Comment: Tactical kicking is smart play, don’t ban it

Comment: A PUGILISTIC philosophy: box a brawler, brawl a boxer.

Style versus style.

The National Rugby League has changed the Laws of the Game (S8.2), such that if "an attacking player last touches the ball before it goes out of play over the dead ball line or into touch in-goal (then) the initial tackle affected on the team taking the 20 metre optional kick re-start shall be a zero tackle".

The NRL says this is "to discourage tactical kicks and negative play when the ball is kicked dead to slow down the game and deny wingers and fullbacks the chance to return kicks".

Yes, some teams some times do kick the ball dead to prevent some fullbacks from returning the ball.

Yet, if a team's tactic is to fairly and lawfully take any opposing player out of the game, then good on them.

What of running second-rowers at halves to tire them? What of bombing fullbacks?

If these tactics work, then go, get into them.

Further, those fullbacks that do not counter-attack by returning a kick because they are waiting and wishing the ball to go dead to get a set of seven, are themselves not attacking, are taking themselves out of game; and they are rewarded by this rule.

Finally, to those teams that want to box, not brawl: if you want to take an opposition fullback out of play, then kick dead over the touchline. There will be a scrum - slowing the play further - and a set of six, instead of seven, tackles. The league does not additionally penalise teams that kick dead over touchline, so as to control time and tempo, as this is a classic tactic.

A referee is there to supervise a fair fight, not to parry punches.


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