As the foul play crack down continues, exactly one year since the infamous Magic Round chaos, debate has ensued over whether the crime fits the time.
Picture this: It’s the 2022 Grand Final, the Storm up against the Panthers.
A Melbourne rotation forward, of fairly minor significance, commits a deliberate, or even just reckless, act of foul play against Nathan Cleary. The Penrith star cannot return, ruled out for the rest of the premiership decider.
What should the punishment be?
Because former player-turned NRL broadcaster Joel Caine has sparked debate, arguing that the culprit’s team should only be penalised for 10 minutes.
He suggested on Twitter that a ‘send off-worthy’ act should see the player binned, unable to return, but the team’s punishment more minor.
Imagine a first half send off in Origin or the Grand Final.— Joel Caine (@JoelCaine) May 8, 2022
We need to move asap to;
* 10 in the Bin
* That player not to return for match.
* Costs team an interchange to get a 13th player back on.
* Ie down to a 3 player bench rotation
More than enough punishment, thoughts?
The well-respected NRL Physio summed it up perfectly, replying to Caine’s tweet.
“Send-off acts generally are reckless/careless enough … to take out an opposition player.”
Teams need to be held accountable for the actions of their players.
Send off acts generally are reckless/careless enough that they have danger to take out an opposition player for the game/weeks beyond the game. Probably more unfair for the offending team to be in the same spot after 10 minutes as the team of a player who gets knocked out— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) May 8, 2022
This season, good football sides have shown that they can win and still play well with players in the sin-bin, or even when a player is sent-off.
At one stage during the Sharks’ Round 9 clash with the Warriors, the Sharks were reduced to 11 men after Will Kennedy’s early send off and Jesse Ramien then copping a second half sin bin.
The Sharks ended up winning the game 29-10 and played 64 minutes down at least one player.Embed from Getty Images
Playing with a ‘three-man bench’ is less of a punishment as it perhaps once was, given the fitness and professionalism of modern NRL athletes.
Plenty of sides effectively a three-forward bench rotation strategy, with a back-up utility as the 17th option.
The send-off rule does not need to be changed. If players don’t commit reckless and dangerous acts, most of which are avoidable, we’re not having this conversation.