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The Rocket

Simple Game

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17 minutes ago, Tonka said:

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.

Tonka when I started this thread the whole purpose of the title was to challenge that perception of our game, which is often used against us. The contributions made so far to anyone who has read them would only confirm it is indeed not a `simple game`. 

When you combine the example of the intricacies given above with the speed and heavy contact of our sport it is hardly surprising that so often we hear players come off the field and say " we didn`t  stick to the game plan."

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1 hour ago, Saint 1 said:

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. 

  

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. 

On the first point, we`re in agreement on the futility of a defender on the goal-line directly square to the mark. The difference is, rather than have that defender elsewhere, I would prefer him 1 or 2m forward from the goal-line in at marker, where he has a chance to get under the ball if the dummy-half goes for the line. I agree the A-defenders are more important, and need to be tight, but the extra player at marker can help, particularly in holding up over the line.

On the second point, I used to hope that the apparent banality and inarticulacy from our players and coaches was really laconic circumspection required by the vested interest they had in avoiding specifics. However, when those players and coaches move into punditry, you realise they are, as in the title of Oscar Wilde`s short story "A sphinx without a secret".

Most interviews with current participants across all sports reveal more heat than light. Immediate reactions are an especial waste of time. In that we`re no different. But our media coverage is consistently, conspicuously more shallow, and that`s what governs the understanding and perception of the game.

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13 minutes ago, unapologetic pedant said:

On the first point, we`re in agreement on the futility of a defender on the goal-line directly square to the mark.

I`m glad you agree now on the futility of having a marker directly square with the tackled player as long as the two A-defenders are down low in almost a sprinters starting line pose ready to block any attempt at the burrowing try from dummy half.

It does raise another anomaly in the fact that any where else on the field if the marker is not directly square a penalty ensues. And here we are saying that in fact it is a wasted defender to have him in the legal position. In fact the whole point of the markers is now redundant given the markers inability to strike at the ball, or the tackled players right to tap the ball and run if there is no marker. Theoretically all defenders should retreat to the ten metre line. But how funny our game would look without the marker, a little how I feel it looks when the ball is kicked into touch or at the end of a set of six and there is no scrum just a lame handover.

 

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1 hour ago, The Rocket said:

Tonka when I started this thread the whole purpose of the title was to challenge that perception of our game, which is often used against us. The contributions made so far to anyone who has read them would only confirm it is indeed not a `simple game`. 

When you combine the example of the intricacies given above with the speed and heavy contact of our sport it is hardly surprising that so often we hear players come off the field and say " we didn`t  stick to the game plan."

Yeah I got that you were doing that and was agreeing 😀

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1 hour ago, unapologetic pedant said:

On the second point, I used to hope that the apparent banality and inarticulacy from our players and coaches was really laconic circumspection required by the vested interest they had in avoiding specifics. However, when those players and coaches move into punditry, you realise they are, as in the title of Oscar Wilde`s short story "A sphinx without a secret".

Most interviews with current participants across all sports reveal more heat than light. Immediate reactions are an especial waste of time. In that we`re no different. But our media coverage is consistently, conspicuously more shallow, and that`s what governs the understanding and perception of the game.

I think part of this is that the depth is concentrated in particular positions. Listening to pivots or coaches (i.e. on Wells' touch screen) is normally insightful enough. Most middle forwards have a much more defined role, and while they might have some variation, a lot of it is going to be consistent week-to-week. Weirdly a lot of coaches and pundits seem to be middle forwards! 

51 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

I`m glad you agree now on the futility of having a marker directly square with the tackled player as long as the two A-defenders are down low in almost a sprinters starting line pose ready to block any attempt at the burrowing try from dummy half.

It does raise another anomaly in the fact that any where else on the field if the marker is not directly square a penalty ensues. And here we are saying that in fact it is a wasted defender to have him in the legal position. In fact the whole point of the markers is now redundant given the markers inability to strike at the ball, or the tackled players right to tap the ball and run if there is no marker. Theoretically all defenders should retreat to the ten metre line. But how funny our game would look without the marker, a little how I feel it looks when the ball is kicked into touch or at the end of a set of six and there is no scrum just a lame handover.

 

If you're on the tryline though there is no requirement to being square - you're just saying you have 13 defenders in the line rather than 11 plus 2 markers, so it's not really ignoring a law. Markers aren't redundant - it's two players who don't have to retreat the 10. Constantly playing the ball to someone who runs from dummy half would be awful to watch and that's what markers are there to stop; that isn't much different to stopping the tackling player tapping the ball and running. 

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40 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

I`m glad you agree now on the futility of having a marker directly square with the tackled player as long as the two A-defenders are down low in almost a sprinters starting line pose ready to block any attempt at the burrowing try from dummy half.

It does raise another anomaly in the fact that any where else on the field if the marker is not directly square a penalty ensues. And here we are saying that in fact it is a wasted defender to have him in the legal position. In fact the whole point of the markers is now redundant given the markers inability to strike at the ball, or the tackled players right to tap the ball and run if there is no marker. Theoretically all defenders should retreat to the ten metre line. But how funny our game would look without the marker, a little how I feel it looks when the ball is kicked into touch or at the end of a set of six and there is no scrum just a lame handover.

 

If you think I only "agree now" on the futility of a marker on the goal-line, you haven`t been reading carefully enough. This might be an instance where a visual illustration is necessary for everyone to know what everyone else is saying.

In your second paragraph, there is no anomaly, if a defender is ahead of the goal-line and to the side of the mark, it`s still illegal by however tiny a margin. It is of course very hard for the ref to distinguish in such a tight corner.

Further to what Saint 1 has just posted, the markers are central to the patterns of RL play. Occasionally I hear someone advocating for only one marker to be allowed. As usual with thoughtless suggestions it`s to "open the game up". The result would be less intricate play, fewer options, less variety, less of a tactical contest between dummy-half and marker(s). Overall more homogeneity, terrible idea.

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18 minutes ago, Saint 1 said:

If you're on the tryline though there is no requirement to being square - you're just saying you have 13 defenders in the line rather than 11 plus 2 markers, so it's not really ignoring a law. Markers aren't redundant - it's two players who don't have to retreat the 10. Constantly playing the ball to someone who runs from dummy half would be awful to watch and that's what markers are there to stop; that isn't much different to stopping the tackling player tapping the ball and running. 

I agree with your first point, but with regards your second, the original role of the two markers was 1) for the first one to kind of form a mini(two-man) scrum to contest the ball when it was placed on the ground by striking with the foot and 2) the second marker to of course pick it up if it was won. The role of tackling players to stop them continually darting out of dummy half is the role they have assumed since their original role was abolished.

In fact correct me if I am wrong but with all this talk about dummy halves, memories come back to me of it being quite legal and proper practice for the tackled player to move forward after the play the ball and engage or even take the front marker out of the play. Quite legally. He would not have been considered to have done his job properly had he not done so. This may well still be legal but since there is no striking at the PTB anymore there is no need for the marker to stand that close. Any attempt to engage the front marker is now considered hindering the defence and a penalty.

So many of these things can be traced back to the union ruck, a player trying to leave the ruck can be held on to by the attacking team to prevent him from making a tackle in a similar way to how I just described how  the player playing the ball used to be able to engage the marker for the same purpose.

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28 minutes ago, Saint 1 said:

I think part of this is that the depth is concentrated in particular positions. Listening to pivots or coaches (i.e. on Wells' touch screen) is normally insightful enough. Most middle forwards have a much more defined role, and while they might have some variation, a lot of it is going to be consistent week-to-week. Weirdly a lot of coaches and pundits seem to be middle forwards! 

If you're on the tryline though there is no requirement to being square - you're just saying you have 13 defenders in the line rather than 11 plus 2 markers, so it's not really ignoring a law. Markers aren't redundant - it's two players who don't have to retreat the 10. Constantly playing the ball to someone who runs from dummy half would be awful to watch and that's what markers are there to stop; that isn't much different to stopping the tackling player tapping the ball and running. 

Historically the RL ruck is a rationalised version of the RU ruck so the foundational principles remain. The ball is played back from the mark in RL in the same way it is channelled back in the RU ruck. Hence, for the tackled player to routinely play the ball backwards with nothing in front of him is technically absurd. This was why tackled players used to be permitted to play the ball forward to themselves. It was a reflection that the ruck had not properly formed, an occasional occurrence.

When you see a player take a tap-penalty and move forward into open space it looks like a Touch Football runaround at the park. If this were standard after every play we would have far less of a real game. It would only acquire even a semblance of authenticity within 10m of the goal-line.

On the subject of the structure of the ruck very close to the goal-line, this puts the sort of pressure on the rulebook that, if anything, requires a stricter application than elsewhere on the field. And to retread a well-worn path, it graphically underlines the need for the ball to be played correctly.

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17 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

I agree with your first point, but with regards your second, the original role of the two markers was 1) for the first one to kind of form a mini(two-man) scrum to contest the ball when it was placed on the ground by striking with the foot and 2) the second marker to of course pick it up if it was won. The role of tackling players to stop them continually darting out of dummy half is the role they have assumed since their original role was abolished.

In fact correct me if I am wrong but with all this talk about dummy halves, memories come back to me of it being quite legal and proper practice for the tackled player to move forward after the play the ball and engage or even take the front marker out of the play. Quite legally. He would not have been considered to have done his job properly had he not done so. This may well still be legal but since there is no striking at the PTB anymore there is no need for the marker to stand that close. Any attempt to engage the front marker is now considered hindering the defence and a penalty.

So many of these things can be traced back to the union ruck, a player trying to leave the ruck can be held on to by the attacking team to prevent him from making a tackle in a similar way to how I just described how  the player playing the ball used to be able to engage the marker for the same purpose.

A quaint anachronism in the RFL rulebook, and still there the last time I looked, is that the second marker is labelled an acting-half, since his original purpose was to secure the ball should the first marker successfully strike for it.

If you look at old footage most times the first marker would just try and kick through to disrupt rather than get a clean strike back. And because the first marker could kick or strike presumably explains why the tackled player was permitted to fend or "take out" as you put it.

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Simple game ?

I'm still trying to work out why Dan Sarginson ran 30 metres along the ingoal to ground the ball at the back of the sticks for his Golden Point try last week.🤔🤨

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"We'll sell you a seat .... but you'll only need the edge of it!"

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4 hours ago, Tonka said:

"simple game" is a misnomer

 

9 hours ago, Oxford said:

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.

 

4 hours ago, Tonka said:

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. 

No it's very much a matter of the games being more different than similar and imagining they're the same.

It's like being Helery Hanley or a metre behind him. It looks small that metre  but just try catching it up! Go on, it's only a metre.


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

 

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8 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

A quaint anachronism in the RFL rulebook, and still there the last time I looked, is that the second marker is labelled an acting-half, since his original purpose was to secure the ball should the first marker successfully strike for it.

If you look at old footage most times the first marker would just try and kick through to disrupt rather than get a clean strike back. And because the first marker could kick or strike presumably explains why the tackled player was permitted to fend or "take out" as you put it.

After I got off here last night (2a.m. again) I was laying in bed thinking about how that mini-scrum, the play the ball, was another contest for the ball to go. The last great proponent over here was Ian Roberts, who I can recall leaning forward towering over the fellow playing the ball and although he must have had a reputation for it , it was incredible how often he pulled it off.

Yes first that mini-scrum and now the proper scrum are almost gone. I thought the game for a while there a few years ago was going to turn into American Football. Where each team would have five set plays, each dynamic and explosive in its own right, followed by the punt down field if not enough territory had been made. All the talk about the explosiveness of the Polynesians and theories about their lack of stamina gave this theory some credence for me. However American Football it ain`t and we seem to have veered away from that for good. And any claims of lack of stamina have proved to be nonsense.

For me the `invention` of the play the ball was one of the great strokes of genius, an incredible piece of ingenuity, but unless I am wrong it was born out of necessity. I was reading a while back that when the League first broke away from the Union for the first few games there was a proper scrum held at the completion of every tackle, so in the first few games there was like over a hundred scrums in each game.  The `founding fathers` realised this was not tenable and hence the play the ball, two-man scrum, was invented. I can almost see them sitting around a table coming up with this piece of brilliance. A eureka moment.

All this stuff should be taught in schools as part of your overhaul of the English education system. The four R`s. Reading, (W)ritng, (A)rithmetic and of course Rugby League.

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16 hours ago, Oxford said:

 

 

No it's very much a matter of the games being more different than similar and imagining they're the same.

It's like being Helery Hanley or a metre behind him. It looks small that metre  but just try catching it up! Go on, it's only a metre.

Hmm, not sure the points are mutually exclusive there.  Perhaps unfortunate I used the cross-code example. And if it were “simple” people would be able to pick it up quickly but often they don’t.  Same as any sport; even if you’ve got the physical attributes it takes a long time to tune in to the subtleties. 

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On 27/09/2020 at 22:44, Saint 1 said:

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! 

Had a look at the tapes, its hard to follow because it happens so fast but I get the gist of it. It certainly makes you appreciate how much planning goes into it, It would seem there are an almost endless number of combination of lines that can be run. So is the playmaker continually calling out plays to instruct which line for his runners to take ? would each play have a different name ? And I suppose that is what commentators refer to about playing what`s in front of you and varying from the play sheet.

Another thing that intrigues me is the line I hear about `stripping out defenders` and the different plays that teams use to drag in defenders so when they swing it out wide they have the overlap. 

I imagine it must one of the most enjoyable part of coaching planning these things on a white board . I gather some times there must be two or three set runs leading up to a big play.

One last thing there has been a debate raging about the charge down on another thread, as an ex- coach is the charge down just not considered worth the chance of conceding six again, I sometimes wonder whether just like the grubber through is usually telegraphed for a teammate(s) to be ready to stream through the defensive line ready to dive on the loose ball, how come the the same principle is not applied to the charge down. I understand that it is very hard to regather after a charge down because often they have their head bowed and arms raised and if the ball comes off at an odd angle it`s very difficult to change direction to dive on the ball. However if it was done with one or two team mates slightly trailing the bloke blocking the ball, so as to remain onside, they would be much better placed to dive on the rebounding ball. As is it seems most charge downs, if they occur at all, are when one bloke charges out of the line arms raised and head down and if he is lucky it ricochets off him 10 metres up field and if he is the first there to dive on it, if he`s lucky. However if it was a concerted effort there would be a greater chance of success.

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9 hours ago, The Rocket said:

After I got off here last night (2a.m. again) I was laying in bed thinking about how that mini-scrum, the play the ball, was another contest for the ball to go. The last great proponent over here was Ian Roberts, who I can recall leaning forward towering over the fellow playing the ball and although he must have had a reputation for it , it was incredible how often he pulled it off.

Yes first that mini-scrum and now the proper scrum are almost gone. I thought the game for a while there a few years ago was going to turn into American Football. Where each team would have five set plays, each dynamic and explosive in its own right, followed by the punt down field if not enough territory had been made. All the talk about the explosiveness of the Polynesians and theories about their lack of stamina gave this theory some credence for me. However American Football it ain`t and we seem to have veered away from that for good. And any claims of lack of stamina have proved to be nonsense.

For me the `invention` of the play the ball was one of the great strokes of genius, an incredible piece of ingenuity, but unless I am wrong it was born out of necessity. I was reading a while back that when the League first broke away from the Union for the first few games there was a proper scrum held at the completion of every tackle, so in the first few games there was like over a hundred scrums in each game.  The `founding fathers` realised this was not tenable and hence the play the ball, two-man scrum, was invented. I can almost see them sitting around a table coming up with this piece of brilliance. A eureka moment.

All this stuff should be taught in schools as part of your overhaul of the English education system. The four R`s. Reading, (W)ritng, (A)rithmetic and of course Rugby League.

When I said in relation to PTBs very close to the goal-line that it was hard for refs to distinguish whether defenders were offside in tight corners and with tiny margins involved, I nearly mentioned American Football. The reason for our refs` difficulty is that RL is fluid. In AF such calls can be made with greater reliability because the game stops after every play. If in RL the game paused after the completion of the tackle to allow the markers and defensive line to set, offside calls would be easy. 

This is why the "benefit of the doubt" principle is essential to good RL officiating. In the past 20 years, under media pressure, too many of your Aussie refs have gone on the fool`s errand of aiming for 100% accuracy, as though it were AF. It`s why they call so many phantom knock-ons. They`re obsessed with missing anything. In practice they`ve redefined a knock-on from "propelling the ball in a forward direction" to " a hint of a fumble or bobble in any direction". It`s becoming impossible in Aus for a player to dive on a loose ball without being called for a knock-on.

As you say, a scrum of some sort was formed after every tackle in 1895. There was an execrable article on NRL.com recently by senior reporter Brad Walter (doesn`t say much for the junior reporters) about Mike Stephenson`s call to abolish scrums. It quoted Harry Sewell of Leeds as saying at the time of the split "We want to do away with that scrummaging, pushing and thrusting game, which is not Football", and "The Football public does not pay to see a lot of scrummaging".

This was portrayed as Stephenson repeating a 125 year-old appeal, but the key phrase in that second quote is "a lot". Sewell was not arguing for abolition, just for a substantial reduction from the plethora that was then plaguing the game.

BTW, in relation to your 2 a.m. mini-scrum delirium. - Flying doctor calling Manning Valley. Keep the patient stable, we`ll be with you in a fortnight.

 

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On 29/09/2020 at 11:58, The Rocket said:

Had a look at the tapes, its hard to follow because it happens so fast but I get the gist of it. It certainly makes you appreciate how much planning goes into it, It would seem there are an almost endless number of combination of lines that can be run. So is the playmaker continually calling out plays to instruct which line for his runners to take ? would each play have a different name ? And I suppose that is what commentators refer to about playing what`s in front of you and varying from the play sheet.

Another thing that intrigues me is the line I hear about `stripping out defenders` and the different plays that teams use to drag in defenders so when they swing it out wide they have the overlap. 

I imagine it must one of the most enjoyable part of coaching planning these things on a white board . I gather some times there must be two or three set runs leading up to a big play.

One last thing there has been a debate raging about the charge down on another thread, as an ex- coach is the charge down just not considered worth the chance of conceding six again, I sometimes wonder whether just like the grubber through is usually telegraphed for a teammate(s) to be ready to stream through the defensive line ready to dive on the loose ball, how come the the same principle is not applied to the charge down. I understand that it is very hard to regather after a charge down because often they have their head bowed and arms raised and if the ball comes off at an odd angle it`s very difficult to change direction to dive on the ball. However if it was done with one or two team mates slightly trailing the bloke blocking the ball, so as to remain onside, they would be much better placed to dive on the rebounding ball. As is it seems most charge downs, if they occur at all, are when one bloke charges out of the line arms raised and head down and if he is lucky it ricochets off him 10 metres up field and if he is the first there to dive on it, if he`s lucky. However if it was a concerted effort there would be a greater chance of success.

Playmakers will call out plays and sets but a lot of the time this is structured/gameplanned specific to the opposition. Players will also have their own preferences for how they like the ball, so for example Taia is a good hole runner whereas Bentley wants earlier ball. Essentially each running line will have a different name, and then teams will also have specific structured sets, which are systems of running lines packed together. For example, from memory Saints' set from kick offs is:

First tackle is generally gonna be prop carries

Second tackle is someone from the short-side (generally second row from kick off) will run a sweep line towards the middle of the pitch with a middle forward running a hard line (and not getting the ball)

Third tackle is a middle carries the ball

Fourth and fifth tackle are a bit more situational but generally it's either another middle carries the ball and then the halfback will drop off a centre or a middle heading back towards the middle

Playing what is in front of you is something that still happens plenty, just in a different way. Any good play or structure involves reading the defence. If a play has two options to pass to and also an option to dummy and run yourself, you're playing what is in front of you by not pre-empting what option you hit and instead reacting to what the defence do. You also play what is in front of you as part of a structure. For example, the amateur team that I coach have the second rower carry the ball, followed by a spread play to the long-side. However, there is an override call, where if we spot a 3 v 2 on the short-side, that is where we will attack instead. Structures and plays can give you the freedom to spot and play what is in front of you.

Stripping off defenders means creating (or preserving) an overlap. For example, a 7 v 6 is still very difficult to score from. However, if each attacker does their job well with an effective running line, by the end of that you should hopefully have a 2 v 1 and that is far easier to execute.

On the charge-down discussion, coaches are generally a risk-averse bunch. It's easier for coaches to get the blame as a result of action/deviating from the norm than in-action. Most coaches would rather receive the ball from a kick on their own 20, rather than sometimes regather possession and sometimes have to defend a repeat set. Another point is that as an energy conservation strategy, generally there will only be one or two defenders responsible for kick pressure (normally first marker and A defender). If you wanted to put more bodies in the frame, you're asking them to do it at the end of a defensive set and it's generally going to be middle forwards - you would therefore have to reduce their work somewhere else to compensate. That is even ignoring the additional work of the chargedowns you fail to recover! 

 

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11 minutes ago, Saint 1 said:

Playmakers will call out plays and sets but a lot of the time this is structured/gameplanned specific to the opposition. Players will also have their own preferences for how they like the ball, so for example Taia is a good hole runner whereas Bentley wants earlier ball. Essentially each running line will have a different name, and then teams will also have specific structured sets, which are systems of running lines packed together. For example, from memory Saints' set from kick offs is:

First tackle is generally gonna be prop carries

Second tackle is someone from the short-side (generally second row from kick off) will run a sweep line towards the middle of the pitch with a middle forward running a hard line (and not getting the ball)

Third tackle is a middle carries the ball

Fourth and fifth tackle are a bit more situational but generally it's either another middle carries the ball and then the halfback will drop off a centre or a middle heading back towards the middle

Playing what is in front of you is something that still happens plenty, just in a different way. Any good play or structure involves reading the defence. If a play has two options to pass to and also an option to dummy and run yourself, you're playing what is in front of you by not pre-empting what option you hit and instead reacting to what the defence do. You also play what is in front of you as part of a structure. For example, the amateur team that I coach have the second rower carry the ball, followed by a spread play to the long-side. However, there is an override call, where if we spot a 3 v 2 on the short-side, that is where we will attack instead. Structures and plays can give you the freedom to spot and play what is in front of you.

Stripping off defenders means creating (or preserving) an overlap. For example, a 7 v 6 is still very difficult to score from. However, if each attacker does their job well with an effective running line, by the end of that you should hopefully have a 2 v 1 and that is far easier to execute.

On the charge-down discussion, coaches are generally a risk-averse bunch. It's easier for coaches to get the blame as a result of action/deviating from the norm than in-action. Most coaches would rather receive the ball from a kick on their own 20, rather than sometimes regather possession and sometimes have to defend a repeat set. Another point is that as an energy conservation strategy, generally there will only be one or two defenders responsible for kick pressure (normally first marker and A defender). If you wanted to put more bodies in the frame, you're asking them to do it at the end of a defensive set and it's generally going to be middle forwards - you would therefore have to reduce their work somewhere else to compensate. That is even ignoring the additional work of the chargedowns you fail to recover! 

 

Thanks for the detailed responses mate, I can read them at my leisure.

That last paragraph has really taken the wind out of my sails, 4 pages of arguing, I`ll tell U.P. to come off and have a breather he`s been on fire and must be knackered. Keep an eye out for further notifications. Regards Rocket.

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17 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

Thanks for the detailed responses mate, I can read them at my leisure.

That last paragraph has really taken the wind out of my sails, 4 pages of arguing, I`ll tell U.P. to come off and have a breather he`s been on fire and must be knackered. Keep an eye out for further notifications. Regards Rocket.

I was holding fire till you got a response to your charge down point. Basically I would endorse what Saint 1 says, except that, in my view, the second marker is generally best placed to get out and apply kick pressure, and I would never bring a player out from the line.

This means just one player making the attempt, but that doesn`t significantly reduce the chances of regathering a clean charge down since there`s usually nobody behind the kicker, even a forward would still be favourite. And if the kicker or one of his teammates were able to turn and beat their opponent to the ball, it would be tackle 6 handover, and a gain in territory. So, still an effective play. Once you remove the terror of conceding a repeat set, all the incentives are in favour of applying kick pressure by playing at the ball.

Some aspects of the above paragraph are influenced by whether the kicker is 1 or 2 out from the ruck. That`s all part of the tactical battle.

Your proposal yesterday of players supporting the charging player is tactically unwise for the reasons Saint 1 gives. Even with a rule change most attempts would be unsuccessful, so I would also add the negatives of having more players ahead of the ball when tackle 1 is complete after the kick return. This makes it hard to have any shape on tackles 2 and 3, and potentially disrupts the whole set.

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I have to say, this is the best thread that I have read on here in quite a while. 

Just my opinion, but the game, needs more discussion/input like this across all its media channels.

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Rugby League: Alive and Handling

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https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/the-godfathers-of-coaching-and-how-they-shaped-the-modern-game-20200709-p55adh.html

Bit of a read, but a few interesting things in there.

I remember Nathan Brown going to Warren Ryan once and asking " How do I get the players to respect me more Wok ?",  Ryan the ex-school teacher replied, " Well, stop bloody dressing like them for starters."  Ryan, always the disciplinarian.

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5 hours ago, The Rocket said:

https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/the-godfathers-of-coaching-and-how-they-shaped-the-modern-game-20200709-p55adh.html

Bit of a read, but a few interesting things in there.

I remember Nathan Brown going to Warren Ryan once and asking " How do I get the players to respect me more Wok ?",  Ryan the ex-school teacher replied, " Well, stop bloody dressing like them for starters."  Ryan, always the disciplinarian

One area that doesn`t get nearly enough examination is how the importance of the dummy-half has grown over the past 2 to 3 decades. I regard this role as one of the most difficult to master in the whole of sport. To have to read how the ruck is shaping, be slick and error-free off the ground, scan the defensive line in front, and communicate with your teammates behind, requires a special combination of head-down and head-up play. 

Gridiron players are justifiably credited with learning and implementing a complex playbook. But the RL players in key tactical positions have to call and execute their plays whilst everything is in motion.

One effective dummy-half play is the pass across the ruck. A dummy off the ground and jumping out the other way can lure naive markers to bite and open up space. But much more likely to pull the markers out is where the No. 9 jumps out one way then throws the pass back the other way. He has to angle his body to get the deception, then bring the pass right round in the opposite direction, which makes it tough to keep balance and avoid the pass going forward.

This play is decisive because, with the markers neutralized, an against-the-grain runner (full-back is a good option) can hit the hole behind the ruck.

BTW, is "against-the-grain" now referred to as "Out/In"?

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On 01/10/2020 at 00:53, unapologetic pedant said:

I was holding fire till you got a response to your charge down point. Basically I would endorse what Saint 1 says, except that, in my view, the second marker is generally best placed to get out and apply kick pressure, and I would never bring a player out from the line.

This means just one player making the attempt, but that doesn`t significantly reduce the chances of regathering a clean charge down since there`s usually nobody behind the kicker, even a forward would still be favourite. And if the kicker or one of his teammates were able to turn and beat their opponent to the ball, it would be tackle 6 handover, and a gain in territory. So, still an effective play. Once you remove the terror of conceding a repeat set, all the incentives are in favour of applying kick pressure by playing at the ball.

Some aspects of the above paragraph are influenced by whether the kicker is 1 or 2 out from the ruck. That`s all part of the tactical battle.

Your proposal yesterday of players supporting the charging player is tactically unwise for the reasons Saint 1 gives. Even with a rule change most attempts would be unsuccessful, so I would also add the negatives of having more players ahead of the ball when tackle 1 is complete after the kick return. This makes it hard to have any shape on tackles 2 and 3, and potentially disrupts the whole set.

My response was based on the premise that there was not going to be any changes in the rule. Following that, how would we proceed in the pursuit of making an effective charge down attempt.

Given the difficulty  the player making the charge down (C.D.) has in gathering the ball himself, due to questions of momentum and change in direction to gather a rebounding ball, my suggestion was to put more than one person on the attempt. Like the grubber.

Saint1`s points about Coaches attitudes towards risk/return pretty well nullified the idea of it being used as a regular tactic. Even with a rule change. 

However I go back to my original post on this thread, 3 to go, 5 points behind, attacking team 5th tackle, 35metres out ready for the kick, down field. We`ve seen it many, many times over the years. How can the trailing team get the ball back in decent field position for one last shot at snatching the game. In fact I would suggest putting in two `regatherers` as well as the player making the charge down. This is after all the last roll of the dice.

There are many tactics a kicking team can use to give the kicker space, like the pass back across the ruck to another kicker, we see it with the field goal, or like you say 2nd from the ruck, although I always find that tactic fraught due to the extra time for the ball to arrive and the consequent  time for the defending team to be to be on him.

 

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3 hours ago, The Rocket said:

My response was based on the premise that there was not going to be any changes in the rule. Following that, how would we proceed in the pursuit of making an effective charge down attempt.

Given the difficulty  the player making the charge down (C.D.) has in gathering the ball himself, due to questions of momentum and change in direction to gather a rebounding ball, my suggestion was to put more than one person on the attempt. Like the grubber.

Saint1`s points about Coaches attitudes towards risk/return pretty well nullified the idea of it being used as a regular tactic. Even with a rule change. 

However I go back to my original post on this thread, 3 to go, 5 points behind, attacking team 5th tackle, 35metres out ready for the kick, down field. We`ve seen it many, many times over the years. How can the trailing team get the ball back in decent field position for one last shot at snatching the game. In fact I would suggest putting in two `regatherers` as well as the player making the charge down. This is after all the last roll of the dice.

There are many tactics a kicking team can use to give the kicker space, like the pass back across the ruck to another kicker, we see it with the field goal, or like you say 2nd from the ruck, although I always find that tactic fraught due to the extra time for the ball to arrive and the consequent  time for the defending team to be to be on him.

 

If your "trailing players" idea assumes the current back-to-1 rule continues, the risk/reward balance is overwhelmingly against. 

And the same applies to your last few minutes scenario. In fact, teams are even more reluctant to risk losing what could be their final set of the game by failing to regather after a charge down. And if they try to make a tackle on the kicker they`re even more wary of appearing to play at the ball for the same reason.

Don`t take umbrage, but your 3rd paragraph makes no sense whatsoever. Changing the rule, not wiping the tackle count, transforms the risk/reward calibration - turns everything around.

BTW, your 4th paragraph indicates you must think you`re still on your "charge down" thread. That`s where your "original post" was. Entirely understandable. I`m feeling a bit shell-shocked too.

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10 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

If your "trailing players" idea assumes the current back-to-1 rule continues, the risk/reward balance is overwhelmingly against. 

And the same applies to your last few minutes scenario. In fact, teams are even more reluctant to risk losing what could be their final set of the game by failing to regather after a charge down. And if they try to make a tackle on the kicker they`re even more wary of appearing to play at the ball for the same reason.

Don`t take umbrage, but your 3rd paragraph makes no sense whatsoever. Changing the rule, not wiping the tackle count, transforms the risk/reward calibration - turns everything around.

BTW, your 4th paragraph indicates you must think you`re still on your "charge down" thread. That`s where your "original post" was. Entirely understandable. I`m feeling a bit shell-shocked too.

Forget that second sentence of third paragraph, it`s funny because I stuck it on as an afterthought ? 

Smart bit of heads up dummy half play by Tedesco to get the penalty tonight, and fancy a charge down and it goes upstairs for a Captains Challenge. Wouldn`t have mattered if they`d only listen to us. I`ll have a read of your dummy half post soon and get back to you. Ooroo.

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