather than the standard moves it seems most teams do, much like the teams in the 1985 test were doing. That really made them stand out for me and I'd hope some other coaches adopted this style. 

It is easy to see why teams don't use those tactics now, I agree. One set saw GB kick on the third after a couple of drives after passing moves, whereas wingers scooting plus two or three drives followed by a kick in today's game would see you on the opposition line. 

There did seem to be a lack of urgency then too. 

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I'm  guessing that many sports have evolved with rule changes (and interpretations) over the years. RU is vastly different! Football has changed even though superficially the rules have barely changed.  Perhaps the main driver to change, and the desire to win, is greater individual  fitness and training and wider more scientific coaching.

As Gary Player says, 'The more I practice the luckier I get'.  I do not think we can put the genie back in the bottle. But as a generality I think the move to make the game quicker (easier to make yards) is a step backwards. 

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10 hours ago, Harry Stottle said:

Reading the thread Ball playing Loose forwards and the mention of Harry Pinner, got me thinking back to the 3rd Test in 1985 GB v NZ, I have titled this thread as End of an Era because in my opinion this was the last of the test matches before the game started to become somewhat lets say sanitized, in fact during the game Ray French makes reference to speaking to Old Timer Lions who stated that test match Rugby was not as it used to be, but French carried on to say "Well they won't  be dissapointed with this then" This is the full match, I went to the game and thoroughly enjoyed it back then and also recently in this video, but I suspect others won't, it is not for the faint hearted, this is the full match the quality obviously not of todays standard but sit back and make your own minds up, it's well worth the viewing.

https://youtu.be/qXpRrT7MaFI

I watched the game recently and it was great, not just the rough stuff, but the atmosphere, tension and skill. It was brilliant.

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7 hours ago, CrushersForever said:

If you look at the matches from the 1994 Kangaroo tour, while they're less scrappy, I don't think you could go so far as to call them "sanitized". I think the mid-90s was a turning point, because the game went properly full-time professional then. Even in Australia, the majority of players still had jobs up until then.

I think the introduction of the 10 metre rule had alot to do with the change in the "style" of game. Quick play the balls became the be all, rather then skill out of the tackle or passing rushes.

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10 hours ago, Tommygilf said:

I have to say having watched a fair bit of the game highlighted in the OP, and having grown up exclusively in the SL era (so no chance for rose tinted spectacles), other than the creativity from the halves its clear why the game has changed. The teams, for all they pass it about, hardly go forwards apart from when they kick, pick the ball up in broken play or sheer individual brilliance. Perhaps its this lack of go forward from the pack that encouraged slightly more expansive/creative play.

Defences are clearly much more organised now, but attacks are also more predictable. I think what has been most noticeable about Daryl Powell's best Castleford teams (between 2014 and 2017 imo) is how they have been far more creative in attack and able to use inventive set plays rather than the standard moves it seems most teams do, much like the teams in the 1985 test were doing. That really made them stand out for me and I'd hope some other coaches adopted this style. 

I said at the time when Cas were playing the expansive stuff that coach Powell had his team playing as in the era he played in, i.e 80's, I duly got a lot of " no they aren't comments" or words of that ilk, as you say it took modern day defence's by surprise that they weren't doing the same stuff as everyone else.

Edited by Harry Stottle

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15 hours ago, Dave T said:

I didn't care for the flops, messing around and elbows on prone players etc. That was of its time and fans and the media wouldn't have that now, and nor should they. 

But there are other things I miss from then. The tactics were far more interesting to watch. There were few scoots from acting half, and few 5 drives and a kick sets. Even when the teams were making the hard yards, it often went through a couple of pairs of hands before a forward ran onto it. I used to love half backs at that time. It was my favourite position, and watching the likes of John Woods was what got me really into it. 

I think the game is still outstanding, but I certainly miss some of the more enterprising play and slightly slower ptb.s

It was an era that often to find space, you had to pass it around and pass it quick, because the defence were only 5 metres away. I might recall through rose tinted glasses, but the enterprising actions of a ball player seemed far more off the cuff than of your champion halves like Cronk today.

Taking nothing away from Cronk of course.

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55 minutes ago, Sports Prophet said:

It was an era that often to find space, you had to pass it around and pass it quick, because the defence were only 5 metres away. I might recall through rose tinted glasses, but the enterprising actions of a ball player seemed far more off the cuff than of your champion halves like Cronk today.

Taking nothing away from Cronk of course.

I agree. I also think it was just a different skillset. Looking at those defences compared to now and they would now be run ragged by the pace and direction of attack, the defence were straggly and plenty of gaps. But they were closer which probably cancelled a lot of attack out. Fitness and organisation of defences now with 5m would be impossible I think. 

I think one of the really noticeable changes is the tackling techniques. A lot of the tackles in that video were one man and just a bit scruffy, get them down however you can. Now it is much more controlled with more defenders. Back then the 2nd and maybe 3rd man was often just flopping on after the tackle. 

One thing I will say, it was undeniably still RL as we see it today, and that is a positive. The game hasn't changed to become unrecognisable. 

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16 minutes ago, Dave T said:

I think one of the really noticeable changes is the tackling techniques. A lot of the tackles in that video were one man and just a bit scruffy, get them down however you can. Now it is much more controlled with more defenders. Back then the 2nd and maybe 3rd man was often just flopping on after the tackle. 

This is inherently linked to the play the ball point isn't it.

Back in the 80's and 90's Rugby League was primarily a collision sport with these types of scruffy one on one tackles and then the big hits which we all know and love that made the highlights videos.

Then the wrestle was introduced with first contact higher and three or four defenders 'managing the ruck'.  This was all intended to slow the play the ball down and let the defensive structures set.

To counter this, either consciously or unconsciously we started to be become more liberal in the application of the play the ball law.  The end result is a frustratingly slow tackle with arms locked in etc. followed by a scrappy play the ball.  A quick play the ball after a one on one tackle is also scrappy and this is where the frantic nature of the modern play the ball comes from.

I don't think there is any way to stop the wrestle as they are fair tackles in the laws of the game and I remain convinced that enforcing the proper play the ball will actually benefit the game overall.  So what if defences are set, let's encourage the skills required to break down an effective defence.

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The wrestle is, for me, the worst aspect of the game. I find it ugly and tedious not to mention the seemingly random penalty decisions for interference.  Might cheer myself up by finding something else to moan about.....

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Rah Rah Emissary:  Our Bigotry will blot out the sun.

Legio XIII:                  Then we shall play in the shade.

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17 minutes ago, corvusxiii said:

The wrestle is, for me, the worst aspect of the game. I find it ugly and tedious not to mention the seemingly random penalty decisions for interference.  Might cheer myself up by finding something else to moan about.....

I wonder what Rugby League would look like if only two defenders were allowed to execute a tackle. It would certainly put more onus on downing the tackled player more quickly with the risk of the offload and maybe a return to the collision tackle over the wrestling. 

Just a thought.

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4 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

I wonder what Rugby League would look like if only two defenders were allowed to execute a tackle. It would certainly put more onus on downing the tackled player more quickly with the risk of the offload and maybe a return to the collision tackle over the wrestling. 

Just a thought.

I also think they could go hard on the technique of taking the player to the ground after the held call. I'd penalise it. Screw the tacklers on that front and they will. Soon stop this tactic of holding them and waiting for the held call before flooring them. 

It wouldn't be easy to police but a hard line on it would see the defenders take players down more quickly IMHO. 

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