NRL 12 months ago

Are we watching the NRL or the NFL?

  • Are we watching the NRL or the NFL?

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 02: Waqa Blake of the Panthers is tackled during the round 17 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Penrith Panthers at ANZ Stadium on July 2, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

  • Are we watching the NRL or the NFL?

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 02: Rory O'Brien of the Eels is tackled during the round 17 NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Parramatta Eels at Southern Cross Group Stadium on July 2, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

It's not the first time in 2016 we have seen "Flat" passes  let go by the on field officials because they either miss them, or they are at the wrong angle to be sure and the bunker can not intervene under NRL rules.  How bad must it get before something is done?.

The two games on 'Super Saturday' at the weekend had fans fuming all over the internet and all over twitter.  The question that has to be asked of the NRL is twofold.  Firstly with every piece of technology available in the game, if a referee misses a forward pass why can't the bunker make a ruling?. Especially in a try scoring scenario; why can't it be part of the review?. Secondly, I have to ask, is this something the NRL is prepared to overlook so that the spectacle of an amazing try is not pulled back because of a  borderline pass?. 

I only say this because the NBA a few seasons ago decided not to be as stringent on the travel rule as it was inhibiting the attacking nature of the game.  Have the NRL made an NBA type decision?

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The game is played at such a pace these days and attacking formations play so flat against the defensive line that we see a lot more passes close to border of being flat to forward.  Also the way a dummy half plays typically these days is that they scoot a few metres from the ruck before offloading to a ball runner that every single week if you look closely you will see many many forward passes. 

The examples on the weekend though had fans in a frenzy all over twitter. Firstly in the Penrith game and on a kick return the ball clearly went two metres forward, called by every commentator "How's that play on?!?". In addition the touch official Kasey Badger,  had her flag out and the referees on-field allowed play to continue. Although not affecting the final result the other point to make is minor positions on the ladder will be decided most likely on for and against percentage and every point counts as a spot in the top 8 could come down a single try.


Then in the Eels vs Sharks match, the match in the balance just after half time and a Barba pass to Luetele was clearly forward to extend their lead.  Then later in the match the Eels fought their way back to 28-24 and in the 78th minute a backline movement to Feki that included two passes that were 'flat' at best iced the game.

These are not the worst of the season though.  The winner must go to Bulldogs V Dragons when T-rex bobbled the ball it flew over Benji Marshalls head and he regathered to score.  Even if this was not considered a lost ball, surely you can't pass to yourself.  And even if you could pass to yourself the ball went forward over Benjis head by about 3 metres.

The problem with this is that these alleged missed decisions are taking away from spectacles such as Mansour's amazing flying try?  Or Cronulla coming back from 18 points behind  to record their 12th straight win of the season, an amazing achievement. 

In the off season when the NRL reviews it's rules and decides what they need to focus on and what needs to be worked out of the game, this HAS to be on the agenda. Surely?

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