The NRL is to blame for all of the dives and ‘cat’ like behaviour seen in the game today.
Because they’ve made an abomination of the games rules. The rules were once clear cut, black and white. There was no conjecture over their interpretations. In fact, there were no interpretations, they were that clear cut.
Nowadays they’ve taken well defined rules, made them guidelines; took all of the black and white and made it all grey. This overwhelming mass of grey area has left the door wide open for every player, coach, man and dog to complain about some aspect of the game, which in turn leads to the NRL adding another rule with several variations and interpretations.
The governing body of this game seems to have forgotten that Rugby League is a contact sport. People will get hurt, accidents do happen. As it stands, accidents are outlawed, unless they were unintentional accidents, but that depends entirely upon what day of the week the incident happened and whether the player being charged is in line for rep duties or not.
Consequently, players are taking dives and milking penalties, not because they are soft, but because they can due to the amount of infringements in the game. Rugby League has always been the faster, more free-flowing version of Rugby; however all of these constant additions and tweaking of rules is making the game so technical that it will soon be like watching American Football. Stop. Start. Stop. Start. Everyone run off and discuss the next tactic. Start. Stop. Let’s all have an expensive ad break.
This is not what people want. They want their game. A fast game where the better team that wins is the team with more skill, not the team that knows the rule book and how to execute dives at the right time to get match changing penalties and the like.
At the end of this season, the rules, especially regarding tackling, should get a complete overhaul.
Presently, the International Laws of Rugby League has seven pages of laws dedicated to tackling, more than any other section.
These should be replaced by the following:
Rule 1: There are 6 tackles to each set. When you tackle, you are not allowed to strike an opponent in the head. At all. EVER.
Rule 2: You must not ‘spear’ a player into the ground head first.
Rule 3: You may strip the ball in a one-on-one tackle.
This will soon sort out the men from the boys and will get rid of stupid penalties which do nothing but slow the game down and allow diving to creep into the game. It’s up to the NRL and its head honcho’s to do the right thing by our game for once.