Annoying trends in Rugby League a turn-off

REGULAR readers of this column should be in no doubt of my passion for rugby league. It is, in my eyes, most definitely the greatest game of all.

But I'm not obsessed to the point where I can't see faults, and the current game has some elements that really get on my goat.

Understandably, the code has evolved over the years, and much more so since television and its money became a major player.

But, more recently our rulemakers have bowed to pressure exerted by those who have a vested interest, such as the TV moguls who pay the big dollars.

The coaches are also having far too much say on how the game should be played, administered and controlled.

The most annoying areas of the game are:

Players signing 12 months in advance - that players are permitted to sign with another club up to a year before their existing contract expires is arguably the greatest turn-off for fans.

The strip - players penalised for deliberately stripping the ball in a tackle, or found by the match review committee to have done so after not being detected on field, should be penalised 20 demerit points. When they reach 100 points, they are automatically suspended for one match. The same should apply to a player found to have deliberately lost control of the ball.

Lifting an opponent's leg in the tackle - it is dangerous, unnecessary and the ignition point for the spear tackle. The guilty party should immediately be sin binned.

Video referee - if a decision can't be made after three replays, the ruling by the on-ground referee should stand. What was supposed to add an exciting element to the game has become tedious and infuriating.

Time wasting - stoppages for scrums and kicks should be set at 60 seconds. If play has not re-started when the time expires, a handover should be awarded - no questions asked.

Referee dialogue - the incessant on-field chatter from modern-day referees, advising players what to do and where to be, is annoying for TV watchers and irritating to players.

Player/coach privacy - what is the fascination with having TV cameras in dressing rooms and in the coaches' box during a game? Surely, like most of us in our workplace, they are entitled to privacy.

The head tap - any player who taps an opponent on the head after he has made a mistake should be penalised. It is condescending and not in the spirit of the game.

'Out there' hairstyles - as Wayne Bennett told his players, be noticed for your skill, not your hair.

Pre-match hugs - players should save these for their mums, wives, girlfriends and their kids.

Placing the mouth guard behind the ear - yuk! This is nothing but attention seeking.

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