Ever since the Romans began their quest to rule the world, there have been changes to Rugby League rules.
While Nero was fiddling as Rome burned, the then Rugby League supremo, Fortius Twentius, introduced the ball to the game, which saw about a hastened evolution of the sport. His work was so innovative that all future administrators of the game had at some point in time agreed to name a new rule after the great man.
It wasn’t until the lesser NRL boss, David Gallop, introduced the 40/20 rule that the great Fortius Twentius was immortalised in Rugby League.
There have been many other rule changes, but none of them had the most dramatic and successful impact on the game as this.
But the game now is at a point where it is in dire need of a new rule which will take the game to an all new level.
With Rugby League finally infiltrating American Television, on Extreme sports channel Spike, maybe it’s time to realise that Rugby League is a borderline extreme sport.
Why not make it more extreme?
Now I’m not suggesting we play the game on a precipice or while falling from a plane. Quite the contrary in fact.
Keeping in mind the great concept introduced by Fortius Twentius, I propose a number of new rules to take the game to a new level.
There are two parts to the rules, focussing on enhancing attack, defence and, erm…a touch of violence.
Firstly, the attacking team will be allowed to use two footballs when attacking. Both ball carriers must be tackled before both balls can be played, although not simultaneously. If one ball carrier is tackled, that player and his tackler, or tacklers are not allowed to continue playing until the other ball carrier has been tackled. If both players manage to score a try with both balls being active, then that team will be awarded two tries. Both conversions will need to be taken by different players.
Secondly, and most excitingly, is the rule I have proposed for the defensive side. With the massive advantage that the attacking side has by having two balls to play with (apologies for the double entendre which wouldn’t be out of place on “Are you being served.”), the defensive side needs an equaliser so to speak.
Thus, we come to the rule which takes this game to the extreme.
The defending team will be allowed to have 3 extra defenders on the field. The defending side will also be allowed to throw punches whenever they feel inclined.
An attacking player is not allowed to throw the first punch, but they can throw as many punches they like after the first punch is thrown.
Kicking, biting, kneeing and the like are all heavily penalised. If a player, off-the-ball can get his opponent on the ground with a grapple without tripping manoeuvres, will also score his side an extra point, be they an attacking or defending player.
If there is a knock on then there will be a normal 6 man scrum formation employed by both sides. The first play from the scrum will be in the traditional 13-a-side format.
Teams will be encouraged to fight, push and rake for the ball in the scrums. There will be no scrum related penalties. Once the attacking and defending side has been confirmed, the defending side will have to run out their extra players without any stoppages to play. The referee will place a second ball on the ground in the middle of the field for the attacking team.
All other rules currently employed in the game will still stand.
These changes will actually mean that two referees on the field can be properly justified and they will both actually have something to do other than being a pain in the backside.
All the NRL will need to do is properly market this concept, images of fighting, scintillating tries, heavy tackles, grappling all to the soundtrack of a new Metallica song. This alone will see the sport become massive in America, with the great possibility that it will tap into the massive professional wrestling market.
This is set to be the greatest sporting rules advancement in any game since that great man from ancient Rome introduced the football to the game.
So, in the great words of Douglas Renholm from the TV Program “The IT Crowd”:
“Pucker up boys! It’s hammer time.”