I might be on my own with this one but I don’t mind the rugby league scrum. It has been around for my entire life and I would hate to see it go.
The reason I bring it up is due to ‘ball-boy gate’ that occurred at ANZ stadium on Friday night. The quick tap from a 40-20 rule has been a failure. This was outlined by Brad Arthur on the weekend when he stated that 20 of 25 attempted quick taps have been pulled back this season. The Tigers went on to have one pulled up after he said this, so now it sits at 21 from 26. That means that less than 20% of quick taps from 40-20’s have been deemed legal.
This statistic shows that the players don’t fully understand the rule, the ball boys don’t understand the rule and as a fan, I don’t understand it either. It took the incident on the weekend for me to fully make sense of the rule as previously I was just sitting there thinking, “why did they pull that up?”
The NRL meet on Thursday and if you believe the press than the rule may be changed back to how it was last year. I would consider this a positive move as I believe that receiving the ball from a scrum after a 40-20 is reward enough. Pursuing with the quick tap basically gives the attacking team a try or a penalty and a man advantage (after the professional foul sin-dinning) for doing a really good kick from within your own half. That to me seems like too much of an advantage.
Scrums in rugby league have received plenty of flak over recent years and many fans have called for them to bite the dust. I would hate to see this happen for two reasons. Firstly scrums have been around (contested or not) for as long as I can remember and I hate change. Secondly they provide a great opportunity at some open field play. They are the NRL equivalent to the trick plays you see attempted in the NFL and college football. If you think back to some of the trys scored from scrums over the past few years, you would hate to lose those set plays from the game. Melbourne and Manly in particular have put some beauties together.
Yes I admit that they do take a lot of time and yes I admit that it is a tedious watching the referees make forwards re-pack and halfbacks re-feed. Surely with some tinkering to either the current rules or the referee’s instructions we can speed up the process.
You hear commentators and fans also getting upset with backs packing into scrums but this is another modern interpretation I enjoy. One team lines up their best attackers and the other their best defenders for a one tackle seven on seven play. May the best team win.
I’m sure there were fans upset when the six tackle rule and the ten metre rule were introduced and they eventually got over it. So I’d probably get over it too if scrums were taken away. Hopefully I don’t have to worry and the rugby league scrum will live on for years to come.