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The Rocket

Simple Game

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With the Finals in the NRL coming up thought we might see more of this.

As we know there is a continual `arms race` between the rule makers and the coaches. New rule comes in coaches find a way around it.

Earlier in the year we saw `six-again` to get rid of the wrestle which had become truly a blight on the game. Worked a treat. However the Roosters then Penrith very quickly realised if you kept the player up off the ground the tackle wasn`t considered complete, if you dragged him back about 5 metres even better, plenty of time for your defensive line to reset just like the wrestle had achieved. However it does take three blokes initially in the tackle to keep the bloke up off the ground, a fourth will often come in to help drag him back.

However I saw an interesting little play by Manly to counter this,  Hasler had Marty Tapau run at the line one off the ruck, at about 2-3 metres from the defensive line, as the defenders converged on him, obviously to get in there and hold him up and drive him back , he turned his body sideways and swung a pass out to Fonua- Blake, because the defensive line was a bit thinner as the defenders were converging on Tapau, Blake burst straight through and scored . I saw the same move used between Tapau and Jake Trbojevic with the same result a couple weeks later. Even if they don1t break the defensive line, the `B` runner pokes his head through the line goes to ground and they get the fast play the ball. Great little tactic.

Funny enough it was Hasler, who when at Canterbury, used a similar tactic using James Graham. Graham ran at the line one off the ruck and approaching the defensive line used to turn and throw a beautiful pass out the back thereby creating an extra player in the backline. The move was pretty soon being copied by everyone. But when the Dogs first started it, all the commentators were creaming their pants at this new move, unheard of , a front rower throwing this beautiful long pass out the back to the five eight.

Just thought I would share this, because I love it when coaches bring in little innovations that show the game is not so simple after all.

 

 

 

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It's a good observation, but i'm sorry I can't get onboard with the idea this is anything new and been brought in by coaches to counteract the new tackle technique you perceive there to be. 

Ball playing forwards have been around for years and you're right to pick up on James Graham being one of the best, certainly in the past 10 years - drawing in 2/3 defenders and having the ability to play out the back or a tip on play to the lead runner. I think the reason NRL commentators got so excited with the likes of Graham was because back then (and to an extent still now) the NRL was so structured, anything that wasn't one or two off the ruck for the first 4 tackles and a long high kick on the last was seen as 'adventurous'. 

 

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5 minutes ago, hunsletgreenandgold said:

It's a good observation, but i'm sorry I can't get onboard with the idea this is anything new and been brought in by coaches to counteract the new tackle technique you perceive there to be. 

Ball playing forwards have been around for years and you're right to pick up on James Graham being one of the best, certainly in the past 10 years - drawing in 2/3 defenders and having the ability to play out the back or a tip on play to the lead runner. I think the reason NRL commentators got so excited with the likes of Graham was because back then (and to an extent still now) the NRL was so structured, anything that wasn't one or two off the ruck for the first 4 tackles and a long high kick on the last was seen as 'adventurous'. 

 

Ball playing forwards were always for me forwards who unloaded in the line. Arthur Beetson, Bob O`Reilly, Junior Paulo.

I can`t remember any forwards, particularly props in the past running that line and throwing that pass.

One thing I am more certain of though is this lifting, holding and dragging back being employed by the Roosters and Panthers. And I suspect we will see a lot more of it over the next few weeks. It`s not dissimilar to the gang tackling employed by Ricky Stuart`s Roosters of the early 2000`s.Although they were doing it more for reasons of restricting yardage by opposing teams. It`s high energy and requires a highly motivated defence.

The  Storm have changed all that, Bellamy`s teams by wrestling, turtling, dragging players back and having them face the wrong direction when the tackle was complete, used that time to have their defences perfectly organised , their spreads perfected, numbers correct and ready to stream forward as soon as the ball was played , the second that ball hit he ground. It was why they were so hard to score against on their line.

I thought Haslers tactic was a neat way to thwart this gang tackle approach.

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1 hour ago, The Rocket said:

However the Roosters then Penrith very quickly realised if you kept the player up off the ground the tackle wasn`t considered complete, if you dragged him back about 5 metres even better, plenty of time for your defensive line to reset just like the wrestle had achieved

Ref's job - "if you kept the player up off the ground the tackle wasn`t considered complete, if you dragged him back about 5 metres even better" calll  held  six again

 

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"I think that's quite an patronising response to a player who is a rugby union icon." Martyn Sadler

 

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2 minutes ago, Oxford said:

Ref's job - "if you kept the player up off the ground the tackle wasn`t considered complete, if you dragged him back about 5 metres even better" calll  held  six again

 

I totally agree, it`s like this ridiculous situation we have with wingers at the moment. Unless they get to ground they are lifted and dragged over the touchline, it is effectively narrowing the field of play by nearly 20 metres if you include both sides of the field. The field is narrow enough these days with all them big athletic dudes out there.

But by having the player held of the ground and still moving the tackle is not considered complete. I agree the Ref should held called as soon as forward momentum is halted maybe with a bit of latitude for good tough driving defence.

However it is a grey area that is being exploited. And I thought Haslers running forwards in pairs was a neat ploy to counter it.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

Ball playing forwards were always for me forwards who unloaded in the line. Arthur Beetson, Bob O`Reilly, Junior Paulo.

I can`t remember any forwards, particularly props in the past running that line and throwing that pass.

One thing I am more certain of though is this lifting, holding and dragging back being employed by the Roosters and Panthers. And I suspect we will see a lot more of it over the next few weeks. It`s not dissimilar to the gang tackling employed by Ricky Stuart`s Roosters of the early 2000`s.Although they were doing it more for reasons of restricting yardage by opposing teams. It`s high energy and requires a highly motivated defence.

The  Storm have changed all that, Bellamy`s teams by wrestling, turtling, dragging players back and having them face the wrong direction when the tackle was complete, used that time to have their defences perfectly organised , their spreads perfected, numbers correct and ready to stream forward as soon as the ball was played , the second that ball hit he ground. It was why they were so hard to score against on their line.

I thought Haslers tactic was a neat way to thwart this gang tackle approach.

There's not been too many in the NRL i'll grant you, but it's relatively common place in SL - Sean O'Loughlin, Grant Millington to name but a couple. 

I agree, sides are trying to work out what they're allowed to do to still slow down the ruck without giving away 6 again - all I would say is if it becomes too obvious sides are holding players up to buy this time, refs will just be instructed to call held earlier IMO. 

Overall though it is good to see how the coaching mind works to alter a teams way of playing to get the best out of new rules. 

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1 hour ago, The Rocket said:

One thing I am more certain of though is this lifting, holding and dragging back being employed by the Roosters and Panthers. And I suspect we will see a lot more of it over the next few weeks. It`s not dissimilar to the gang tackling employed by Ricky Stuart`s Roosters of the early 2000`s.Although they were doing it more for reasons of restricting yardage by opposing teams. It`s high energy and requires a highly motivated defence.

The  Storm have changed all that, Bellamy`s teams by wrestling, turtling, dragging players back and having them face the wrong direction when the tackle was complete, used that time to have their defences perfectly organised , their spreads perfected, numbers correct and ready to stream forward as soon as the ball was played , the second that ball hit he ground. It was why they were so hard to score against on their line.

I thought Haslers tactic was a neat way to thwart this gang tackle approach.

Holding the ball carrier up has been around for at least a decade. I know that because I've been coaching it for at least 5 years, and I am in no way an elite coach. Stop the ballcarriers forward progress, take their legs away, but only start to actually drop them to the ground when 'held' is called. Means of avoiding this have also been around for ages. Both pre-line passing such as James Graham, Sean O'Loughlin and Cam Murray, but also offloading, better body angle into contact and isolating defenders with footwork. 

1 hour ago, The Rocket said:

I totally agree, it`s like this ridiculous situation we have with wingers at the moment. Unless they get to ground they are lifted and dragged over the touchline, it is effectively narrowing the field of play by nearly 20 metres if you include both sides of the field. The field is narrow enough these days with all them big athletic dudes out there.

But by having the player held of the ground and still moving the tackle is not considered complete. I agree the Ref should held called as soon as forward momentum is halted maybe with a bit of latitude for good tough driving defence.

Why should attack not be punished for making bad decisions? You can't lift people off the ground and you can't drag. You can hold them up and push them over the touchline, but that's the attacker's own fault for putting themselves close to the touchline in a bad situation and with a poor body angle. 

3 hours ago, The Rocket said:

Just thought I would share this, because I love it when coaches bring in little innovations that show the game is not so simple after all.

I do definitely agree with this though. I just think the little innovations are such that a lot of people don't pick them up and the analysis, especially in the UK, rarely mentions them. Stuff like the Roosters atypical defensive system, the ever-evolving role of the fullback defensively on the tryline and the outside shoulder lead line that second rowers now run are a couple of obvious examples. 

 

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10 hours ago, Saint 1 said:

 

Holding the ball carrier up has been around for at least a decade. I know that because I've been coaching it for at least 5 years, and I am in no way an elite coach. Stop the ballcarriers forward progress, take their legs away, but only start to actually drop them to the ground when 'held' is called. Means of avoiding this have also been around for ages. Both pre-line passing such as James Graham, Sean O'Loughlin and Cam Murray, but also offloading, better body angle into contact and isolating defenders with footwork. 

Why should attack not be punished for making bad decisions? You can't lift people off the ground and you can't drag. You can hold them up and push them over the touchline, but that's the attacker's own fault for putting themselves close to the touchline in a bad situation and with a poor body angle. 

I do definitely agree with this though. I just think the little innovations are such that a lot of people don't pick them up and the analysis, especially in the UK, rarely mentions them. Stuff like the Roosters atypical defensive system, the ever-evolving role of the fullback defensively on the tryline and the outside shoulder lead line that second rowers now run are a couple of obvious examples. 

 

If I`m recognising correctly the username, I think we covered a lot of this a while back on another thread. I agree with all your replies to The Rocket.

There have always been people who think that making effective defence more difficult leads to more open play, when the reverse is as likely, since the same rewards in terms of metres gained or PTB speed will be made available irrespective of the quality of the attacking play.

Moving from 10 to 5m offside line raised the bar for defences, yet teams do not play more expansively in their own half than they used to. There may be other factors, but the most obvious reason teams don`t take more risks in their own half is that they don`t have to. With a 10m offside line, unless they are caught by the markers, there are easy metres to be had with simple, risk-free plays.

If the rule-makers find ways to eliminate all the good defensive techniques labelled "wrestling", so that a quick PTB becomes as much an unearned right as gaining territory, we`ll see a further increase in one-dimensional, risk-averse play.

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On 25/09/2020 at 02:41, Saint 1 said:

I do definitely agree with this though. I just think the little innovations are such that a lot of people don't pick them up and the analysis, especially in the UK, rarely mentions them. Stuff like the Roosters atypical defensive system, the ever-evolving role of the fullback defensively on the tryline and the outside shoulder lead line that second rowers now run are a couple of obvious examples.

My main aim in starting this thread was never to show myself as a great scholar of the game, which I am not,  but to encourage people to bring up the little tactical things in the game that they see and often like myself just don`t see and can be very interesting when pointed out.

We used to have marvellous League coverage on the National Broadcaster Radio over here with serious analysis of all aspects of the game, from the front office to the field, however this has been deemed as too boring and the trend has been towards light entertainment. More`s the pity.

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On 26/09/2020 at 10:19, The Rocket said:

My main aim in starting this thread was never to show myself as a great scholar of the game, which I am not,  but to encourage people to bring up the little tactical things in the game that they see and often like myself just don`t see and can be very interesting when pointed out.

We used to have marvellous League coverage on the National Broadcaster Radio over here with serious analysis of all aspects of the game, from the front office to the field, however this has been deemed as too boring and the trend has been towards light entertainment. More`s the pity.

Unfortunately as @Saint 1says, the awful commentary teams we have on sky are clueless, and don’t have the aptitude or intelligence to understand, let alone explain such analysis. 

Their version of analysis is ‘he runs the ball in hard’ 

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25 minutes ago, DoubleD said:

Unfortunately as @Saint 1says, the awful commentary teams we have on sky are clueless, and don’t have the aptitude or intelligence to understand, let alone explain such analysis. 

Their version of analysis is ‘he runs the ball in hard’ 

If it wasn`t so tragic, it would be funny. 

I hear blokes from the old days calling into the radio to ask relatively intelligent questions, we`re not talking Einstein here, just relatively basic stuff about the game and they give them the brush off because they can`t wait to get back to Louie`s latest prank.

I was quite happy to be contradicted about my observations above at least it got a bit of conversation going. I`m going to follow up with Saint1 about what he was referring to when he mentioned "outside shoulder lead line that second rowers run ".

You probably already know this, but I heard one of the commentators say the other day that when teams are defending their line, and I mean like when the tackle has been made like one metre out, some teams don`t even have a square marker anymore, because the tackler can`t  tap the ball forward any more if there is no marker, having a defender directly in front of the tackled player is a waste of defender, better to put a defender on one knee in line with the left and right shoulder of the tackled player, that with the fullback in the defensive line makes for a very crowded defensive line. Simple but brilliant.

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1 hour ago, The Rocket said:

If it wasn`t so tragic, it would be funny. 

I hear blokes from the old days calling into the radio to ask relatively intelligent questions, we`re not talking Einstein here, just relatively basic stuff about the game and they give them the brush off because they can`t wait to get back to Louie`s latest prank.

I was quite happy to be contradicted about my observations above at least it got a bit of conversation going. I`m going to follow up with Saint1 about what he was referring to when he mentioned "outside shoulder lead line that second rowers run ".

You probably already know this, but I heard one of the commentators say the other day that when teams are defending their line, and I mean like when the tackle has been made like one metre out, some teams don`t even have a square marker anymore, because the tackler can`t  tap the ball forward any more if there is no marker, having a defender directly in front of the tackled player is a waste of defender, better to put a defender on one knee in line with the left and right shoulder of the tackled player, that with the fullback in the defensive line makes for a very crowded defensive line. Simple but brilliant.

On the marker stuff, teams generally also go to one marker within probably 7m of their own tryline - this is because the second marker would essentially already be on the tryline. The spare defender usually (but not always) goes on the short-side, and then fullback will stand as the closest defender to the ruck on the long-side (generally), dropping out the back of the defensive line once the ball has left the hooker's hands.

I was planning on explaining that second rower comment anyway, just been busy. Generally for the last 10-15 years teams have run loads of block plays, with the second rower running a hard line cutting in onto the defending halfbacks inside shoulder, and the fullback running the sweep line out the back onto the halfbacks outside shoulder, as in the try here 

 

 

However, teams have gotten better and better at dealing with this. One way is defending halves are constantly thinking about their inside shoulder, and then can try and slide off to cover the ball once it has gone out the back to the fullback. Another way is for the outside defenders to 'jam in', so rather than the fullback be the defending halfback's responsibility, it's the centre (or winger depending on how wide they run the play), and then the defending halfback loops around to cover the cut out ball over the top to the winger. Jorge Tafau is the most obvious of jamming in, but plenty of teams do it in the NRL - Parramatta Eels as one example. In this play below is an example of jamming in:

One way of dealing with this style of defence is kicking behind them, but that's high risk in earlier tackles especially. Another way is to look for the cut-out ball over the top, but that's a hard play to execute. Another way is a slight change in running line by the lead line, generally the second rower, from aiming at the defending halfback's inside shoulder to his outside shoulder. This can either be a pre-planned thing because you've noticed a defensive tendency, or it can be a reactive thing to the centre/winger getting ahead of their inside defenders. If you execute this well, there's a bigger gap because the defending centre is ahead of their halfback, and the halfback has likely planted his feet expecting to tackle inside shoulder and has to react late. Two examples of this are below:

 

Waqa Blake regularly gets ahead of his halfback so this will be a pre-planned thing. All of this will just be spoken about by (most) pundits typically as "just the same old block plays" when in reality it's more complex than that. The same applies for a lot of different elements to the game! 

 

NB - Mods, I have made sure I have linked to the official NRL YouTube channels to avoid any copyright issues. Apologies if this still isn't allowed! 

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On 24/09/2020 at 21:10, The Rocket said:

With the Finals in the NRL coming up thought we might see more of this.

As we know there is a continual `arms race` between the rule makers and the coaches. New rule comes in coaches find a way around it.

Earlier in the year we saw `six-again` to get rid of the wrestle which had become truly a blight on the game. Worked a treat. However the Roosters then Penrith very quickly realised if you kept the player up off the ground the tackle wasn`t considered complete, if you dragged him back about 5 metres even better, plenty of time for your defensive line to reset just like the wrestle had achieved. However it does take three blokes initially in the tackle to keep the bloke up off the ground, a fourth will often come in to help drag him back.

However I saw an interesting little play by Manly to counter this,  Hasler had Marty Tapau run at the line one off the ruck, at about 2-3 metres from the defensive line, as the defenders converged on him, obviously to get in there and hold him up and drive him back , he turned his body sideways and swung a pass out to Fonua- Blake, because the defensive line was a bit thinner as the defenders were converging on Tapau, Blake burst straight through and scored . I saw the same move used between Tapau and Jake Trbojevic with the same result a couple weeks later. Even if they don1t break the defensive line, the `B` runner pokes his head through the line goes to ground and they get the fast play the ball. Great little tactic.

Funny enough it was Hasler, who when at Canterbury, used a similar tactic using James Graham. Graham ran at the line one off the ruck and approaching the defensive line used to turn and throw a beautiful pass out the back thereby creating an extra player in the backline. The move was pretty soon being copied by everyone. But when the Dogs first started it, all the commentators were creaming their pants at this new move, unheard of , a front rower throwing this beautiful long pass out the back to the five eight.

Just thought I would share this, because I love it when coaches bring in little innovations that show the game is not so simple after all.

 

 

 

To be honest Rocket, that play has been used both effectively and in’ for a while. Surprised that you were so awed by it... oh wait... dragons? 🤔😉

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14 minutes ago, Sports Prophet said:

To be honest Rocket, that play has been used both effectively and in’ for a while. Surprised that you were so awed by it... oh wait... dragons? 🤔😉

Yeah mate as I said I`m no great scholar of the game, mostly just love watching it, but I do enjoy when the little things are pointed out to me. My mates used to tease me that whenever I pick a rep team I just go for all out attack right across the park, same when I play chess or cards. Not very subtle or `nuanced ` you might say.

I` m really looking forward to having a look through what Saint 1 posted above though.

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3 hours ago, The Rocket said:

If it wasn`t so tragic, it would be funny. 

I hear blokes from the old days calling into the radio to ask relatively intelligent questions, we`re not talking Einstein here, just relatively basic stuff about the game and they give them the brush off because they can`t wait to get back to Louie`s latest prank.

I was quite happy to be contradicted about my observations above at least it got a bit of conversation going. I`m going to follow up with Saint1 about what he was referring to when he mentioned "outside shoulder lead line that second rowers run ".

You probably already know this, but I heard one of the commentators say the other day that when teams are defending their line, and I mean like when the tackle has been made like one metre out, some teams don`t even have a square marker anymore, because the tackler can`t  tap the ball forward any more if there is no marker, having a defender directly in front of the tackled player is a waste of defender, better to put a defender on one knee in line with the left and right shoulder of the tackled player, that with the fullback in the defensive line makes for a very crowded defensive line. Simple but brilliant.

In the women`s game there are a lot of soft 1m sneak tries scored precisely because everybody pulls back to the goal-line. They fail to watch how the ruck is shaping and don`t read that the tackled player has found her front, and that the tackler(s) will be left on the ground and not make it to marker. To me, this is careless and naive. 

It makes sense to only have one marker at very close-range to the goal-line, since the second is too tight to the first and unsighted. Better to be the A-defender on the goal-line where they get a view of the dummy-half and can react more quickly. But no marker at all is absurd, it leaves the area wide open. Surely teams aren`t doing it deliberately as you suggest. And I would always prefer two markers at anything more than a few metres out.

Edited by unapologetic pedant
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1 hour ago, unapologetic pedant said:

In the women`s game there are a lot of soft 1m sneak tries scored precisely because everybody pulls back to the goal-line. They fail to watch how the ruck is shaping and don`t read that the tackled player has found her front, and that the tackler(s) will be left on the ground and not make it to marker. To me, this is careless and naive. 

It makes sense to only have one marker at very close-range to the goal-line, since the second is too tight to the first and unsighted. Better to be the A-defender on the goal-line where they get a view of the dummy-half and can react more quickly. But no marker at all is absurd, it leaves the area wide open. Surely teams aren`t doing it deliberately as you suggest. And I would always prefer two markers at anything more than a few metres out.

No marker is a good idea if you're right on the tryline - you just need very tight A-defenders to compensate. The attack can't go through the ruck so as long as you're on either side of the attacker playing the ball you should be fine. Once you're more than maybe 1-2m out you would have a marker though, then transition to two markers somewhere between 6-10m out. 

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4 hours ago, Saint 1 said:

No marker is a good idea if you're right on the tryline - you just need very tight A-defenders to compensate. The attack can't go through the ruck so as long as you're on either side of the attacker playing the ball you should be fine. Once you're more than maybe 1-2m out you would have a marker though, then transition to two markers somewhere between 6-10m out. 

I`ve thought before about that first point, but if the dummy-half goes really low it can be hard for the relevant A-defender to get under the ball. Whereas if the marker goes the right way, that extra metre forward should make it more likely to get some part of the body underneath, even if it`s just legs as he`s sent backwards. Thus easier to hold up over the line.

Also, I reckon it acts as a deterrent, giving an impression of lots of bodies in a tight space, and the prospect of a wasted play.

And a tackle completed that close to the goal-line will rarely be dominant, so a tackler might as well try to manoeuvre round into marker since he wouldn`t make the goal-line, even from a metre out, before the ball was played.

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11 hours ago, DoubleD said:

Unfortunately as @Saint 1says, the awful commentary teams we have on sky are clueless, and don’t have the aptitude or intelligence to understand, let alone explain such analysis. 

Their version of analysis is ‘he runs the ball in hard’ 

Unless you`ve experienced a much-needed epiphany in the past few months, you`re not going to like this.- Analysis of UK RL, particularly of the source of each play at the ruck, has little validity when players are not required to play the ball correctly. If the ref gives a ruck penalty how can it be intelligently assessed in the context of the player rolling the ball and hopping over it, ostensibly also illegal yet ignored by the same ref at the same ruck?

Accepting this as purely academic since I fully share your appraisal of our "analysts". And the advent of articulate, astute English RL pundits in the future is not likely without a radical overhaul of the State education system.

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26 minutes ago, unapologetic pedant said:

Unless you`ve experienced a much-needed epiphany in the past few months, you`re not going to like this.- Analysis of UK RL, particularly of the source of each play at the ruck, has little validity when players are not required to play the ball correctly. If the ref gives a ruck penalty how can it be intelligently assessed in the context of the player rolling the ball and hopping over it, ostensibly also illegal yet ignored by the same ref at the same ruck?

Accepting this as purely academic since I fully share your appraisal of our "analysts". And the advent of articulate, astute English RL pundits in the future is not likely without a radical overhaul of the State education system.

I’ll ignore your first point because it’s just semantics and has been discussed at length already.

Nothing to do with the state education system, it’s to do with the people Sky employ. Wells, Carney and Clarke are very knowledgeable, as well as those on bbc 

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10 minutes ago, DoubleD said:

Nothing to do with the state education system, it’s to do with the people Sky employ. Wells, Carney and Clarke are very knowledgeable, as well as those on bbc 

Jon Wells & Brian Carney, both of whom have Law degrees? Both of whom also have masters degrees? As you say, nothing to do with the state education system. 

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25 minutes ago, DoubleD said:

I’ll ignore your first point because it’s just semantics and has been discussed at length already.

Nothing to do with the state education system, it’s to do with the people Sky employ. Wells, Carney and Clarke are very knowledgeable, as well as those on bbc 

So no PTB epiphany. Never mind.

9 minutes ago, JonM said:

Jon Wells & Brian Carney, both of whom have Law degrees? Both of whom also have masters degrees? As you say, nothing to do with the state education system. 

Carney is obviously a red herring in relation to the English system.

Beg to differ on the role of education. We`re not allowed to stray much into politics, and I don`t want to anyway, but there is a cultural problem in RL, which cannot be separated from the education system that virtually everyone involved in the game is a product of.

Where does all this "simple game" stuff come from, and why so obdurately ingrained? If people are not taught to look for subtlety and complexity, they will be content with transparency and simplicity. 

Hence "Run hard, tackle hard", "keep turning up for each other" etc, everything brawn over brain. Our players are smarter on the field, than they have the vocabulary to convey off it. Something must be to blame for that.

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7 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

Beg to differ on the role of education. We`re not allowed to stray much into politics, and I don`t want to anyway, but there is a cultural problem in RL, which cannot be separated from the education system that virtually everyone involved in the game is a product of.

Where does all this "simple game" stuff come from, and why so obdurately ingrained? If people are not taught to look for subtlety and complexity, they will be content with transparency and simplicity. 

Hence "Run hard, tackle hard", "keep turning up for each other" etc, everything brawn over brain. Our players are smarter on the field, than they have the vocabulary to convey off it. Something must be to blame for that.

You're spot on on the politics point.

The simple game motif has been banded about as much by superb coaches of our game as it has by detractors of our sport  (yet another Total Taboo!) . When it was called "Chess with Muscles!" by Brian Redhead, it was a clear indication of the simple game of chess being played by the inventive minds of the players.

 


"I think that's quite an patronising response to a player who is a rugby union icon." Martyn Sadler

 

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On 24/09/2020 at 14:10, The Rocket said:

With the Finals in the NRL coming up thought we might see more of this.

As we know there is a continual `arms race` between the rule makers and the coaches. New rule comes in coaches find a way around it.

Earlier in the year we saw `six-again` to get rid of the wrestle which had become truly a blight on the game. Worked a treat. However the Roosters then Penrith very quickly realised if you kept the player up off the ground the tackle wasn`t considered complete, if you dragged him back about 5 metres even better, plenty of time for your defensive line to reset just like the wrestle had achieved. However it does take three blokes initially in the tackle to keep the bloke up off the ground, a fourth will often come in to help drag him back.

However I saw an interesting little play by Manly to counter this,  Hasler had Marty Tapau run at the line one off the ruck, at about 2-3 metres from the defensive line, as the defenders converged on him, obviously to get in there and hold him up and drive him back , he turned his body sideways and swung a pass out to Fonua- Blake, because the defensive line was a bit thinner as the defenders were converging on Tapau, Blake burst straight through and scored . I saw the same move used between Tapau and Jake Trbojevic with the same result a couple weeks later. Even if they don1t break the defensive line, the `B` runner pokes his head through the line goes to ground and they get the fast play the ball. Great little tactic.

Funny enough it was Hasler, who when at Canterbury, used a similar tactic using James Graham. Graham ran at the line one off the ruck and approaching the defensive line used to turn and throw a beautiful pass out the back thereby creating an extra player in the backline. The move was pretty soon being copied by everyone. But when the Dogs first started it, all the commentators were creaming their pants at this new move, unheard of , a front rower throwing this beautiful long pass out the back to the five eight.

Just thought I would share this, because I love it when coaches bring in little innovations that show the game is not so simple after all.

Sounds a lot like the magicians of old being those ball playing prop forwards who through no little agility and slight of hand got balls out to supporting player's with consistency and regularity, on the Rugby field as in life Rod as they say "what goes round comes round"

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14 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

I`ve thought before about that first point, but if the dummy-half goes really low it can be hard for the relevant A-defender to get under the ball. Whereas if the marker goes the right way, that extra metre forward should make it more likely to get some part of the body underneath, even if it`s just legs as he`s sent backwards. Thus easier to hold up over the line.

Also, I reckon it acts as a deterrent, giving an impression of lots of bodies in a tight space, and the prospect of a wasted play.

And a tackle completed that close to the goal-line will rarely be dominant, so a tackler might as well try to manoeuvre round into marker since he wouldn`t make the goal-line, even from a metre out, before the ball was played.

You're overestimating how wide the A defenders are in this scenario. If there is a marker on the tryline, they are essentially out of play because they're defending a space where the attack physically cannot get to (due to the laws against going through the ruck). With one marker, the marker cannot go either way until the pass is made anyway, they're just going to tie in with their A defenders. The one marker would not guess which way they thought the hooker was going to go - it's just too risky a play. 

Lots of bodies will be in a tight space even with no marker and two very tight A defenders, you're just not wasting a defender. 

  

12 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

Where does all this "simple game" stuff come from, and why so obdurately ingrained? If people are not taught to look for subtlety and complexity, they will be content with transparency and simplicity. 

Hence "Run hard, tackle hard", "keep turning up for each other" etc, everything brawn over brain. Our players are smarter on the field, than they have the vocabulary to convey off it. Something must be to blame for that.

Not sure I agree with this. Coaches and players are never going to give away their gameplan in anything public. Richard Agar did a discussion of gameplanning for London Broncos over lockdown and said he only chose those games because they were no longer in Super League and had seen loads of personnel changes so he wasn't giving much away. 

There's also an awareness that interviews are intended for the general public. Imagine if a player came out in an interview and said "our main good-ball structure for this game was to work to the left post. We'd go two pass to the right because we know their halfback is weak on his inside shoulder, use his ineffective tackle for a quick PTB and then shift straight to the other edge because we know their middles are lazy and won't work across and their centre makes bad reads. After this we're gonna kick to their best winger and tackle him as he catches it to take him out of play 2". His coach would be livid, the opposition team would use that as motivation for next time (and also possibly have an advantage), and most fans wouldn't understand it anyway! 

There's also the fact that the basics are a necessary (but not sufficient) condition. If you don't execute the gameplan, or you drop too much ball, or you make bad decisions in defence, this is enough to lose you a game - there is no need to go any deeper in interviews. 

Edited by Saint 1
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I think I've said this on here but "simple game" is a misnomer for any elite level sport.  You could say league is 5 drives and a kick, football is just kicking it in the goal, boxing is just punching.  But however simple the rules might be compared with other sports, there is inevitable complexity in the way sport is executed at elite level.  

There are good examples of that in this thread.  You see it when union players convert to league - Andy Powell and Luther Burrell always looked off the pace because their positioning was out.  It might only be half a yard but they're ineffective in attack and exposed in defence - which isn't just a matter of fitness/being hard.  A lot of people watching, especially neutrals, might not spot the intricacies that make all the difference.

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