Code Wars: Why proposed rule changes in AFL can only help the NRL in ongoing battle

BY CURTIS WOODWARD

@woodward_curtis

Anyone that says there isn’t a code war between the NRL and AFL can keep their heads in the sand. That’s their prerogative. Anyone with half a brain however will acknowledge these organisations are after the same sets of eyes.

You’re not going to win over the rusted on fans from either code.

That’s not what this battle is about.

In the rugby league world, the NRL seems like it’s under constant attack from the inside. True enough if it was still 2008. It is, of course, 2018 and the public are finally fighting back and are no longer drinking the Kood-Aid. The NRL isn’t in crisis. There’s plenty to work on but bloody hell we’re doing well.

The AFL can’t go a week without a scandal it seems.

Their propaganda machine might need refueling.

We barely hear about these scandals north of Albury or the day-to-day issues of the other code because it doesn’t rate up here – on television, radio or in newspapers.

But be assured they have dramas. Search ‘NRL AFL’ on Twitter and you’ll see plenty of Aussie Rules fans complaining about their sport and threatening to switch codes.

Sound familiar?

Those that wouldn’t know a Sydney Swan from a Wayne Swan or a Gil McLachlan from a Craig McLachlan would be interested to know that the AFL is so desperate to fix their current brand of football they’re willing to completely change the fabric of the sport such has been the backlash to the quality of games in 2018.

The problem is – AFL fans are already pissed off at how many changes officials have been making.

In an astonishing proposal, the AFL wants to bring in ‘starting positions’ which would be like the NRL telling teams a prop can only run down a ten metre lane in the middle of the field or a winger had to stay outside his centre for the entire 80 minutes of a match.

“Just so I understand correctly….major changes to the fabric of a great game, that is over 150 years old, are being made off the back of a few 20 minute trials during in-season training sessions where players go at 80% intensity??” Geelong legend Cameron Long tweeted.

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg and the ARLC should be sitting back at League Central with their feet up with a box of popcorn watching this unravel.

Rugby league has its hands full countering this leviathan from the south but it makes it a hell of a lot easier if their biggest rival continues to consume itself.

It comes on the back of the AFLX which was roundly panned.

If this continues, rugby league will simply need to just keep improving themselves and not fall into the same trap as their biggest threat.

This code war won’t be won with a knockout punch.

Which is why it makes AFL’s constant urge to keep messing with their game so interesting.

Popcorn, anyone?

@woodward_curtis

Catch The81stMinute Call Team this Saturday from 12.30pm live on steelesports.com.au for the Intrust Super Premiership clash between the Canterbury Bulldogs and Western Suburbs Magpies.

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