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Kallum Watkins to Return to Super League? (Merged Threads)


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1 hour ago, Gooleboy said:

I am sure Rob Burrow would have been a great player in that era. It's not just a case of saying the old players were better, it makes for debate and opinions. I  do think today's game doesn't have as many off the cuff players which is down to modern Coaching methods probably.

Today's coaching seems over-cautious and frightened of making mistakes other than being attack minded, look at the 'flat' lines they employ teams are coached not to make errors, the less the ball is passed the safer it is, maybe this is what happens when 'professionalism' and job protection is paramount.

For an example lets look how the game and coaching methods have evolved by evaluating someone who is definatley the most expierenced man in coaching in the game, starting in the 80's and still employed at the top today namely Mr Wayne Bennett, his teams for a very long time were a joy to watch, deep deep lines with player's running onto the ball, run around plays, miss out long passes, second and even third phase lines being used, he still employed a very strong defensive pattern but there was hell of a lot of emphasis on offense. Look at the tactics and game plans he has his charges playing today, it is all about trying to get error-free completion rates useually 4 one out passes every set, the lines of the player's are so flat that they don't encourage expansive play, and it is not a very entertaining or pleasing to watch.

So looking at the way Mr Bennett's instructions to his player's have evolved over the years from being expansive to a careful vigilant approach produces a good cross section of the game over the years since the mid 80's since he began his coaching career, today it is a emphatically defensively, error free cautiously orientated method compared to the tactics he did use.

We have for a long long time had fit player's in our game, even those forwards from years ago who played 80mins and actually scrumaged were very fit compared to a lot of other team games, and I have no doubt whatsoever if it was possible to transport player's from one era to another with the different methods in traning, full time professionalism, and employing the very same coaching methods they would still find their own performance level and standing in the game, the good would still be good, the not so good would still be that, their own level would not magically be transformed by swopping era's.

Edited by Harry Stottle
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Obviously very difficult circumstances for Watkins and I wish him and his family well. On a purely rugby front I am disappointed that his spell in Australia was cut short as I thought he looked r

Leigh. Two year deal and a new sundeck.

Dreadful comment, you should take a good look at yourself. 

1 hour ago, Gooleboy said:

But players from that era would be as you put it incredible athletes if they were in this generation. With the ability they had, as we are on about Leeds Centres, could you imagine how good say Les Dyl and Syd Hynes would be.

Incredible athletes in previous generations wouldn't be as 'incredible' in comparison to today's athletes. So while they may of dominated their time, the athletes around them today at the professional level would be naturally more athletically gifted.

From an athletic standpoint, every generation tops the previous one. That is a fact. The average male height in britian during the 1910's was four inches less than it is today with only 4% of the population reaching 6ft. Today, 30% of the male population is 6ft. In another few generations 6ft will be the average male height.

 

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48 minutes ago, AB90 said:

From an athletic standpoint, every generation tops the previous one. That is a fact. The average male height in britian during the 1910's was four inches less than it is today with only 4% of the population reaching 6ft. Today, 30% of the male population is 6ft. In another few generations 6ft will be the average male height.

Dunno if you've already seen this but it's a very interesting watch: 

 

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1 hour ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

Dunno if you've already seen this but it's a very interesting watch: 

 

That was a terrific video, thanks for posting.

There is no doubt that Rugby League falls into the second category he discusses - the selective gene pool.  We have been creating larger and larger players in the sport because we have been selecting larger and larger players as they have a physical advantage.

No doubt there is still a place for the talented small player in League (in the halves) but I do wonder how many really talented and entertaining outside backs we haven't seen because the tendency is now for big centres and wingers.  Even in the pack, we have been selecting ever more huge humans... a trend that may be reversing slightly with the emergence of some of the younger more mobile middle forwards like Cam Murray & Morgan Smithies.

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I cant imagine les dyl doing his hair and having another sheep badge stupid tattoo in the week building to match day though- great centre 

they come swinging round that corner, they think they're benny goodman

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On 24/04/2020 at 10:15, Allora said:

I can not imagine Andy Gregory being a great Athelete in any Era.

Great player that he was, he was no athelete

Hello Allora, I've been stood behind Andy Gregory drinking at the bar and I hear what you are saying about him being no athlete.

Except... when Wigan finished the 1990/91 with eight games in 19 days, Gregory seemingly played seven full matches in 17 days (missing the final clash). For my own self-worth, I hope that is considered athletic.

One thing to add... my rotten memory is no match for Bilko's ace statistics. See for yourself at http://wigan.rlfans.com/fusion_pages/index.php?page_id=410

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On 24/04/2020 at 11:08, AB90 said:

Incredible athletes in previous generations wouldn't be as 'incredible' in comparison to today's athletes. So while they may of dominated their time, the athletes around them today at the professional level would be naturally more athletically gifted.

From an athletic standpoint, every generation tops the previous one. That is a fact. The average male height in britian during the 1910's was four inches less than it is today with only 4% of the population reaching 6ft. Today, 30% of the male population is 6ft. In another few generations 6ft will be the average male height.

 

Not quite how it works...in 200 years time we will not be all 30ft tall , running the 100m in 1 second or lifting 1000 kg in the clean and jerk.

The average height of man remained pretty static from the Stone Age until the 1800's and then due to a combination of vastly improved survival chances and much improved nutrition and the widespread distribution of same, the average height increased. There was a small decrease across the wars and now human height is levelling off as survival and decent nutrition become the norm. 

As for the athletic standpoint this is clearly not a "fact". There are many athletic records that have not been broken for 20 or 30 years or more despite every advantage in conditions, equipment, time and opportunity the  current athlete has. 

There is little doubt that a professional RL player from the 60's, 70's or 80's if training exactly as the modern pro does, rather than 3 times a week max in addition to working 5 or 6 days a week ,  playing only 20 or 30 games instead of 40 or 50 and playing in summer months on firm, lush, carpets rather than right through winter on mud-heaps, and with all the modern day equipment and facilities, would be just as fit and strong as any modern player. 

In fact some probably were anyway.

 

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7 hours ago, scotchy1 said:

It's an evolution, a movement of small amounts in increasing numbers.

I'm not sure if there have been many studies but I'm pretty certain, even just by sight, that players today, on average a almost certainly substantially taller, as an average heavier, and on average much greater muscle mass. I'd also be shocked if on average they arent much stronger and much faster. 

Team sports are an interesting area because they arent just measuring 1 thing. They arent just measuring speed or strength or stamina. They are measuring all of them so it's not really a question  of the very extremes but averages. 

Being Usain Bolt isnt all that helpful for an RL player but you still have to be at the upper end of the spectrum of speed, power, strength, stamina etc.

And that's the issue with looking at older players. They will.have been bigger faster stronger etc in their era, but the upper end of all those things have moved on. Would they improve on modern diet and fitness. Of course, would they improve enough? Maybe, but let's not forget that they werent picked because of their natural potential to fit the physiological needs of today's game. 

Correct Scotchy, we ARE currently selecting players from a young age on size and "athleticism" rather than skills or talent, based on how the game is currently played and coached. However it doesn't HAVE to be that way and almost certainly will not always be that way. In fact it is bemusing why teams do it because it does NOT bring success. At least not since perhaps the Bradford model.

The multi grand final winners Leeds were far from the biggest of the SL teams and nor are the current champions Saints who number the 79 kg Fages , 81 kg Coote , 81 kg Grace and 85 kg Roby among their ranks. They are far smaller overall than say Catalans but are a far superior squad results and otherwise. This also happens in other sports, Man City eg one of the smallest teams in Europe.

I would further say that if RL is to survive and prosper we need to need to lose some of this "bigger, faster, heavier" mantra. It excludes/discourages hundreds of kids/people from playing the game and ensures some very, very good players are lost at an early stage. The Burrows, Millwards, Gregorys, Elwells should not be an absolute exception, they should be part and parcel of a multi-faceted sport.

In any event RU will always have, and need, the bigger men and so we are caught in between two stools in an ever shrinking pool.  Unfortunately the 10 m rule promoted perhaps a natural but avoidable evolution to the current way of playing with the stupefyingly boring wrestle et al and the desire for 6 ft, 100 kg players across the board. However it will NOT result in an ever expanding  professional RL talent pool as we are now well on the way to seeing. 

 

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16 hours ago, Marty Funkhouser said:

There are many athletic records that have not been broken for 20 or 30 years or more despite every advantage in conditions, equipment, time and opportunity the  current athlete has.

A fair number of these records were set in the 1980's and from Eastern Bloc countries.  I wonder if there were additional elements in play as well as conditions and equipment. 

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8 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

A fair number of these records were set in the 1980's and from Eastern Bloc countries.  I wonder if there were additional elements in play as well as conditions and equipment. 

Yes, I wonder.

Once the Wall came down things seemed to change a little, but then came a more covert and expert influence from the medical industry involving blood.  Cycling, swimming, skating, athletics.

 

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4 hours ago, scotchy1 said:

The game doesnt have that though, never has and likely never will because of the tendency towards extreme.

Players like Grace, Fages, and previously Burrow succeed because they've extremely physiology elsewhere, in aspects like agility and acceleration. 

The Burrows et al will always be the exception because everyone playing RL is an exception. 

Its nothing to do with the 10metre rule. Take it to 5metre and burrow is getting smashed at the line of scrimmage. 

Players being bigger and faster means they are covering more space. The 5metre line doesnt solve that. A deep attacking line doesnt solve that. There is a reason players want to cheat the offside. It makes defending easier not harder. 

That is some of the point. If we want players to take up the game why make it harder and harder to play? What are we trying to prove? There is no reward for this (quite obviously). The most successful sport of all is also about the easiest ball/team sport to play. Rugby Union of course has no requirement to retreat at all, it does not suffer for this and puts on some excellent attacking rugby nowadays.

And the current "style" of rugby and injury toll on players is everything to do with the 10m rule. The conclusion of the academic study  "Meir R., Colla P., Milligan C. Impact of the 10-meter rule change on professional rugby league" states clearly "The 10-m rule does have an impact on key match play activities on a professional rugby league team. Notwithstanding the game to game variations in coaching “tactics” and their impact on play, and therefore the physical requirements of participation, it appears that this rule change has placed increased demands on the aerobic capacity of players and has implications for the way the game is played."  With regards injuries the latest study https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7149521_Injury_in_rugby_league  concludes "injuries have increased with evolution in player physical development, speed and rule changes.

Block play after block play is just tedious to watch AND play. In addition the current situation is showing exactly how risk averse the majority of the human race is, why are parents going to encourage their children to play a sport that is suffering more and more injuries each year? Why we hang our hat onto the 10m rule , which has been in existence less than 30 years,  is baffling.

On the 10m rule I wish this guy https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/nrl-evolution-of-the-tackle-may-spell-end-for-10metre-rule-20140418-zqw8y.html and Greg McCallum (The 10 metre rule is counterproductive for what the game is about) had been right,they  might be at some point down the line.

With regards the style of play I hope this guy (and the NRL) is right. https://sportress.wordpress.com/2019/04/19/death-of-the-block-play/ but with the lack of real "thinkers" in the game (UK at least) nowadays I am not so hopeful.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, TIWIT said:

What has any of this got to do with the return of Kallum Watkins? He's coming back from Australia, not the 1980s.

Ya...and can you believe the ###### the RFL is making Toronto to go through for this signing....player signed and they haven't OK'ed it yet...what are they looking for another bribe attempt?

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6 hours ago, Kayakman said:

Ya...and can you believe the ###### the RFL is making Toronto to go through for this signing....player signed and they haven't OK'ed it yet...what are they looking for another bribe attempt?

Probably want Argyle to bail out the entire league.

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11 hours ago, Marty Funkhouser said:

injury toll on players is everything to do with the 10m rule.

I'm not so sure if it is. I suspect it may play a part but that it's more to do with full time professionalism and changes in training methods. But the improvements in sports science will likely also have improved recovery.

11 hours ago, Marty Funkhouser said:

it appears that this rule change has placed increased demands on the aerobic capacity of players and has implications for the way the game is played."

 Using this logic, if we went back to a 5m rule then this would reduce aerobic demands, which would in turn allow more focus to be placed on developing strength and power, which could perhaps increase injury rates due to even higher impacts.

11 hours ago, Marty Funkhouser said:

Rugby Union of course has no requirement to retreat at all, it does not suffer for this and puts on some excellent attacking rugby nowadays.

But RU does have loads of injuries, just like league does.Just having had a quick look at the more recent research, it seems that it may even be the case that RU has higher injury incidence compared to a similar time period in league. Perhaps more pertinently, another comparable study suggests that injury rates were higher 25-30 years ago, with results obtained over a time-period that included the old 5m rule.

Now I appreciate that there will be differences in methods etc, but taking these findings at face value suggests that injury rates can't be linked to the 10m rule.

11 hours ago, Marty Funkhouser said:

Block play after block play is just tedious to watch AND play.

I completely agree. But again, is this down to the 10m rule or just trends in tactics? I'm not so sure that the 2 are linked. I remember when people were claiming that the 10m rule was responsible for dummy half scoots and one-out drives.

 

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1 hour ago, scotchy1 said:

If you want to create a more attacking game you need to create a less possession focused game which means more turnovers, more changes of possession, more contests for the ball and less of a punishment for losing the ball. 

But you seem to be describing rugby union here. And I don't see RU as being a more attacking game. If anything, whenever I've watched it, it seems far more negative and focused on keeping possession (e.g. rucks, mauls etc) than actually trying to do much attacking stuff with the ball when you've got it.

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8 minutes ago, scotchy1 said:

I think unions kick contests are far better than ours and if we could find a an actual contest for the ball to replace the scrum then we would be in a far better place.

Yeah I'm not so sure we need it. I'm really happy with the game to be honest. I think trying to manufacture some contest for possession could have the unintended consequence of changing the game beyond all recognition. I remember hearing somebody describe RU as a contest for possession, and RL as a contest with possession. I don't personally find the contests for possession the least bit interesting/exciting. It's the things that people do with the ball that I find exciting. 

11 minutes ago, scotchy1 said:

(I'd also be interested to see what would happen in the modern game with fewer tackles. Would it encourage more attacking players that would be necessary to score?)

Or would it encourage less risks to be taken, knowing that they are going to be forced to kick earlier anyway? Ultimately we don't know. I suspect much of it comes down to the different attacking philosophies of the team and coach, and I believe that to be the case with the game as it's played currently. Some teams play a very regimented and predictable style (such as Wigan seemed to under Shaun Wane), whereas others have a more innovative attacking style (e.g. Cas under Daryl Powell), and it's these teams that I enjoy watching more.

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1 hour ago, scotchy1 said:

It makes defending easier and attacking harder.

The 10m rule makes defending harder and attacking easier.

RU has no retreat and what happens, you get 1 up after 1up after 1 up. Especially when close to the line. A 'redzone' play in RL is likely to be a set passing move or kick. In RU its pick up and push phase after phase after phase. Most of them going nowhere. 

If what you were saying were true RU would have fewer phases of possession and the answer is they have many many more. 

If you want to create a more attacking game you need to create a less possession focused game which means more turnovers, more changes of possession, more contests for the ball and less of a punishment for losing the ball. 

One reason the 10m rule actually makes defending easier is the wrestling.  As soon as that starts to drop off in its efficiency, through fatigue or lesser wrestling technique, we see a reversal.  Although the wrestling, imo, came about early 2000's, it was developing here in the early 90's although not to the perfection of Melbourne Storm.

Remove the wrestling and the game would become less frantic and open up.

Ive read a fair bit written by Paul Broughton and he makes a lot of sense, especially about the game being all about the ruck and PTB.

 

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4 minutes ago, Lowdesert said:

Ive read a fair bit written by Paul Broughton and he makes a lot of sense, especially about the game being all about the ruck and PTB.

I agree that this is where the 10m rule has had the biggest influence. The onus is now on getting a superfast PTB in order to catch the defence on the back foot before they've got back the 10m to get onside. It wasn't to the same degree when the 5m rule was in place. However, this could be down to full time professionalism and coaches looking for incremental improvements. So even if we went back to 5m now, I don't know if it would change much. We could just end up with far bigger players and it could just become more of a bash-a-thon.

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17 minutes ago, Lowdesert said:

One reason the 10m rule actually makes defending easier is the wrestling.  As soon as that starts to drop off in its efficiency, through fatigue or lesser wrestling technique, we see a reversal.  Although the wrestling, imo, came about early 2000's, it was developing here in the early 90's although not to the perfection of Melbourne Storm.

Remove the wrestling and the game would become less frantic and open up.

Ive read a fair bit written by Paul Broughton and he makes a lot of sense, especially about the game being all about the ruck and PTB.

 

One of the reasons why the wrestle in the tackle evolved was to combat the 'roll' that we say through scoots or one out plays seeing a team march downfield in a set of 6. The ability of teams to roll downfield completely negates the need to develop innovative attacking play.

Then we saw the scrappy play the ball tolerated as a way of giving the attacking player an advantage back in the play the ball.

If a 5m rule saw more collision tackling than wrestling, deeper attacking lines and more innovation in attack then I would be happy to see a trial of it.

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3 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

If a 5m rule saw more collision tackling than wrestling, deeper attacking lines and more innovation in attack then I would be happy to see a trial of it.

I think the problem is that a trial wouldn't really give a good indication as to the long term effects of the rule change. Body shapes would change as fitness demands changed, and tactics would also evolve over time. It may work well in a trial, and then as teams and coaches work out how best to adapt, the long term changes may produce something less favourable. Ultimately the proof would be in the pudding several years after the change. I think back to when T20 was introduced to cricket, and it took teams quite a while to adapt and work out the best tactics. 

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