Tribute to Wests Tigers by SMH






  • Chief Rugby League Writer SMH - Brad Walter June 2013


    When Chris Anderson returned to NRL coaching with Sydney Roosters in 2007, the two-time premiership-winning coach complained that players were spending eight hours a week lifting weights in the gym.

    “I don’t think that makes anyone a better footballer,” Anderson said. “You get some strong blokes out of it but if no one did it and you just went for natural strength it would be the same. But that’s never going to happen. If one team does weights then every team has to do weights.”

    It’s why the Kangaroos training staff were told during a visit to Manchester United in 2005 that $6 million of state of the art gym equipment at the club’s Carrington training complex sat largely unused by superstars such as Cristian Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

    To keep up with or get ahead of the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal, Alex Ferguson needed his players to focus on skill work – not weights sessions.

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    Yet the attitude of NRL coaches is different, and Anderson’s sentiments about teams being forced to do the same as their opponents were echoed last weekend by a man many have compared to Ferguson when Newcastle boss Wayne Bennett bemoaned the influence of wrestling on the game.

    Bennett said he wanted tactics such as the “cannonball” or “prowler” tackle out of the game but admitted he coached them at the Knights.

    “It’s wrong, I don’t believe in it, but your team’s disadvantaged if you don’t do it,” Bennett said after back-rower Alex McKinnon suffered an ankle injury in Saturday night’s loss to South Sydney that will sideline him for up to eight weeks.

    “It shouldn’t be part of the game,” Bennett said. “We’ve allowed it to become part of the game. It was never part of the game. But I’ll repeat, we’re all guilty of it because we’re all coaching it now.”

    What Bennett was referring to is the tactic of two defenders holding the ball carrier up in a tackle until a third player comes in low and tackles his legs from beneath him.

    Bennett first raised the issue several years ago, and attempts were made in 2011 to eliminate the ploy by encouraging referees to call held earlier and introducing a judiciary charge for any tackler who forcefully spears in at an opponent’s legs with his shoulder.

    However, coaches and players quickly found a way around it, and as Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire said there were numerous tackles in every game where a defender wrapped his arms around the ball carrier’s ankles and toppled everyone to the ground.

    Like the “grapple” tackle, “crusher” and “chicken wing”, the “cannonball” or “prowler” tackle is designed to slow the play-the-ball, and it is now widely accepted that the teams who wrestle the best are the most successful.

    Of course, it could have been different had rival teams tried to match the entertaining play that led to Wests Tigers’ triumph in 2005 instead of focusing on how to shut them down.

    The emphasis on wrestling increased dramatically in the following seasons as the Storm became the most dominant team in NRL history, and it has now reached a point that drastic measures are needed to eradicate it.

    American football dealt with a similar problem in the 1950s by changing the definition of a tackle to stipulate: “If a player touches the ground with any part of his body, except his hands or feet, while in the grasp of an opponent and irrespective of the grasp being broken, the ball is declared dead immediately.”

    According to Michael MacCambridge’s book America’s Game, the rule change stopped much of “vicious close-in fighting” that occurred as ball runners tried to struggle free after a tackle had been made, and significantly reduced injuries caused by defenders diving on the player once he was “downed”.

    To make such a radical rule change would have a huge impact on the way the game is played but unless the likes of Bennett refuse to coach such tactics the NRL might have to consider doing so.


    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/only-coaches-can-truly-eradicate-the-wrestle-20130603-2nlbm.html#ixzz2VCFrrh7f



  • 2005 was a fantastic year for entertaining, open football. We scored so many tries from long distance, with the ball being passed many times. How I wish to see that sort of play again.



  • It’s why the Kangaroos training staff were told during a visit to Manchester United in 2005 that $6 million of state of the art gym equipment at the club’s Carrington training complex sat largely unused by superstars such as Cristian Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

    To keep up with or get ahead of the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal, Alex Ferguson needed his players to focus on skill work – not weights sessions.

    Ridiculous comparison. Weights training in leagle is far more important than in soccer.



  • @Sabre:

    It’s why the Kangaroos training staff were told during a visit to Manchester United in 2005 that $6 million of state of the art gym equipment at the club’s Carrington training complex sat largely unused by superstars such as Cristian Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

    To keep up with or get ahead of the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal, Alex Ferguson needed his players to focus on skill work – not weights sessions.

    Ridiculous comparison. Weights training in leagle is far more important than in soccer.

    Skills training still has its place in rugby league , forwards need to be able to recognize when an opportunity arises on the field and how then to capitalize on the situation

    Nervous Sabre ,two games away from another Avatar change

    Would you prefer me to call you Mr Ribot or by his full name Mr Ribot be Bresac



  • Skills training definitely does and in both games. I’m looking at at it the other way thinking that being big and strong in soccer wouldn’t be any advantage.

    2 games? At least have some unbias. I think it will get down to the 3rd. NSW to win tomorrow night. QLD in game 2, then well in game 3 I’m just curious whether your gonna have Benny or Tommy as your avatar the next day.



  • Lets put it this way Sabre I will be happy with one and unhappy with the other

    You still need strength in soccer (particularly defenders ) or you will get pushed off the ball too easily



  • So that’s Benny or Tommy; happy or unhappy respectively?



  • @Sabre:

    So that’s Benny or Tommy; happy or unhappy respectively?

    Thats what you need to work out ,brother :roll



  • To take the emphasis away from winning or losing the ruck, the only cut and dry rule I can see helping (not fixing) the need to slow the ruck down, the wrestle and the cannonball etc… is to go back to a 5 metre rule. Otherwise its the referees interpretation of when a tackle is complete and that doesn’t give me much confidence.



  • A suggestion I remember reading to help reduce wrestling and gang tackles is to reward one-on-one tackles. Say any such tackle is automatically dominant.



  • @happy tiger:

    @Sabre:

    So that’s Benny or Tommy; happy or unhappy respectively?

    Thats what you need to work out ,brother :roll

    In that case the following image is waiting for you



  • To make such a radical rule change would have a huge impact on the way the game is played but unless the likes of Bennett refuse to coach such tactics the NRL might have to consider doing so.

    I dont really understand the NFL relevance….but imo they already did make a radical rule change AFTER we won the comp, when they allowed the ptb to be slowed…and the wrestle then thrived



  • Of course, it could have been different had rival teams tried to match the entertaining play that led to Wests Tigers’ triumph in 2005 instead of focusing on how to shut them down.

    That works the other way around as well. So many years we pissed away since 2005 trying to play that brand of football while other teams adjusted and adapted to the slower PTB. No wonder we haven’t been within farting distance of a GF since.



  • @Cultured Bogan:

    Of course, it could have been different had rival teams tried to match the entertaining play that led to Wests Tigers’ triumph in 2005 instead of focusing on how to shut them down.

    That works the other way around as well. So many years we pissed away since 2005 trying to play that brand of football while other teams adjusted and adapted to the slower PTB. No wonder we haven’t been within farting distance of a GF since.

    Maybe I can fart further than you, but we were pretty close to the Grand Final in 2010, losing by 1 point to the Dragons (grand final winners) in the preliminary final under controversial circumstances. And then we lost by 2 vs the Warriors (grand final runners up) in the 2nd week of the finals in 2011.



  • @Juro:

    @Cultured Bogan:

    Of course, it could have been different had rival teams tried to match the entertaining play that led to Wests Tigers’ triumph in 2005 instead of focusing on how to shut them down.

    That works the other way around as well. So many years we pissed away since 2005 trying to play that brand of football while other teams adjusted and adapted to the slower PTB. No wonder we haven’t been within farting distance of a GF since.

    Maybe I can fart further than you, but we were pretty close to the Grand Final in 2010, losing by 1 point to the Dragons (grand final winners) in the preliminary final under controversial circumstances. And then we lost by 2 vs the Warriors (grand final runners up) in the 2nd week of the finals in 2011.

    A “crappy” analogy I guess Juro, but nonetheless, did the teams that won the finals both in 2010 and 2011 win on the back of the football we were renowned for? We looked good those years, but we were still outdone by more conventional teams.


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