> Just read on text that Swann has got aone match ban for his GBH on Haigh.
> And to rub salt into the wound Auckland are considering an appeal.It looks
> like the worse the offence the lighter the sentence, as long as you don't
> touch an official, eh Mr Blease. The bloke pushes an official gets a life
> ban, Swann nearly causes Andy Haigh a broken Jaw in a malicious attack and
> gets one match UNBELIEVABLE.
The thing about match bans is that, quite often, nobody loses
out except the victim and his team The blokes doing the punching,
or whatever, are rarely (sometimes, yes, but rarely) the ones who
make the team tick. Some of the play we've seen from some Aussies -
and we have it too - has been extremely cynical almost inviting
retribution in the knowledge that this particular "crime" pays.
What seems to typically happen is that some thug puts out of
action one of the opposition who is being particularly
troublesome - i.e. scoring or getting close in a desperate
situation. Now it seems to me that if the guy goes on
report and gets banned for a game that's positive for his
side. His foul play probably saved the game for his side
one week and next week they're allowed to start with a
In the past, RL has proved itself innovative in its treatment
of offenders and in its willingness to adopt new technology.
The only way to really cure bad play is to punish the team.
This is the old "if nobody owns up then you're all getting
punished" thing which tends to work although as a punishment
I think it should be a last resort. The difficult thing is,
how to apply it?
Despite all the hue and cry it might cause, I would say that
as well as banning the player concerned, for the following
game the team would have to play the first ten minutes with
one of their number - chosen by the computer - in the sin bin.
This might well cause the team to look upon foul play by one
of their number as a bad thing, particularly if, rather than
just suspicious incidents noticed by the referee going before
the committee, any spotted by the video ref did too... If
a player was banned for five games then for five matches his
teammates would be made to regret his action.
Thugs wouldn't last long in a sport which took their actions that
seriously and it would actually encourage fair play. OK,
there might be a period when everybody tiptoed around the
field like nancies but in the end the game would be just as
hard as before but deliberately taking someone's head off
would no longer be a legitimate defensive option. (Legitimate
in the sense that you'll always get away with it.)
We're talking professional sport here and what happened to
Haigh is similar to Linford Christie tripping up the guy
in the next lane so that he doesn't get beaten and then
running in the winner! And getting awarded the race. It's
quite crazy. Jeez, some of these blokes their team is probably
better off without anyway! Mind you, the disciplinary committees
will have to tighten up their act...
P.S. "99" was the call which RU Lions captain Willie McBride introduced
on a tour to NZ (or was it SA?) whereby when the call was made each
Lion would thump the nearest opponent regardless of any other factor,
e.g. it was his best mate or they were swapping knitting patterns.
Apparently they did this once at the first sign of trouble and it worked
in that they didn't have too much bother on the field after that. :-)