Joey be praised, the Josh Reynolds’ of the world will now have to play the ball like men because slapping players will be a sin bin offense in the NRL.
Starting this weekend.
I rarely say this but kudos to the NRL.
For those that don’t follow the game and find it somewhat amusing to hear that slapping is even a problem in what is meant to be a sport for manly men, you are not wrong.
It is objectively a funny situation.
Slapping has increased in recent years as a direct result of banning punching – evidently NRL players are smart enough to know they can’t punch their peers anymore, yet not quite intelligent enough to realise giving them a slap simultaneously diminishes both themselves and the game they profess to love.
Naturally, the footy meat heads and so-called hard men who profess to love rugby league are up in arms over this decision.
Social media claims that the NRL is ‘ruining this “noble” game I love’ and ‘the game has gone soft’ were commonplace this morning, but my favourite comment was the sincere lament by one man saying ‘imagine if Noel Kelly were playing today’.
Noel Kelly is 81 years old – if he played today he wouldn’t need to worry about the punching or slapping because he’d do a hip just getting up to play the ball.
Time has moved on champ and these idiotic comparisons to yesteryear help no one.
Look I’ll show you.
Imagine if Ned Kelly were alive today! He’d be like, ‘whaaaaat, no guns? Now the armour just makes me look dumb.’
Yes it does Ned, it really does – about as dumb as these bloody comparisons people are drawing to games played 30 years ago.
Noel Kelly, fair dinkum.
Hardness is not having a sook every time you cop a cheap shot or a bruising tackle. jumping to your feet with bottom lip dragging then punching / slapping the closest opponent.
True hardness in NRL comes from actually taking the hit and then getting back up into the defensive line to help your mates who are hurting as much as you, and to help deal back (in interest) what you just received.
It is an attrition game where the ‘bravest’ or ‘hardest’ player is the one that never quits, the one who keeps getting up.
THAT is how you get respect from your peers and fans in rugby league.
The reason the NRL is banning slapping is because it looks (and is) ridiculous – the governing body is trying to protect the IP of Rugby League and maintain its status as a hard and tough game to play.
Not a slap fest.
So get up, play the ball fast, put your bloody hand up for the next carry and rip back in even harder, then when it comes your turn to defend, give as good as you’ve got in the tackle and don’t concede an inch.
That is and has always been how Rugby League should be played.