Call me old school, but I like a bit of biffo.
Not all the time as I’m ugly enough as it is, but in a controlled environment such as State Of Origin, two hardened veterans such as Paul Gallen and Nate Myles, it’s what the fans pay to see. Origin is also a different beast to the week to week games of the NRL, hence more lenience is shown by the referees. Let’s not sin bin or send players off as it will then become part of the strategy for players to deliberately pick a fight.
We’ve already lost the shoulder charge from the game but the debate about that is for another time.
We don’t want to emulate the AFL and make the sport soft and allow the mother hens to dominate the way the sport is played. Rugby League is a gladitorial sport no doubt, but as a former junior league coach, it is a game that is well supervised and is played in the spirit which it was intended. Sportsmanship, team work and respect for your opponent are taught at the grass roots level of the game.
Also, in an era of politically correct bs, what happens on the field does stay on the field. It is not indicative of wider society and fights like the gallen/Myles ones are rare and I haven’t seen any trending instances of people taking the law into their own hands. Rugby League is a high impact sport and at times tensions run high, which is to be expected.
It is disappointing seeing the NRL bow to fleeting moments of pc public opinion and I’m not sure this new rule will convince the mothers who are sitting on the fence to allow their children to play Rugby League.
The game is fine the way it is. A word of warning to the NRL. Don’t kill the goose that laid the golden egg.