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The Rocket

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12 hours ago, The Rocket said:

 

You can forget about your proposal to delay the `held `call, hoping for the miracle offload, it ain`t coming. I watched that game tonight and the first thing that every defender goes for is to wrap the ball up. Ball and top half first, then maybe someone round the legs.

I don`t understand you second paragraph. First sentence o.k. Second sentence, you mean to tell me they have a law that specifies every single thing that you can do.

 

 

 

 

One of the criteria requiring the ref to call "Held" is when the ball-carrier cannot part with the ball. Crucially, the law does not require a call of "Held" when the ball-carrier has no inclination to part with the ball. If that were the criterion, the call would be instantly upon contact, and one-out settler hit-ups would automatically result in gains of territory and quick PTBs. Thus it would reward lack of ambition and creativity.

What you`re describing is good defence. It`s up to the team in possession to find a response. If instead we nullify good defence by changing rules and interpretations, we remove the incentives for teams in possession to be ambitious and creative.

I posted the reference to the CNK instance because it was a perfect example of what you seem to object to, i.e one of the back 3 collects a kick, goes into contact, gets stood up and driven back. There was a similar occasion a couple of weeks before in Storm/Eels where a kick was taken by Vunivalu who, rather than just rumble forward into the chasers, passed to Papenhuyzen, who ran a great line and raced away up-field.

Hence, the Storm`s ambition and creativity got them to half-way, and the Raiders` lack of ambition and creativity had them back over their own goal-line. That`s how it should be. Premature "Held" calls blur the line between good and poor play. They incentivize negativity, particularly from deep field position, and early in the tackle count.

On your legal point. Written constitutions and charters by no means prescribe everything. They provide a core of basic rights, entitlements. That`s why I drew the analogy with the obligations of the RL tackle and ruck. The most famous examples are the U.S. First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, assembly etc, or the Second Amendment right to bear arms. The reverse approach is to assume a citizen is naturally free to do these things unless forbade by common law or statute.

 

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1 hour ago, The Rocket said:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-20/nrl-set-restarts-ruck-infringements-grand-final-2020-recap/12778854

Seems that tries from scrums have increased, but offloads in general play decreased.

Quite a good article. My one cavil is that it was not "unanticipated" that set-restarts would lead to fewer offloads.

The general pattern of attacking play in RL 2020 is that teams only get creative and take risks when they are expressly attempting to score. And they only expressly attempt to score from good field position. From deep field position, they concentrate on gaining territory. And with a 10m offside line, premature "Held" calls, and an unchallenged tackle 6 kick, gaining ground requires minimal creativity and almost no risk-taking.

That this trend is exacerbated by more possessions of 7,8,9+ tackles should surprise no one.

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1 hour ago, unapologetic pedant said:

Quite a good article. My one cavil is that it was not "unanticipated" that set-restarts would lead to fewer offloads.

The general pattern of attacking play in RL 2020 is that teams only get creative and take risks when they are expressly attempting to score. And they only expressly attempt to score from good field position. From deep field position, they concentrate on gaining territory. And with a 10m offside line, premature "Held" calls, and an unchallenged tackle 6 kick, gaining ground requires minimal creativity and almost no risk-taking.

That this trend is exacerbated by more possessions of 7,8,9+ tackles should surprise no one.

While it may be true that the law changes have affected the way that teams play, there also has to be a consideration to ability and performance in these matters.

According to NRL.com team stats there were an average of 9.4 offloads per team per game in 2020 which is down from 9.8 in 2019 (a change of -0.4 per game or -5%).

But then when you look at the teams who finished in the top 6 this year, their offloads per game increased from 9.2 in 2019 to 9.9 in 2020 with 4 of the top 6 individually making more offloads (a change of +0.7 per game or +7%).

Then, when you turn to the bottom 6 in 2020, their offloads per game fell from 10.5 per game in 2019 to 8.8 in 2020 (a change of -1.7 per game or -16%). 

I would argue that the change in offloads this year reflects the performance of the teams more than the adoption of the new laws. 

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1 hour ago, Dunbar said:

 

I would argue that the change in offloads this year reflects the performance of the teams more than the adoption of the new laws. 

I would say any rule change, like longer periods of possession or the change from 5 to 10m offside line, that makes it easier to gain ground without taking risks will logically suppress risk-taking. Even if only discernible by offload counts to a decimal point, rather than in the general mode of play that we notice.

You took me to task months ago for saying there was a perception the current NRL was risk-averse. This wasn`t in comparison with the UK game, but with what I remember of the Winfield Cup when I first saw it in the 80s. Unless the memory is deceptive, I`m sure most teams looked for, and made, more offloads in deeper field positions back then.

It`s certainly the case that any difference due to rule changes is dwarfed by the choices coaches and players make on how they want to play.

Sacking coaches during the season didn`t used to be a feature of the Australian game in the way it was here. Maybe because of their huge Leagues clubs making plenty of money off the field they could afford to be more imaginative and long-term in their thinking. Over here clubs` thought the only way to be profitable was to get people through the turnstiles by winning games. The scrutiny and pressure the media now put NRL coaches under is bound to lead to increased inhibitions on the field.

I assume those figures are for successful offloads. To reliably assess risk-taking between higher and lower placed teams, we would also need figures for attempted offloads.

 

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