Posts Tagged ‘Warming’

Rugby League “too subjective” for those that play

“It’s just so subjective. I don’t know how they came up with the grading. Just how things are graded…it’s so subjective, and to have that subjectivity in myopinion altered from case to case is very disparaging for the players.”

These are words from the mouth of a real, existing and currently functioning NRL coach. ‘The game I coach is too subjective,’ he says. ‘The rules are up for interpretation. Not everything is black and white.’ Perspective and subjectivity Geoff. Google it. Then google objectivity, and see for yourself whether any referee or judiciary rulings will ever be objective.

Geoff thinks Steve Matai and his banned of brothers (get it?) need to have a place in the NRL judiciary system.

It’s when you see quotations like this that you bemoan the time that you do spend sitting on the couch watching the telly as those big boys run at each other, belting each other quite spectacularly, scoring some miraculous tried and yelling at the referees like confused apes. Those nasty men in pink and the ones who review the tape, meanwhile, sit and plot to undermine everything done by the players and coaches.

I don’t think, unlike my mate Geoff, that coaches and players should have a place in the judiciary system. Everyone knows that players and coaches will try to cheat to gain advantage. If they get away with it, they call it good tactics. When they don’t, they cry like three year olds who don’t get ice cream and TV for dinner. The disingenuous behaviour that flaunts the spirit of fair competition between teams happens because players and coaches are biased, and want to win. The laws that have been implemented in Rugby League, including two referees, video refs, and judiciaries have been put there to combat illegal tactics dreamed up by Toovey and his predecessors.

So who really has the more ‘objective’ view of the game, its spirit and its laws?

Wrestling? Invented by players and coaches to undermine the other team’s progress, and many consider it to be against the spirit of the game. Play acting, telling the ref you scored when you didn’t, taking a dive; all these are inventions of players and tactics of coaches to gain unfair advantage over the opposition. These are against both the laws and the spirit of the laws.

Players are told to intentionally belt a player over the head so they won’t come back because of a concussion that may affect them for the rest of their lives. It’s against the law, yeah, but they do it anyway. This wasn’t invented by the NRL judiciary or the referees, and its their job to say ‘hang on a minute, that seems a little off to me. Let’s ban the player who did it.’ We don’t need players hanging around saying that it was a good hit, and that maybe it was a little high, so we’ll give him a warning. Some players and coaches don’t listen to warnings.

So when Geoff Toovey asks for players to have a say in the judiciary system that judges them and their actions, I say no. What will players and coaches who have shown themselves to be self interested and self serving coaches desire in a judiciary system? Probably a system that allows them to spend as little time off the field for the maximum amount of illegal damage inflicted on an opponent. Probably a system that doesn’t punish Steve Matai for being placed on report every second week for a swinging arm to the head.

I’ll probably stick with the neutral-ish arbiters currently tasked with handing out suitable punishments to players and coaches who misbehave. However subjective Toovey finds their rulings to be, I think it would be vastly preferable to the punishments (that will also inevitably be subjective) handed down by players to their colleagues.

And now to Toovey, and why he and his fellows clearly don’t get the nature of officiating and probably never will.

The structured world is still an uncertain place. Laws are put in place to indicate which behaviour is acceptable and which is not. For example, the offside rule is in place to ensure defenders don’t have an unfair advantage by being in the face of the ball carrier before he can take a step. Simple? Very.

What is not simple is the  decision to rule on an offside infringement. The referee can only have one perspective. He must make a call within the space of a couple of seconds. For this to happen he must make a decision of his own as to whether a player infringed, and by how much. The actions of the players, illegal or not, are contingent and very, very situational. No two situations are exactly alike, and the fact that the referee can only ever have one perspective, his own (even with the help of cameras and linesmen who also only have one perspective) makes it so that he will not make the inch perfect decision every time.

This makes his ruling, by definition, subjective. He cannot rule as an omiscient observer. It is beyond the limits of human capability. Just  as Andrew Johns and Darren Lockyer sometimes made the wrong decision and had their pass go to the wrong player or to ground, referees sometimes do not view the world as the Lord (or Dean Ritchie or Paul Kent) does.

So please Geoff, when you say something is subjective have a look at Wikipedia first. What you said in that interview was subjective. The laws themselves are up for interpretation, so embrace the uncertainty and stop taking it out on the referees, the linesmen, your dead dog, the judiciary and the fans when you lose.

Cement.

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Obituary for my favourite coach

When a true great of the game finally leaves, especially when he is pushed, there is bound to be controversy, backlash and puff pieces. In the case of Nathan Hindmarsh there can be comebacks before he has even retired. But it is not this Nathan we discuss today. In fact, we are not discussing a Nathan at all

It is with great sadness that I post this news… Matthew Primus, former coach of the Port Adelaide Power, has fallen victim to his own success and ingenuity.

Fondly known by followers of this blog (including my dog and a mate of mine who lives in a different country), Matthew “Optimus” Primus proved himself to be a trailblazer in not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not eight, but seven ways. All seven of these ways include appointing captains for a fixture. Seven captains, unsurprisingly.

Apparently the decision to boot the “The Transformer” was prompted by their loss to the Greater Western Sydney Giants, the Power board moved quickly to rid themselves of anything to do with the loss. The coach goes, the president goes, half the players will probably go, and the board remains safe. We all know, after all, that it is a board that makes a football club.

It seemed like a hasty move, in light of GWS coach Kevin Sheedy’s comments recently that they are the best AFL side ever to don a pair of short shorts and we-have-massive-ceps singlets, and that their poster boy Israel Folau is the best AFL player ever to pose for the camera.

In reality the move to decomission the leader of the Autobots proves only that the Power board should be unplugged. The lack of leadership for the Power will now come into question, with a distinct lack of candidates to replace the slayer of all them baddie robots.

We all know that Jazz was ripped apart by Megatron in the first movie and that Ironhide and Ratchet just don’t have it in them to lead a team back from the depths of failure. And don’t get me started on Shia Labeouf. The fact that Michael Bay expects me to believe that that puny little human can defeat Starscream single handedly is insulting to sports fans.

This does not beg the question as there is no argument where the question is being begged, but instead poses it: why was he fired? There is little doubt that Primus was the best coach in the AFL. He clearly had the best name, being the most akin to a popular brand of childrens’ toy. What’s more, the audacity he showed to name seven captains for one fixture is the most groundbreaking development in coaching since the clipboard. This decision led to some of the most read pieces of sports journalism in history. Such is the legacy.

The AFL is poorer for not having Primus among its coaching ranks. I’m not saying I ever watched a Port Adelaide game while he was in charge, or ever heard him talk, but I do know he will go down as the greatest, most successful and most handsome man ever to fill out a team sheet or run handpassing drills.

Vale Optimus, you and the potential for jokes about your name will be missed.

I’m looking at you, AFL

Has the AFL become less predictable than the NRL? After seeing this week’s results sheets I think  it may be getting closer.

I always looked at the AFL as a bit of a banker when it came to tipping and betting. The NRL, in past years, has been an absolute nightmare to tip. It hasn’t really changed this year either, with the “experts” tipping the “Tigers” as “favourites” for the premiership. I don’t know which fantasy world these “experts” were living in. I know that it’s always difficult to tip the NRL, I understand, but I also know that the answer to the question “When will the Tigers finally bring it all together?” is “never!”

For all those that think I’m going all Matty Johns on you, I also know that the “never” answer also applies to Souths and Parramatta as well. To fans of these teams: don’t beat me up, my opinion only.

But you know how it goes, AFL followers. Things tend to work in dynasties, don’t they? There was a Brisbane Lions dynasty, then a Port Adelaide dynasty of sorts, then a Swans dynasty and then a Geelong and Collingwood dynasty. As a fan of sport who doesn’t follow AFL all that closely, I know that I can usually answer the question of who’s going to win this year’s premiership by watching one episode of that year’s Footy Show and picking up hints as to who the two best teams were. Flame on AFL fans. Flame on.

This year, to me, seems different. Collingwood aren’t the dominant proposition they were for the last two years. Geelong got beaten by North Melbourne, who have promised so much but delivered so little over the past number of years. I am beginning to think we might have some new Grand Final contestants this year.

The NRL often advocates that the salary cap is the best thing ever to happen to rugby league. The argument runs that it evens the playing field and ensures a tight competition every year. Looking at the closeness of NRL fixtures, I would generally agree. The competition has been exciting and the standard of play excellent for the past ten years. It’s obvious, though, that the players are playing for much less than they’re worth, and for that reason I think that the cap is immoral. 

The AFL’s  salary cap hasn’t seemed to have had the same effect, at least to my untrained eye (thanks Jacko). Why has the AFL has not enjoyed the same closeness between all teams? It always seems like there are two or so teams standing high above the others in the quality their play. If, through their salary cap,  draft and whatever other systems, they have managed to provide us fans with a competition as even as the NRL, then it is a triumph both for spectators and capitalists alike.

Then again, we just watched Manly, the reigning premiers in the NRL, get beaten convincingly by the cellar dwelling Titans. In that respect I think the NRL is still the benchmark. I would not put my money on the bottom two teams in the AFL to beat any of the other teams, let alone Geelong. But if you ask me when the reals Eels or Titans are going to show up and win, I think it’s just as likely to be against the Storm or the Broncos as anyone else.

I think, if pushed,  the reason I would give for my general lack of observance of AFL in the past has been the predictability of results. If this new trend keeps up, and the top teams aren’t as untouchable as they have seemed in the past couple of seasons,  I may be forced to change my ways. Then again, if the Blues and Eagles begin a dynasty and I’m forced to watch mid-table clashes to see a close game, I might not bother.

I started by mentioning a banker for the betting-folk, and I’d hate to disappoint the many (read: any) that read along. So here it is: bet against the Suns and GWS. I read a news story last week that due to lack of bets on GWS to beat West Coast, the Eagles were paying a flat dollar. Yep. No more bets please.

Stand, spray and deliver.

Critiques from the arm chair