Australia dominates the world of Rugby League. This year there isn’t really a team within “cooee” posing any real threat to the Kangaroos.
Given the tournament is on home soil it’s easy to forget the international game doesn’t conform international rules.
Rugby League World Cup Rules
For the average punter who enjoys a XXXX or a Tooheys and a Four n’ Twenty pie, there are a couple of things to look out for.
There will only be one referee officiating.
If you kick a ball dead there is no seven tackle set to the opposing team.
And one that could be a detriment to the tournament, no mandatory sin bin if you punch another player.
Opinions on Fighting
We’ve all got that one friend that loves the “bring back the biff” war-cry. And the old school fans who love nothing more than recounting the days of Tom Raudonikis putting shots on his opponents. Or when Mark Geyer was picked in Origin for NSW specifically to put Lewis out of the game. But those days are over.
The Implications of Fighting
The reality is since the NRL outlawed punching in the domestic comp, it has been much better for the game. Yes it’s not a great look when players get heated and they all run in a shirt front each other. But that is far better than the alternative.
Which is this. Imagine you paid $100 bucks a ticket to go see Cooper Cronk in potentially his last world cup and a big enforcer decides to take matters into his own hands. Lays a couple on the small mans chin. Caves his face in and its tournament over.
The Flow on Effect
Juniors emulate their hero’s. They worship them and want to be them. And the last thing you’d want to see is a couple of 8 year olds going at it on a Sunday morning just because their favourite players did on the world stage.
Outlaw it. Make a rule change. Adopt the NRL rule of 10 minutes in the bin for any punches and do it now. There is still enough time between now and the tournament that a change could be made and a message sent out to all clubs.
The tournament boss Andrew Hill doesn’t think it’s a problem. Quoted in the guardian as saying:
“This isn’t the only game that is played under international rules. So I’m sure the 130-odd NRL players participating won’t change their game for the World Cup.”
But that didn’t stop Sam Burgess putting one on David Klemmer the last time Australia and England met. Rather than assuming players will do the right thing. Why not just err on the side of caution and make the change?
I for one welcome new Rugby League World Cup Rules.