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EastLondonMike

Matty Johns Podcast - New Rules / Attacking RL

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Listening to a recent episode of the Matty Johns podcast with Blocker and Paul Kent, and they discuss the rule changes from this years NRL and the positive impact on attacking play, and subsequent impact the rules have had on structured attacking plays and the wrestle around the ruck.

With the standards in the NRL seemingly progressing once again, partly off the back of how teams and players have adapted to the new rule changes and how the rule changes favour the skills and abilities of attacking players, and the standards in SL (IMO) further stagnating, i wonder if we are heading towards another 1982 / 1997 moment where the next time we play Australia or NZ we will once again be exposed for being further behind the Southern hemisphere teams. And the process will once again begin on ow are are going to "match the Aussies".

I know plenty of people have enjoyed SL this year, and i know plenty also don't look too favourably on the NRL, but i just wondered what peoples thoughts are. 

I look at the quality of player in both comps and i worry for England at next years World Cup.

The link to the podcast in question can be found here, if you wanted a listen. https://open.spotify.com/episode/01VUruNh4jgYB6XKiaQIe0?si=C9zQZXmoRVi-OTbvo-Uppw

 

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2 minutes ago, EastLondonMike said:

Listening to a recent episode of the Matty Johns podcast with Blocker and Paul Kent, and they discuss the rule changes from this years NRL and the positive impact on attacking play, and subsequent impact the rules have had on structured attacking plays and the wrestle around the ruck.

With the standards in the NRL seemingly progressing once again, partly off the back of how teams and players have adapted to the new rule changes and how the rule changes favour the skills and abilities of attacking players, and the standards in SL (IMO) further stagnating, i wonder if we are heading towards another 1982 / 1997 moment where the next time we play Australia or NZ we will once again be exposed for being further behind the Southern hemisphere teams. And the process will once again begin on ow are are going to "match the Aussies".

I know plenty of people have enjoyed SL this year, and i know plenty also don't look too favourably on the NRL, but i just wondered what peoples thoughts are. 

I look at the quality of player in both comps and i worry for England at next years World Cup.

The link to the podcast in question can be found here, if you wanted a listen. https://open.spotify.com/episode/01VUruNh4jgYB6XKiaQIe0?si=C9zQZXmoRVi-OTbvo-Uppw

 

I don't think we (that is those) who watch both the NRL and SL comps needs it pointing out that in comparison the NRL has adapted to the new rules much moreso in a positve manner than we have up here, I believe whatever gap that had been narrowed has suddenly become wider again and it will tell in the acid test of the International arena, not only will it have a positive effect on Australia, it will also benefit those teams that are in the majority NRL player's.

Thanks for the link ELM, I will listen to it later.

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7 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

Thanks for the link ELM, I will listen to it later.

Its only really the first 10-15mins or so, but interesting to hear them talk about the structured attacking plays, and their views on that.


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7 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

I don’t think it’s the rules driving a massive wedge between the quality on offer here and there. 

I was being nice Hela, yes it is much deeper just compare the talent that has come through in the last 5 years and playing regular First grade in both comps.

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I personally don't think there has been much of an increase in the overall quality of the NRL,yes it's superior to Superleague but the new rules have fundamentally changed the game,I'm not sure for the best.

Rugby League at its best has to have a fairly equal balance between attack & defence and personally I think the new rules have tipped it too far towards the attacking side.

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12 minutes ago, Davo5 said:

I personally don't think there has been much of an increase in the overall quality of the NRL,yes it's superior to Superleague but the new rules have fundamentally changed the game,I'm not sure for the best.

Rugby League at its best has to have a fairly equal balance between attack & defence and personally I think the new rules have tipped it too far towards the attacking side.

The wrestle was killing League over here, making sure players were facing the wrong way at the end of the tackle, putting them on their backs, dragging them backwards, all to gain time for the defending team to reset their defence. Melbourne were the worst offenders and for the first time I can remember I was turning games off.

No mate , I have to disagree, the game has improved as a spectacle considerably. As a long term RL watcher the quality on display this year has contained just about every thing I could ask for in a top level sport. Tough, skillful, fast.

Averaging about 3.5 tries per team per match doesn`t suggest that defences have become too porous. That means that on average your team is scoring a try every 25 or so minutes. I don`t think that`s too much. I find with sports like basket ball points are too cheap and soccer just not enough goals. I think the League have got it just about right.

Interesting though,  Penrith`s  `lift and drag` back has shown that coaches are still looking for ways to slow the PTB down.

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I've noticed the gang tackles are disapearing and more teams using one on the ball and one round the legs technique, especially Penrith, 

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I think ultimately given the context of the season and the fact rule changes were thrust upon the NRL after two 'normal' rounds had been played gives a limited view of the potential long-term impact of said rule changes on the game. Given a full off-season coaches will analyse the new game with a fine tooth comb and new tactics and strategies will be developed to combat new styles of play. 

There's a good little article below analysing the rule changes below that looks at the impacts on key stats throughout the league as well as some of the rule-specific tactics that have been developed over the season.

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

Personally, I have definitely enjoyed this season and some impacts of the 6-again however as I previously mentioned I think next season will be the real litmus test moving forward. I have some severe concerns the next set of coaching strategies developed as a result of the 6-again will be detrimental to the spectacle of the game and these changes will pressure clubs to emphasise the 'wrestle' and conservative tactics such (e.g. reducing offloads) more than ever before. I fear the game may trend further toward touch football where ball handling and play-the-ball speed are even more integral with fitness becoming the single-most important quality in players. Hopefully  my concerns are misplaced however at the end of the day each club wants to win above all else so the tactics that deliver results will be adopted, irrespective of the unintended consequences for how the game looks as a whole.

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I think smart coaches and players will always find a way of bending the rules or incorporating new techniques to get an edge. I also think next season the defence's in the NRL will adapt as the attack has, and we wont see so many of those big score lines, but without impacting on the style of attack we have seen.

I think theres a balance to be had with structured play and the 'play what you see' style. 

The quality on display in this seasons NRL has been awesome.

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On the OP point about international competitiveness, I’d imagine the new rules put England at a disadvantage.

Bennett’s England almost matched Australia at their own arm wrestle game in the last WC.

You feel the new rules will suit Australia’s more athletic players - the Addo-Carrs - more than England.

Might not be plain sailing for England at the World Cup. Samoa has some very tasty players, for one.

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7 hours ago, EastLondonMike said:

I think smart coaches and players will always find a way of bending the rules or incorporating new techniques to get an edge. I also think next season the defence's in the NRL will adapt as the attack has, and we wont see so many of those big score lines, but without impacting on the style of attack we have seen.

I think theres a balance to be had with structured play and the 'play what you see' style. 

The quality on display in this seasons NRL has been awesome.

 

7 hours ago, UTK said:

I think ultimately given the context of the season and the fact rule changes were thrust upon the NRL after two 'normal' rounds had been played gives a limited view of the potential long-term impact of said rule changes on the game. Given a full off-season coaches will analyse the new game with a fine tooth comb and new tactics and strategies will be developed to combat new styles of play. 

There's a good little article below analysing the rule changes below that looks at the impacts on key stats throughout the league as well as some of the rule-specific tactics that have been developed over the season.

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

Personally, I have definitely enjoyed this season and some impacts of the 6-again however as I previously mentioned I think next season will be the real litmus test moving forward. I have some severe concerns the next set of coaching strategies developed as a result of the 6-again will be detrimental to the spectacle of the game and these changes will pressure clubs to emphasise the 'wrestle' and conservative tactics such (e.g. reducing offloads) more than ever before. I fear the game may trend further toward touch football where ball handling and play-the-ball speed are even more integral with fitness becoming the single-most important quality in players. Hopefully  my concerns are misplaced however at the end of the day each club wants to win above all else so the tactics that deliver results will be adopted, irrespective of the unintended consequences for how the game looks as a whole.

The better teams already have started to bend these rules. It's already known that 1) a ruck infringement and set restart on tackles 1 - 2 is now less costly than last year 2) only two-thirds as many set restarts are given in the second half as in the first.

What does this mean for coaching tactics? First of all, you can afford to slow the PTB down more in the second half. The bigger implication though is that you should never ever concede a quick PTB on tackles 1 or 2. If you do, it's probably better to restart with a super slow PTB than try and defend a quick ruck - you already see this quite a bit, where teams are almost deliberately giving away set restarts rather than defend with no markers. Finally it means the same may be true inside the 20m near their tryline as it means the penalty 2 points isn't an option.

Evidence of this willingness to concede set restarts and game the system lies in the fact that of the 3 of the top 4 teams were also in the top 4 for set restarts conceded. These teams also conceded more set restarts than they gained, despite the fact that they'll have got the most quick PTBs and conceded the fewest quick PTBs defensively out of everyone (by virtue of being the best teams).

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2 hours ago, Man of Kent said:

On the OP point about international competitiveness, I’d imagine the new rules put England at a disadvantage.

Bennett’s England almost matched Australia at their own arm wrestle game in the last WC.

You feel the new rules will suit Australia’s more athletic players - the Addo-Carrs - more than England.

Might not be plain sailing for England at the World Cup. Samoa has some very tasty players, for one.

I totally agree with that Kenty, I  too thought that Englands best hope to beat Oz was with the wrestle and I thought Bennett was on the right track, at least in the WC.

When I heard your new Coach Wane talking earlier in the year about out attacking the Aussies it set of alarm bells for me. Any one who loses the ball in their own half against Oz is going to be made to pay.

The best way to beat Oz now is with the monster mobile forward pack with minimal errors like we`ve seen with the Tongans, but keeping the errors down is crucial.

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1 hour ago, The Rocket said:

I totally agree with that Kenty, I  too thought that Englands best hope to beat Oz was with the wrestle and I thought Bennett was on the right track, at least in the WC.

When I heard your new Coach Wane talking earlier in the year about out attacking the Aussies it set of alarm bells for me. Any one who loses the ball in their own half against Oz is going to be made to pay.

The best way to beat Oz now is with the monster mobile forward pack with minimal errors like we`ve seen with the Tongans, but keeping the errors down is crucial.

Shaun Wane’s idea of attack might not mean what we imagine! His Wigan sides would practically clothesline their own grandmothers to stop a try!! Gritty. 

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9 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

Shaun Wane’s idea of attack might not mean what we imagine! His Wigan sides would practically clothesline their own grandmothers to stop a try!! Gritty. 

Not quite sure what `clotheslining poor grandma` means, but it certainly sounds pretty drastic !  I like it !!

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The NRL needs to decide what they want the game to look like as a spectacle.  Wanting to see more attacking rugby is one thing, but there are often side effects once coaches adapt. There's some talk of reducing the number of players on the field to 12 or even 11.  That would create space but it could also mean we see a lot more barge-over tries rather than necessarily long-range efforts.  

In terms of internationals, anything that makes the game easier for attacking teams/encourages lots of ball movement will inevitably benefit Australia compared to GB - they have far better playmakers and better and bigger athletes out wide.  Its just a function of the game.  Union is competitive at international level is because the game is based around competing for and controlling possession. A team with a good scrum and lineout can hold its own against a team with vastly superior backs because they can force a game to stay tightly controlled. With RL forcing close to parity in possession that just can't happen.

My own view is that we need to focus on spectacle.  Even a lower 'quality' SL can still be highly entertaining if it encourages expansive play and long-range tries.  

One change I'd like to see is no more than 2 players allowed in a tackle outside your own 10m. It would reduce wrestling as trying to hold someone up or turn them over with only two players would be harder, and higher risk of someone getting away if they're flailing around trying to 'gain control' rather than just knock someone down. It would also stop that horrible third man coming in when an attacking player is close to held.  People will argue that teams will march downfield easier, which is true to a point, but it would also change tackling technique and make it more about stopping a player than stopping the next play. 

I'm sure coaches would find a way round, but one other thing is that I don't think current coaches should have a say on rule changes.  Listen to their opinions but do not give them control.  That's because regardless of what they say, coaches do not really care about spectacle - they care about winning, and being able to control the outcome of games.  They'll always always push against changes which reduce their ability to control the game.

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In recent years SL players have been "playing" the ball faster than in the NRL not through any good play that earned them an advantage in the tackle and ruck, but because they`re not required to play the ball correctly. This ought to be factored in when assessing the effects of quicker ruck speeds in both countries resulting from 6-again.

Depressing to still see people dismiss good, intelligent tackling technique as "wrestling". 

If your sole interest from the point of contact is that the ball should be back in play as quickly as possible, I would suggest watching a game of Touch Football, and imagine if the touch were replaced with a big hit. That`s what RL will be reduced to if we don`t start to understand and value the complexity of the contest in the tackle and ruck.

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Rugby league did OK in the 80's and 90's before the tackle control technique(wrestle) came into the game, but maybe that's because  the 5 mètre defense rule didn't allow the game to be too fast either. 

I think the game in Australia is probably at the right speed now, who remembers the days of one marker and no wrestle a good few years ago? Or the rolling unlimited substitions? That was like touch and pass. 

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6 hours ago, BrisbaneRhino said:

The NRL needs to decide what they want the game to look like as a spectacle.  Wanting to see more attacking rugby is one thing, but there are often side effects once coaches adapt. There's some talk of reducing the number of players on the field to 12 or even 11.  That would create space but it could also mean we see a lot more barge-over tries rather than necessarily long-range efforts.  

In terms of internationals, anything that makes the game easier for attacking teams/encourages lots of ball movement will inevitably benefit Australia compared to GB - they have far better playmakers and better and bigger athletes out wide.  Its just a function of the game.  Union is competitive at international level is because the game is based around competing for and controlling possession. A team with a good scrum and lineout can hold its own against a team with vastly superior backs because they can force a game to stay tightly controlled. With RL forcing close to parity in possession that just can't happen.

My own view is that we need to focus on spectacle.  Even a lower 'quality' SL can still be highly entertaining if it encourages expansive play and long-range tries.  

One change I'd like to see is no more than 2 players allowed in a tackle outside your own 10m. It would reduce wrestling as trying to hold someone up or turn them over with only two players would be harder, and higher risk of someone getting away if they're flailing around trying to 'gain control' rather than just knock someone down. It would also stop that horrible third man coming in when an attacking player is close to held.  People will argue that teams will march downfield easier, which is true to a point, but it would also change tackling technique and make it more about stopping a player than stopping the next play. 

I'm sure coaches would find a way round, but one other thing is that I don't think current coaches should have a say on rule changes.  Listen to their opinions but do not give them control.  That's because regardless of what they say, coaches do not really care about spectacle - they care about winning, and being able to control the outcome of games.  They'll always always push against changes which reduce their ability to control the game.

Lot in there. As far as paragraph three goes, I was saying this the other day anyone who came to see Super League would see fast open League with plenty of hits and action, the problem for Super League comes though when you play teams made up of players out of the NRL. Playing them on a more regular basis may go some way in remedying this.

I can understand your thinking behind two tacklers, would be interesting to see how it worked in practice.

As far as coaches and adapting goes, take Melbourne, all that nonsense they were going on with in the tackle had nothing to do with `tackle technique` and all about controlling the speed of the game. I seriously thought they would flop this year when they changed the rule regarding restart, and arguably they got rid of all that nonsense and they`re a better team. Somebody on this page said they still give away more restarts than other teams, so they are still pushing the boundaries but at least it isn`t the eyesore that it was. And they are playing that real aggressive attacking football now. That is summed up in the third sentence of your last paragraph.

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18 hours ago, The Rocket said:

The wrestle was killing League over here, making sure players were facing the wrong way at the end of the tackle, putting them on their backs, dragging them backwards, all to gain time for the defending team to reset their defence. 

Interesting though,  Penrith`s  `lift and drag` back has shown that coaches are still looking for ways to slow the PTB down.

If coaches continue looking for ways to make it harder for the opposition to score, something more radical will eventually be needed. How about banning defenders from holding the ball-carrier. If we still want contact, we could reintroduce the shoulder-charge. Human pinball. None of that nasty "wrestling".

If that doesn`t open up the game enough, we could have a rule requiring defenders to stand still. Only the team in possession would be allowed to move. That would certainly get rid of all the "wrestling".

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11 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

 

As far as coaches and adapting goes, take Melbourne, all that nonsense they were going on with in the tackle had nothing to do with `tackle technique` and all about controlling the speed of the game. I seriously thought they would flop this year when they changed the rule regarding restart, and arguably they got rid of all that nonsense and they`re a better team. Somebody on this page said they still give away more restarts than other teams, so they are still pushing the boundaries but at least it isn`t the eyesore that it was. And they are playing that real aggressive attacking football now. That is summed up in the third sentence of your last paragraph.

Watch again the Storm`s attacking demolition of the Cowboys in the 2017 GF. That`s the main reason why they were and remain successful. Not because of "all that nonsense".

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5 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

Watch again the Storm`s attacking demolition of the Cowboys in the 2017 GF. That`s the main reason why they were and remain successful. Not because of "all that nonsense".

Tries were trending downwards, people were booing the Storm at games, Channel 9 were threatening to walk unless the game was made more attractive and you`re telling me that everything was fine. 

 I gather that you think that if their wrestle tactics were adopted across the whole game that coaches would find a way to beat it, I think that you would find a lot of people wouldn`t stick around to find out. Perhaps our free to air broadcaster wouldn`t have either, that would be clever, we could be like you with just one broadcast partner telling us how much they think our game would be worth, real bloody clever.

Rugby League is in the entertainment game, your defending the Storms `intelligent` defence is no different to the knobs over at union telling us about the beauty and the technicalities of the scrum, meanwhile people are turning off the telly.

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30 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

Tries were trending downwards, people were booing the Storm at games, Channel 9 were threatening to walk unless the game was made more attractive and you`re telling me that everything was fine. 

 I gather that you think that if their wrestle tactics were adopted across the whole game that coaches would find a way to beat it, I think that you would find a lot of people wouldn`t stick around to find out. Perhaps our free to air broadcaster wouldn`t have either, that would be clever, we could be like you with just one broadcast partner telling us how much they think our game would be worth, real bloody clever.

Rugby League is in the entertainment game, your defending the Storms `intelligent` defence is no different to the knobs over at union telling us about the beauty and the technicalities of the scrum, meanwhile people are turning off the telly.

I`ve watched plenty of Storm games. I do not detect anything unique in their tackle technique that would warrant the label "wrestling". Instead I`ve seen them playing more expansive, attacking football than most of their rivals. Particularly from deep, using the most exciting back three in the comp.

Honestly don`t know what you`re looking at. The Sydney media must have planted an auto-suggestion trigger in your mind. You`ve heard them prattling about "wrestling" and "The Wrestle" in a Storm context so often, that now every time you see purple you think "wrestle".

Another game that came to mind was the 64 points they put on Parra, and the manner they did it, at the Brisbane Magic Weekend last year. This, of course, like the 2017 GF was before 6-again. Wrestling was not the key feature of that performance.

The fact that Bellamy can turn Papenhuyzen (a player unwanted by other clubs for being too small) into a worthy successor to Slater is far more indicative of his coaching philosophy than any wrestling tactics.

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