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A WAY OUT OF THE HEAD CONTACT ISSUE


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There are 2 major issues with the current game

  1. The lack of creativity/entertainment
  2. How to reduce the threat of concussions

Im sort of just musing here and writing as I think, so bear with me

Watching the clampdown in the NRL and trying to think forward about where the game is heading, where will we find ourselves in 2 or 5 years time, what will the game look like?

It strikes me that the major issues are with tackling technique (I know, you know!) but why after 126 years has the tackling technique become a problem? The answer is partly because medical science can now measure the damage and pinpoint the causes but it’s also to do with the changing rules of the game. On this issue I can track back to the change to a 10m retreat by defences at the play the ball. That has allowed for greater impacts and collisions in the tackle, it also allows the ball carrier the chance to carry at greater speed leaving less reaction time for the defender to adjust and thus getting the contact wrong, most often resulting in contact with the head.

Now maybe it’s just me and a rose tinted view of the game of yesteryear but when defences only retreated 5m they weren’t forced to meet attacking players torso to torso and lock up the ball, effect a wrestle etc. We had less contact to the head because a higher percentage of tackles were made around the legs which often dropped the attacker without the need for a second defender preventing an offload but even when another defender was needed there wasn’t the impact and forces in play that we see today.

If we went back to a 5m retreat do you think we could see a game with a much reduced incidence of head contact and trauma?

I know we had some very tough players back then who went over the top with elbows and forearms to the face of their opponents but a mix of the stronger rules, more professional players/clubs and greater video coverage of such incidences have seen that type of player all but completely removed from the game.

As a result of going back to a 5m retreat we would have to develop players with the ability to break down defences with clever play and good handling. When teams cannot rely on 5 drives making them 40m to 50m from their own try line they will need players with ability to open up a defensive line and get behind the opposition. We might begin to see the reemergence of players like Steve Norton, Alex Murphy, Andy Gregory, Mick Crane, Harry Pinner, Tony Myler etc. That in turn might help us get away from the carbon copy block and shift plays that pervade the game from top to bottom and which have robbed Coaches of their ability to be innovative.

Im not someone who yearns for everything how it used to be but a simple unwinding of the 10m retreat rule might just allow the game to find its way out of the downward concussion spiral that it currently finds itself in.

 

Edited by OMEGA
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To some people the game will never be has good as past years/ eras. I see more fantastic skills and tries scored than years ago. When you watch past matches you really see that it wasn't as good as you thought. My advise stop living in the past and enjoy the present. 

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3 hours ago, ELBOWSEYE said:

To some people the game will never be has good as past years/ eras. I see more fantastic skills and tries scored than years ago. When you watch past matches you really see that it wasn't as good as you thought. My advise stop living in the past and enjoy the present. 

That’s all well and good but it’s not really relevant to why I’ve made the suggestion!

I wouldn’t and I’m not advocating a return to how the game was played as a whole just perhaps the one rule change that might have an impact on how teams are forced to make tackles under the 10m rule.

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Tackle below the shoulders, anything above instant red, the coaches would soon coach the higher tackles from the game, sure there would be a lot of reds early on but the same happened with the shoulder charge and 2 footed tackles in soccer. Both are now eridicated.

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I don't agree with the base premise.  There is no lack of creativity/entertainment.

I have been watching the Melbourne and Panthers games this morning and they are full of creative play, great tries and skill.  If we cannot accept this as reality and still say there is no entertainment then we will never be happy.

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1. Still as entertaining as it was when I first started watching, 1979. Otherwise I wouldn't want to watch.

2. Helmets.😉😕

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12 minutes ago, OMEGA said:

That’s all well and good but it’s not really relevant to why I’ve made the suggestion!

I wouldn’t and I’m not advocating a return to how the game was played as a whole just perhaps the one rule change that might have an impact on how teams are forced to make tackles under the 10m rule.

The response was to your view on lack of creativity. But to take your 5m rule (I played mostly in that period) the attack would stand deeper to create the space so it would negate the shorter gap you think it would create. Also the shots to the head were far more prevalent then so it did not force players to tackle torso to torso. 

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15 minutes ago, ELBOWSEYE said:

The response was to your view on lack of creativity. But to take your 5m rule (I played mostly in that period) the attack would stand deeper to create the space so it would negate the shorter gap you think it would create. Also the shots to the head were far more prevalent then so it did not force players to tackle torso to torso. 

I agree that attacking teams would stand deeper but I don’t agree that it would negate the benefit of reducing the retreat to 5m. 

I addressed the high shots issue in the original post, it was foul play back then pure and simple but we have a stricter, more professional game now which is policed by more on field officials and multiple camera angles picking up everything.

Again I’ll stress that I’m not advocating a complete return to how the game was played back in the 80s just a change to the 10m rule to steer the game away from the concussion iceberg that it’s heading toward at the moment.

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28 minutes ago, yipyee said:

Tackle below the shoulders, anything above instant red, the coaches would soon coach the higher tackles from the game, sure there would be a lot of reds early on but the same happened with the shoulder charge and 2 footed tackles in soccer. Both are now eridicated.

I made this point in an earlier thread. By lowering the limit of what constitutes a legal tackle from collar bones to below the pectoral muscles (the solar plexus area), the risks will be reduced significantly.

This will force tacklers to bend their backs in a head on tackle (just as entertaining from the spectators point of view) and reduce the likelihood of the head being struck. 

When tackling from behind, I'd say your not allowed to swing an arm to reach over the shoulder of the ball carrier, but have to tackle around the ribs or elbows, to clamp the ball.

For the spectators (my) sake, it will still look like modern day Rugby League, not some heavy duty version of touch and pass. 

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I do get fed up with this thing about ‘ living in the past ‘ getting threw out all the time in all kinds of debates around issues in the game now . I think not everything in the game now is necessarily a positive progression and we can debate that , and I don’t think by definition everything in the ‘ past ‘ , whatever that means , is terrible . In fact ironically people are talking increasingly about going back in terms of various aspects of the game - like tackling , so go figure 

Edited by DavidM
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21 minutes ago, fighting irish said:

This will force tacklers to bend their backs in a head on tackle (just as entertaining from the spectators point of view) and reduce the likelihood of the head being struck. 

Don`t know if you`ve seen the Herman Ese`ese send-off just now in the Panthers/Titans game. Absolute decapitation shocker, flew out of the line Adrian Morley-style.

If players want to hit hard but can`t be bothered to bend their back, they deserve every punishment.

 

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16 minutes ago, unapologetic pedant said:

Don`t know if you`ve seen the Herman Ese`ese send-off just now in the Panthers/Titans game. Absolute decapitation shocker, flew out of the line Adrian Morley-style.

If players want to hit hard but can`t be bothered to bend their back, they deserve every punishment.

 

The games still live and I'm not a subscriber, so I'll have to wait for the highlights (lowlights) reel.

I did watch Wayne Bennet's press conference and he talks so much sense.

I like the way he rebuff's daft questions.

It's not good tv to have the ''bunker'' stopping the game and replaying incidents long past, while they analyse what happened. It detracts from the entertainment value of the play afterwards, because the players recover during the stoppage.

He's right about people changing channels with the remote control at stoppages too, (I've done it myself and I'm a rugby league nut). 

If an incident is missed, keep the game going and let the coaches site foul play for the judiciary to review the following day. 

Edited by fighting irish
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