The course of play in both tests should show us all that there is a growing
gulf between SL and everyone else in the interpretation of high tackles.
Harrigan refereed as he would in an Aussie game letting the boys get on with
things but watching out for the clearly malicious shots. Contrast this with
what we are seeing in SL lately where every tackle that bounces off a
forearm or shoulder is penalised. Added to which we get the complete
over-reaction of Stevo and we have created a rod for our own backs.
RL is a tough sport played by tough guys, and this is one of the reasons
that we like it. Over recent years the British obsession with authority and
control has led to the restrictions on the players becoming ridiculous to
the point where when the British team meet up with international sides
prepared to play it tough they just can't compete. They have had all of the
more vigorous habits coached out of them to the point where when they find a
referee who is prepared to allow the game to be played as it should they
find themselves incapable of competing.
Don't get me wrong I am not advocating foul play or thuggery - we've seen
plenty of that in the glorious past of this game. What I do want to see is
the players being given their game back and being allowed to play it with
the passion and venom necessary to become World Class again.
Final point, the Kiwis were easily the better side over the course of both
games and it looks like we might struggle to get 10,000 at Watford.