What have we learned from three weeks of rugby league?
1) The Warriors are undefeated
2) The Knights and Tigers are competitive
3) The Raiders and the Eels haven’t won a game, despite both being tipped to play in September. The last time the Eels lost their first three games was in 2012 when they finished with the wooden spoon.
4) Referees make mistakes. There, I have said it.
5) Every team cheats (except mine). That’s right, every team cheats, even mine. But why does every team cheat? Because they think the opposition cheats and the only way to level the playing field is to cheat as well. So they will stand back nine metres instead of 10. They will lie on the tackled player a bit longer than is necessary. They will put their hand on the ball in the tackle to slow down the play the ball. They will block defenders from making a play at a high ball. In short, they will do whatever the coach tells them.
Much has been made of the penalty that gifted the game to the Broncos over the Tigers on Friday night.
The NRL has apparently admitted the penalty was wrong. The problem is, I was watching the game and it looked to my untrained eye that the markers were not square. They were standing next to each other, not one behind the other. Isn’t that an example of players trying to gain an unfair advantage over their opposition.
Let’s be honest here. That happens 50 or 60 times in a game and gets called three or four times. the players (and coaches) rely on the fact that referees will only call a small percentage of the cheating.
But what of claims by Tigers fans that the error by the refs cost them the game?
There was another error in the game that was more costly. In the 52nd minute, Chee-Kam scored for the Tigers to make the score 6-4.
From a fairly handy position, Marsters had a fairly simple kick to make it 8-4, but he missed. It was a bludger of a kick. Had he landed that kick, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, because the Tigers would have won 8-6. There wouldn’t have been a couple of field goals, because the Tigers would have lead by either two or four points. It was that mistake that cost the Tigers the game.
The only way to get the deliberate cheating out of the game is for the coaches to stop teaching the players to cheat, and that ain’t going to happen. We’re stuck with the cheating.
And if you don’t like it, follow another sport, like cricket, because the Aussies would NEVER resort to cheating by tampering with the ball — would they?
And remember, there’s no such thing as too much sport!