Almanac Rugby League – NRL Round 10: Just who are the culprits?

‘Hey, look at those referees over there – not doing their job!’ The poor old refs have been copping it this week in a clear case of ‘look over there and don’t see what’s going on in front of you’. Pure distraction! But we’ll get back to the refs eventually.

 

Meanwhile, at least two other issues should have dominated this week. The first is the inconsistency in penalties handed out to players infringing on the field. The Latrell Mitchell case is a classic. A week or so ago, Joey Leilua copped a four week suspension for a late high hit – and rightly so. This week, Mitchell was third man into an incident and clobbers Josh Reynolds across the chops from behind. He gets to play out the game and only cops a two week suspension. Go figure! Meanwhile Reynolds, whose kick the head of Campbell Graham was not intentional, albeit a poor choice, also gets two weeks. Inconsistent.

 

The other issue is the coaches’ continuing efforts to thwart the spirit of the faster game by using slowing tactics, not only in the ruck but also in off-the-ball stoppages – feigned injuries, shoelaces undone, and the like. There’s still too much of a willingness to give away a ‘6 again’ call early in the count to get defensive lines in place. These are all coach and/or player initiated, intentional actions that fly in the face of what the rule changes are meant to achieve. Let’s pin the blame where it deserves to be.

 

Yes, overall we’re still getting a better spectacle than pre-COVID break times, but it can still be much better – and isn’t that what we should be striving for?

 

And that brings us back to the refs. Poor buggers! The Bunker gets it right most of the time but that’s not good enough. Yes, they’re under pressure. But too often they’re looking for a reason not to award a try (and seem willing to take minutes to sort that out) but miss more obvious blunders. The would-be ‘safety net’ for the on-field ref too often turns out to be the joke for the fans who expect a fair go. We can’t scrap The Bunker mid-season, so we’ll have to grin and bear it for another four and a half months, but maybe it should be up for review at season’s end.

 

Scrums are a joke, the 10 metres in the ruck is consistently skinny, obstruction rulings are inconsistent, wrestling is making a comeback – the list goes on. Much of it can be addressed by the whistleblowers being harder earlier in matches, setting a standard, maintaining it until the final whistle, and using the sin bin more. The coaches will hate them but the fans will love it!

 

On to Round 10:

The poor, injury-plagued Raiders will be no match for the powerful Roosters; likewise the Storm will blow away the Titans. The Panthers will slaughter the Cowboys and the Sharks should easily account for the Warriors. It’s hard to see the Sea Eagles troubling the impressive Eels.

 

The Broncos v Tigers clash shapes as one of the better ones. Have the Broncos turned the corner? Are the Tigers really a finals prospect? Good to see Billy Walters get a run for the Tigers. And a good lesson for Luke Brooks that you have to turn up every week to keep your place. I’ll go for the Tigers at home.

 

The Dragons get an opportunity to get a couple wins on the trot and, maybe, find a bit of consistent form when they meet the Bulldogs who’ve had a hell of a week. You’d think there can only be one winner there but stranger things have happened.

 

The Rabbitohs v Knights match-up is the other interesting one. Keeping in touch with the top four is at stake here. The Rabbitohs are coming off a good win, the Knights off a tough loss. I think I know which will be the more hungry. I’ll go with the Knights.

 

So, coming off 7 out of 8 last weekend, my winners this time are Roosters, Storm, Tigers, Dragons, Knights, Eels, Sharks, and Panthers.

 

Thursday July 16

Roosters v Raiders, Sydney Cricket Ground, 7.50pm

Friday July 17

Storm v Titans at Sunshine Coast Stadium, 6.00pm
Tigers v Broncos at Leichhardt Oval, 7.55pm

Saturday July 18

Dragons v Bulldogs at WIN Stadium, 3.00pm
Rabbitohs v Knights at Bankwest Stadium, 5.30pm
Sea Eagles v Eels at Lottoland, 7.35pm

Sunday July 19

Warriors v Sharks at Central Coast Stadium Stadium, 2.00pm
Panthers v Cowboys at Panthers Stadium, 6.30pm

 

@blenheimboy2

 

Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.

 

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About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A Queenslander through and through, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. I enjoy travel, good coffee and cake, reading, and have been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. As well as being one of Footy Almanac's online editors, I moonlight as an editor for hire - check me out at www.writerightediting.com.au

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