May 19, 2022

‘Bureaucrats trying to harness chaos theory’: Black and white rulings have sent the NRL down a rabbit hole and we’re never coming back

3 min read

BY CURTIS WOODWARD

@woodward_curtis

For years the National Rugby League and their administrators have been plagued by the term “reactive”. How sadly poetic that ARLC chairman Peter V’landys has thrown the sport and millions of fans down a rabbit hole we will never get back out of.

Let us be clear.

The safety of our athletes is paramount and should be a top priority for everyone.

Particularly in this modern world where brain damage and CTE is becoming such a serious matter.

The issue here isn’t the NRL wanting to look after its players.

It’s this crackdown and how severely our landscape has changed in a matter of days.

Last week pro-NRL HQ media went into PR overdrive telling us all about the great job they’ve been doing.

They put the blame back on the coaches and the clubs despite it being the NRL themselves that have continued to chop and change and bring in new rules on the fly.

There’s probably around 600 tackles in any given NRL game.

Of course there will be accidents from the defending team in 80 minutes of footy.

Nobody is going out to purposely hurt the other team.

Accidents happen.

Especially when we have 26 players running around like lunatics desperately trying to win. We tell them that the NRL is a billion dollar sport and we pay our players accordingly. Media scrutiny is endless. Fans live and die by weekly results. From the moment a prospect goes into representative juniors, they know nothing but getting to first grade. They’re told that it’s a ruthless code and only the biggest and baddest survive. They train all-year round.

Now, in a blink of an eye, tackling doesn’t matter much anymore.

That you probably should consider, in the split-second you have before an opponent charges into you, to question where your arm is just in case he falls into you.

There’s no doubt there have been a couple of legitimate sin-bins or send-offs in the last week or so.

But do we remember a few years back when it was almost impossible to get sent off?

Now we’ve gone completely the other way.

There’s simply no common sense.

Tonight, Josh Dugan probably deserved to be marched for the rest of the match under the new laws.

He only got 10.

Mawene Hiroti also went and quite rightfully because it was a professional foul, anyway.

But the elephant in the room, the incident, that embarrasses everyone was Paul Vaughan spending ten minutes in the bin for his “shot” on Will Chambers.

St George Illawarra coach Anthony Griffin said he was “confused” about Vaughan’s dismissal.

We’re with you, coach.

A few weeks back the NRL propaganda machine pushed the line that players needed to go lower and improve their technique.

Well unless you want to ban two-man tackles we’ll have hundreds of cases like Vaughan’s.

An attacker drops as they embrace or take contact and someone like Vaughan, who is merely trying to do his job, gets his poor-old arm in the way.

How dare that arm?!

Chambers stayed down long enough to get time called-off so the official upstairs could take a look at it and then sledged Vaughan for his troubles.

This is bureaucrats trying to harness chaos theory.

It’s not possible.

Perhaps rugby league was never meant to last.

High-impact sports appear to be standing on shaky ground.

We’re down the rabbit hole.

And we’re not coming back.

@woodward_curtis

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