Victor Frankenstein, the mad scientist, had every intention of creating something truly amazing. He quickly realised that what he had assembled was nothing short of monstrous.
The hideous monster disappeared but not for long.
It returned soon after to inflict pain on Frankenstein and the ones he loved.
Mary Shelley could very well have been writing about Peter V’landys and the rule changes that are crippling the National Rugby League in 2021.
Rule changes brought in prior to the season to quicken the game up have caused ridiculous amounts of fatigue – too much. Our players are dropping like flies. Newcastle Knights coach Adam O’Brien admitted after Sunday’s loss to St George Illawarra that he didn’t know if he had 21 players to announce in his squad for their next match.
Injured Dragons halfback Ben Hunt rubbished the rule changes in an interview on Tuesday night with Channel Nine.
When the ‘six again’ rule was announced, it split expert and fan opinion.
What it has done is turn what is meant to be an arm wrestle, a contest of will between opposing teams into a circus – a game of ‘last one to drop-dead scores’.
Yes, rugby league is a sport of endurance.
But there is a fine balance that must be kept.
Teams are kicking long and purposely standing offside in the defensive line because they know that their opponents will only get an extra tackle instead of a penalty and a booming kick for the touchline.
Scrums are basically no more too.
At the season launch in March, V’landys conceded they would look at the changes after ‘three or four rounds’.
“We’ll certainly review them,” V’landys said.
“We’re never frightened to make changes if necessary. We’ve promised we’d sit down after round three or four and have a look at the stats, but if you don’t breach the rules you don’t have anything to worry about. That’s the thing everyone has missed, in my view. Everyone thinks there will be six-agains by the mountain-load, but there won’t be if they abide by the rules.
“If it’s a 110-kilometre-per-hour speed limit, you don’t go 130 otherwise you’ll get a ticket, and you’ll soon learn. If you don’t want to be tackling a set of 12 or 18, don’t breach the rules.”
The speed limit doesn’t have to be 110 all the time!
Rugby league is played at all speeds and for different reasons.
It’s a game of 13 against 13, players of all different sizes and skillsets.
Not 26 sprinters running around the field until they snap a hamstring or blow out a knee or knock themselves out because they can’t make the right decisions under duress.
But the answer?
According to Dr. V’landys, in his lab coat and goggles firmly wrapped around his head, the answer to fixing the competition is not slowing the game down ever so slightly but bringing back a national youth competition.
“There is not a stepping stone to the NRL and at some point this was going to happen, in my view, and we are rectifying that,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“There’s no doubt the under 20s and participation is a massive factor and we are going to correct it.”
That’s the problem with the NRL after four weeks of the new season…
We don’t have an Under 20’s competition.
Yeah some clubs have better rosters, better coaches, better roster management.
But it doesn’t change the fact that we are watching a completely different sport in 2021.
The greatest game of all has become Frankenstein’s monster.