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Just been listening to the most recent Sky Sports Golden Point podcast with Luther Burrell, where inevitably the topic of the difficulty of switching codes has come up and the differences in adapting between the two sports, and Luther mentions the difference in 'plays' in both sports, and how in RU (according to him) there was an element of variety in what happened in attack, as opposed to in RL where we have a set of stock plays that all teams perform, and the battle is in who performs them best. He said this quite unwittingly and with no desire to say anything negative, but highlights something that many on these boards have said for some time, about the variety of attack in RL.

With Lockdown, I, like many i'm sure, have been watching lots of old RL from the late 80's / early 90's, which was when i first discovered the game, and the level of variety in attacking plays is in stark contrast with that of today. And it got me to thinking why? Why have modern day coaches abandoned the practise of coming up with new and innovative attacking plays to get an advantage over the opposition?

Daryll Powell at Cas showed some signs of introducing something fresh a few seasons back, Tim Sheens always did in his time at Wests, but cant think of too many other current coaches who try and produce something new.

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18 minutes ago, EastLondonMike said:

Just been listening to the most recent Sky Sports Golden Point podcast with Luther Burrell, where inevitably the topic of the difficulty of switching codes has come up and the differences in adapting between the two sports, and Luther mentions the difference in 'plays' in both sports, and how in RU (according to him) there was an element of variety in what happened in attack, as opposed to in RL where we have a set of stock plays that all teams perform, and the battle is in who performs them best. He said this quite unwittingly and with no desire to say anything negative, but highlights something that many on these boards have said for some time, about the variety of attack in RL.

With Lockdown, I, like many i'm sure, have been watching lots of old RL from the late 80's / early 90's, which was when i first discovered the game, and the level of variety in attacking plays is in stark contrast with that of today. And it got me to thinking why? Why have modern day coaches abandoned the practise of coming up with new and innovative attacking plays to get an advantage over the opposition?

Daryll Powell at Cas showed some signs of introducing something fresh a few seasons back, Tim Sheens always did in his time at Wests, but cant think of too many other current coaches who try and produce something new.

There were twins or brothers (can’t remember) who coached Ipswich Jets a few years back - definitely played with exception to the norm

Regular short kick offs.
Upto 50 passes per attacking set. 

 

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5 minutes ago, welshmagpie said:

There were twins or brothers (can’t remember) who coached Ipswich Jets a few years back - definitely played with exception to the norm

Regular short kick offs.
Upto 50 passes per attacking set. 

 

Walker brothers in the Queensland cup. One of their things was immediately releasing the tackled player to speed up the game. Which was an interesting tactic, but purely based on fitness, or greater fitness of the team they coached.

I just wonder why coaches don't appear to bring much newness to their teams attack. Maybe some do but it's not that noticeable.

Edited by EastLondonMike

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29 minutes ago, EastLondonMike said:

Just been listening to the most recent Sky Sports Golden Point podcast with Luther Burrell, where inevitably the topic of the difficulty of switching codes has come up and the differences in adapting between the two sports, and Luther mentions the difference in 'plays' in both sports, and how in RU (according to him) there was an element of variety in what happened in attack, as opposed to in RL where we have a set of stock plays that all teams perform, and the battle is in who performs them best. He said this quite unwittingly and with no desire to say anything negative, but highlights something that many on these boards have said for some time, about the variety of attack in RL.

With Lockdown, I, like many i'm sure, have been watching lots of old RL from the late 80's / early 90's, which was when i first discovered the game, and the level of variety in attacking plays is in stark contrast with that of today. And it got me to thinking why? Why have modern day coaches abandoned the practise of coming up with new and innovative attacking plays to get an advantage over the opposition?

Daryll Powell at Cas showed some signs of introducing something fresh a few seasons back, Tim Sheens always did in his time at Wests, but cant think of too many other current coaches who try and produce something new.

This does not depict the RU I have seen.  Lunging down to ground is just as negative as hitting the ball up.  This isn’t a pop at RU but what is generally stock fodder.

Defenses are more uniform and organised these days.  That, together with flat attacking lines are the big differences between now and then in RL.  

 

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Just now, Lowdesert said:

This does not depict the RU I have seen.  Lunging down to ground is just as negative as hitting the ball up.  This isn’t a pop at RU but what is generally stock fodder.

Defenses are more uniform and organised these days.  That, together with flat attacking lines are the big differences between now and then in RL.  

 

completely agree, but the main point of the post was about the progression or lack of it, in RL attacking plays.


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1 hour ago, EastLondonMike said:

completely agree, but the main point of the post was about the progression or lack of it, in RL attacking plays.

Yes mate, I got that.  The difference being that the ‘lunge’ or attempt to bust through is followed by a ruck or a maul delay and our is a PTB.  Both stop start whichever way we look at it.  

I think you’ll find, that ‘stock’plays, blocking etc etc are no different in either game.  

 

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6 hours ago, EastLondonMike said:

Just been listening to the most recent Sky Sports Golden Point podcast with Luther Burrell, where inevitably the topic of the difficulty of switching codes has come up and the differences in adapting between the two sports, and Luther mentions the difference in 'plays' in both sports, and how in RU (according to him) there was an element of variety in what happened in attack, as opposed to in RL where we have a set of stock plays that all teams perform, and the battle is in who performs them best. He said this quite unwittingly and with no desire to say anything negative, but highlights something that many on these boards have said for some time, about the variety of attack in RL.

With Lockdown, I, like many i'm sure, have been watching lots of old RL from the late 80's / early 90's, which was when i first discovered the game, and the level of variety in attacking plays is in stark contrast with that of today. And it got me to thinking why? Why have modern day coaches abandoned the practise of coming up with new and innovative attacking plays to get an advantage over the opposition?

Daryll Powell at Cas showed some signs of introducing something fresh a few seasons back, Tim Sheens always did in his time at Wests, but cant think of too many other current coaches who try and produce something new.

It’s a very interesting point and I agree. Toulouse play some great footy through Houles so it can be done, and you’ve also highlighted others.

I think coaching certainly plays a part and there’s a greater focus on defence and not conceding whilst successful Australian teams have focused on attritional nature of repeat sets and wearing down an opposition. Part of that is due to the greater fitness of players these days which allow for fewer open field opportunities, particularly with sliding defences. 

However, I don’t think it helps that a lot of coaches are forwards and I’ve often advocated that clubs or RFL should employ a specialist halves coach to upskill pivots. The halves and centres don’t generally seem as creative as past ones. Part of that I feel is due to the focus on weight training and wrestling. 

That was a bit of an incoherent brain dump after a couple of beers in the sun but in short, there are a collection of factors in my opinion 

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1 hour ago, DoubleD said:

It’s a very interesting point and I agree. Toulouse play some great footy through Houles so it can be done, and you’ve also highlighted others.

I think coaching certainly plays a part and there’s a greater focus on defence and not conceding whilst successful Australian teams have focused on attritional nature of repeat sets and wearing down an opposition. Part of that is due to the greater fitness of players these days which allow for fewer open field opportunities, particularly with sliding defences. 

However, I don’t think it helps that a lot of coaches are forwards and I’ve often advocated that clubs or RFL should employ a specialist halves coach to upskill pivots. The halves and centres don’t generally seem as creative as past ones. Part of that I feel is due to the focus on weight training and wrestling. 

That was a bit of an incoherent brain dump after a couple of beers in the sun but in short, there are a collection of factors in my opinion 

I agree, but still see more variety (albeit not a huge amount more) coming from the NRL. For instance a couple of seasons back we started to see the re-introduction of the run around. A staple play between halves for decades.

I also find it strange from a progressive point of view. I would have thought all coaches, to remain or attain success, would be looking to personally improve year on year, and not just by working the group of players they're responsible for harder on the plays/facets of the game they currently use, or used the season before, but by implementing newness to their play regularly.

I'd like to ask some of todays first team coaches what they specifically added to their teams attack upon taking control. What did Shaun Wane introduce to the Wigan team, that was new, when he took over from Michael Mcguire? same for Agar taking over at Leeds and any other current coach.


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8 hours ago, EastLondonMike said:

Why have modern day coaches abandoned the practise of coming up with new and innovative attacking plays to get an advantage over the opposition?

Money !!!!!!!!!!!!  They are scared of doing anything different which might not work and then lose the match... and then maybe their job.

Yet opponents may themselves not be used to a team playing some unusual style and therefore don't have plans to defend against it.

Yes, not RL, but I believe that's why Leicester won the FA Premier Division. Instead of the usual "to me, to you" style of just passing the ball between them until an opening was made, they played a style of attacking football which had not been seen for a while and the opposition didn't know how to defend against it.

In past years British rugby was always more open and entertaining than the Aussie style but because they started to win with their power and strength then started to try and copy them.  That, as well as the "win at all costs" attitude of modern coaches has certainly made the game less open.

Edited by RL does what Sky says
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1 minute ago, RL does what Sky says said:

Money !!!!!!!!!!!!  They are scared of doing anything different which might not work and then lose the match... and then aybe their job.

Yet opponents may themselves not be used to a team playing some unusual style and therefore don't have plans to defend against it.

Yes, not RL, but I believe that's why Leicester won the FA Premier Division. Instead of the usual  "to me, to you" style of just p;assing the ball between them until an opening was made, they played a style of attacking football which had not been seen for a while and the opposition didn't know how to defend against it.

In past years British rugby was always more open and entertaining than the Aussie style but because they started to win with their powr and strength then w started to try and copy them.  That, as well as the "win at all costs" attitude of modern coaches has certainly made the game less open.

I don't think thats really the case, as nothing has really changed in terms of who the big clubs are and who is most likely to figure at the business end of the season. If anything the smaller clubs are under less pressure to succeed so no real pressure on any coach to handle his team a certain way. Good defence doesn't have to be sacrificed to allow for good and varied attack.

Though the point about Leicester rings true (though have to admit to not seeing them play). Variety. When teams don't know what you're going to do naturally they are going to be tested.

I think maybe its down to a traditional attitude towards the game that makes many look to Australia to see what works best, and implement certain aspects, but also maybe some are coaching they way they were coached, as well as many being forwards, as double D said.


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2 minutes ago, EastLondonMike said:

I don't think thats really the case, as nothing has really changed in terms of who the big clubs are and who is most likely to figure at the business end of the season.

Yet could it be that the same big clubs are always there because they always play that safety-first way ?  I know they can't be blamed if that style brings them success but the point was about how to provide more variety in play, as was in the past.

At the present time the general mode is five drives and a kick ... so how can we change that to provide more open play ?

Well, suppose we dispense with much of the kicking and therefore force coaches to come up with ways of progressing downfield by use of ball-handling skills ?  Suppose a team was only allowed to kick downfield when in their opponents' half (or whatever area on the pitch might be more suitable) ? That would mean that a team in possession in their own half would have to try and pass their way upfield instead of just barging forward for five tackles and knowing that they could then just kick themselves out of trouble. Any kick in that area of the field would still give the opportunity for the team in possession to chase after the ball and create some excitement near or over the try-line.

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Leeds under McDermott, Cas under Powell and Wigan under Wane perhaps best typify the attacking spectrum of modern RL.

Leeds in attack was unstructured. Very few set plays and had many comments from opposition about how this unpredictability made video sessions less important and defending much less easy. Also made Leeds prone to looking directionless and out of ideas at times.

Cas under Powell perhaps a best of both worlds. Attacking plays at pace making use of strike players in various positions. Determination to use the full width of the pitch too in a much more ordered attacking fashion than the previous example. They were also willing to attack from deep which marked them out.

Finally Wigan under Wane. Block plays at pace that for all they were predictable were equally very hard to defend against.

I didn't know where to categorize Tony Smiths Warrington in this venn diagram of attacking styles so perhaps it sits outside!

My takeaway from Burrell's point that there wouldn't regularly be the same set plays in union I think is a misrepresentation of the fact that the same situation rarely presents itself. Without wanting to take this cross code, the number of ball passing players generally limits what happens on a union pitch in attack to plays off a 9 or 10. The number of players, unlimited tackles and propensity to go back inside to a forward or podding from the ruck masques this as greater diversity. Its not that attacking plays then are unpredictable they are just not regular.

In League by contrast there are essentially 3 lateral positions from which an attacking play can come from regularly. Left, right or Centre. Occasionally we see a blind side play and even in the central positions we see an attempt by the clever players to get tackled to the outside of the post to create more space. Our attacking plays correspond to those points on the field and the limited number of tackles does make a more consistent attacking style more appealing to a generally more conservative attitude in the game now.

I do agree with both Carney and Burrell that we have become more conservative - but that the primary factor in that has been defences getting better meaning plays at fast pace are prioritised over maverick moves as they are replicable. I also agreed with the point that we seem to have taken on this Australian obsession with left and right sides to every position. I understand the logic behind it - get really good at attacking your side by doing it exclusively - but I do think it can be seen as symptomatic of how many teams and coaches have a plan A and then nothing much after that.

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3 hours ago, DoubleD said:

The halves and centres don’t generally seem as creative as past ones. Part of that I feel is due to the focus on weight training and wrestling.

Well the directive for the NRL start is aimed at taking some of the wrestle out.... Talking about a repeat 6 set rather than a penalty 

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2 minutes ago, Welsh RL & RU watcher said:

IMO to see more ad-lib football we should go back to a 5 metre defensive line, and have 12-a-side, get rid of the scrum. 

I wouldn't wholly disagree with a 12-man game.  ie: Have no loose-forward.

I wouldn't totally get rid of the scrum as that is a part of the game that makes it different to many others ... I just think it needs tidying up and also not made to look too pointless as it does now (I would make the scrum-half be the only person who can pick up the ball at the base of it .. that would mean the forwards would have to stay in the scrum a bit longer instead of breaking away as soon as the ball is put in, as they do now).

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6 minutes ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

Well the directive for the NRL start is aimed at taking some of the wrestle out.... Talking about a repeat 6 set rather than a penalty 

I know I mentioned it before in another thread but a team only 1 point behind in the last few minutes might prefer an attempt at 2 points instead of six more tackles from which they might not score.

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4 minutes ago, RL does what Sky says said:

I know I mentioned it before in another thread but a team only 1 point behind in the last few minutes might prefer an attempt at 2 points instead of six more tackles from which they might not score.

They discussed it on the Matty Johns show.... I think the ref may have the ability to give an option of penalty or repeat set? 

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16 minutes ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

They discussed it on the Matty Johns show.... I think the ref may have the ability to give an option of penalty or repeat set? 

Yes, but does he just decide himself or stop play to ask the team what they want ?

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22 minutes ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

They discussed it on the Matty Johns show.... I think the ref may have the ability to give an option of penalty or repeat set? 

Just another point .... If a team currently offends at a tackle, the team in possession can also gain yardage with a kick to touch and which would often take them further upfield than would six tackles. That seems more advantageous, so would that still be an option for them ?

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1 hour ago, RL does what Sky says said:

Just another point .... If a team currently offends at a tackle, the team in possession can also gain yardage with a kick to touch and which would often take them further upfield than would six tackles. That seems more advantageous, so would that still be an option for them ?

I think they've been picking the same holes in it

I guess giving the offended  teams the option of kick or extra 6 makes sense

Getting ready rid of the jui jitsu is key for me so I hope they get it working and all those superleague club's wrestle rooms might become extinct if we take it up too

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2 hours ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

I think they've been picking the same holes in it

I guess giving the offended  teams the option of kick or extra 6 makes sense

Getting ready rid of the jui jitsu is key for me so I hope they get it working and all those superleague club's wrestle rooms might become extinct if we take it up too

If I was given the option of another six tackles or a penalty (either at goal or to touch) then I would always pick the latter. That would give me either a chance of two points or to gain at least the same yardage downfield with one kick instead of having to graft through six tackles ... and the latter is exactly what happens now.

The only positive might be if say an offence took place at the first tackle and I then got 11 more (ie: the remaining five of the original set and then an added 6). However, that would make it far more difficult for the referee to keep count.

When watching films of matches in the past there never appears to be as much gang-tackling as these days and therefore players got off the tackled player quicker. What does occur more in the present day game is that a tackler will just lie on top of his own player and thus the whole process of everybody getting to their feet takes longer. Perhaps penalties should be given more often for players who just lie on top of their own colleague.

Watch this coaching video on how to effect a gang tackle and in tackles 2 and 5 note how a player releases the player in possession but then falls back on top of his own player to slow things down.  (NB The action beings at 1m20s).

Furthermore, in tackles 3 and 4, the "third" tackler doesn't even attempt to get off the player with the ball until the other two have done so, even though he could have done.

Perhaps Steve Ganson needs to watch this video !!!!!!!

 

Edited by RL does what Sky says
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5 hours ago, Welsh RL & RU watcher said:

IMO to see more ad-lib football we should go back to a 5 metre defensive line, and have 12-a-side, get rid of the scrum. 

I think 12-a-side would an excellent idea to help open up play, combined with limited interchanges. According to Tony Collin's "Rugby Reloaded" podcast, 13-aside only narrowly won out over 12-aside when the Northern clubs voted to modified the rules.

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6 hours ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

I think they've been picking the same holes in it

I guess giving the offended  teams the option of kick or extra 6 makes sense

Getting ready rid of the jui jitsu is key for me so I hope they get it working and all those superleague club's wrestle rooms might become extinct if we take it up too

The reasoning is fatigue, the NRL want the ball in play more and some want reduced interchanges so forwards are fatigued at the end of matches, this then helps smaller half-backs to star in the last 15 miutes of matches. 

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For this to make any sense Luther would need to be more specific about the term "Plays". If it refers to ball-in-hand attacking moves, there`s definitely less variety in Union than League. When Union teams are hammering away with drive, pick-and-go tactics, it`s pretty simple stuff, and with unlimited possession it can go on for 20 or 30 "phases". After a spell of this, one big Harbour-Bridge pass can be enough to undo the defence. An equivalent scenario in League requires plays of greater diversity, with more pairs of hands involved, to achieve the same result.

On the subject of enhancing variety in League, the obstruction rule is far too restrictive. If we gave more freedom to attacking players to be ahead of the ball, as long as they remain static, placing an obligation on defenders to hold back and make better defensive reads, it would allow more complex attacking patterns. Some might say this is Gridiron, but players would still be penalised if they made a deliberate move between defender and ball-carrier.

Also, we have eliminated the variety that can follow the charge-down of a kick with the "back to 1" rule. No coach wants to risk a repeat set, so standard kick pressure is to attack the kicker not the ball. Since a charge-down is exempt from the knock-on rule, why should it be deemed as playing at the ball for the tackle count?

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