I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like this. Present day NRL has left me bored and in a big way.
Sure, the game has some superb athletes but where are the tacticians? Guys like Arthur Beetson or Peter Sterling or Steve Mortimer? Someone with sleight of hand like Brett Kenny? These men could change a game with their mental attributes, not physical. They were a joy to watch and all brought something different to the game. It was the golden age for Rugby League.
Teams were distinguishable by the way they played the game. The Dogs were dirty and physical, the Eels were skillful and slick, Manly were Manly and grubby as ever. Balmain were chokers just like St George. Now, all we have are assembly line teams filled with assembly line athletes, with few exceptions.
Fast forward to today’s game, and everyone loves a George Rose. Why? Because he is not your prototype player and looks a little different and holds a few more kg’s than a current day front rower should. Another big man in Andrew Fifita has emerged as the premier front row forward because he plays old school. His try against the Tigers for a front row forward was outstanding but better than that, it was something different and it kept me hooked. It wasn’t the spread the ball wide, employ two decoy runners, wrap around and then pass to the winger to score in the corner.
Let’s take a look at SBW. SBW has returned from Rugby and is the best player to watch by a country mile. His passing skills for a forward are sublime and only Greg Inglis can currently match him for his impact on the outcome of a game and it’s no surprise the Rabbits and Roosters are teams one and two on the ladder.
Where does the blame lie for the current state of the game? Does the rule book need more tweaking? I want to see more enterprising play like the effective counter attack displayed by Todd Carney last week against the Tigers. It was a rare moment where we saw some scintillating counter attacking football by one of the games best play makers. It was a joy to watch and had the crowd on their feet!
Personally, I would love to see teams kick for the touchline from the 20 metre restart like Brent Sherwin used to do when he played for the Dogs. It takes guts but can be a game changing play if it comes off. Just ask Brett Finch!
The chip and chase. Hayne did it beautifully against the Tigers back in 09 and to this day, I have still not seen one player dominate a competition like he did. It was a thing of beauty.
At present, everyone’s second team is either the Warrior or Raiders, because, for the most part, they play an expansive ad lib game as opposed to the rigid structure employed by sides like Melbourne, St George Illawarra and Brisbane.
Now, don’t get me started on Brisbane. They are the most boring side to watch apart from St George Illawarra and they are clogging up my tv on a Friday night without fail. Talk about a cure for insomnia! Who wants to see Scott Prince and Peter Wallace do bugger all on the field apart from long kicks? They are one of the main reasons I am penning this rant!
No doubt we are in the grip of a copycat league and I am hoping a team can emerge from the quagmire and breathe life back into Rugby League and deliver us from the dire arm wrestle that we currently find ourselves in.
I’m not holding my breath though…