BY CURTIS WOODWARD
Could James Tedesco possibly get better? The answer is yes thanks to the new rule changes as the superstar fullback starred for the Sydney Roosters in their 28-12 victory over rivals South Sydney.
The defending premiers secured their first victory of the 2020 premiership on the back of an impressive performance led by Victor Radley, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend and Tedesco.
Everybody is saying it – the speed of the game has shot off into the stratosphere.
Majority of fans agree rugby league is back.
Raw, abusively quick and sharp as a tack.
In the blink of an eye, the fabric of the game has changed for the better.
The media, quite rightfully, wanted to build up Souths recruit Latrell Mitchell against his former teammates. But the Roosters machine made it about the game itself. Mitchell was tough but was easily outpointed by Tedesco.
Tedesco and the Roosters could be the great benefactors of these rule changes. No fullback or player in the game makes themselves available like the Australian custodian.
It’s scary what he will be able to do with the new space in front of him.
Souths fans should be worried.
For all Mitchell’s talent, he’s only really good for one big play in a set. He simply doesn’t have the motor to follow every play like Tedesco can.
And then there’s Friend.
Your writer has written previously on foxsports.com.au how the veteran rake only has one offensive gear – clear the ball from the ruck. The same writer is happy to admit that Friend is classier than that and might actually now be able to play some rugby league.
His late try where he took advantage of a dead Rabbitohs pack with a grubber kick and dived on the ball without a Souths player in sight was a throwback to what the game was meant to be. A game of attrition. The big men were meant to dominate early – the little men would take their chances at the death.
Brisbane’s Brodie Croft calved up Parramatta with a cracker on Thursday that he will probably wouldn’t have scored last year.
The rule changes will also kill coaches trying to play three props in the middle.
Not long ago we thought the legitimate lock-forward was dead.
Think again, baby.
There are still real question marks over the ‘six again’ rule and how it should be used by the referees.
Some would quite rightfully argue that the ‘six again’ rule should only be used inside the attacking 20 instead of the entire half.
Fatigue is going to be such a huge factor in our game again.
We need to make some slight alterations.
The ‘seven tackle set’ after a kick goes dead-in-goal needs to be scrapped.
It was brought in because teams were kicking dead from long distances to cancel out Billy Slater.
Bill is retired.
Imagine a finals game, it’s 14-all with ten to go, and a team struggles up-field and puts a kick into the in-goal but it trickles dead by an inch or two. Why should the other side get seven tackles up field as the defending side?
On Thursday at Suncorp, Parramatta attacked the Broncos line but instead of kicking on the last and chancing giving up seven tackles, winger Blake Ferguson ran it and was taken into touch.
Brisbane – under duress – were then offered what part of the field they wanted to pack the scrum instead of being forced to bring the pill out from a corner of the field.
They’re small things because the game as a whole looks so much better.
We have time to fix it.
How good is it rugby league!