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Whats the Golden Point? We want a result

I sat on the halfway line at Toyota Park on Monday night watching NSW halves Todd Carney and Mitchell Pearce trade a series of hopeful yet ultimately ineffective field goal shots from halfway during the ‘golden point’ period.

During this desperate exchange, the last thing on my mind was the barrage of criticism that the golden point would be about to receive from the NRL community.

Is it the fault of the golden point that both the Sharks and the Roosters weren’t good enough to score any points in 10 minutes of additional football?

Here is a list of the main arguments that have been made against the golden point over the last week.

1. A draw would be fairer. Each team deserves a competition point – NRL fans and players are left devastated when a field goal in golden point period decides the outcome of a game. This way everyone is happy.

Sport has never been, and will never be, fair. The best teams don’t always win and the scores aren’t always level at the end of 80 mins just because both teams have played as well as each other.

2. There is no difference between losing by one point in 80 minutes, or in 90 minutes.

Paul Gallen and his fellow charges were left disappointed and dejected as Cooper Cronk potted a 40m field goal in the 74th minute to sink hopes of a NSW win in 2012 State of Origin 3 at Suncorp Stadium. The loss wouldn’t have been any more painful if it occurred in the 84th minute.

3. Referees put their whistles away during the golden point period, making that 10 minute period a farce.

Whilst this point is often true (I saw this first hand on Monday night), referees also duck the big calls in the last 10 minutes of regular time when scores are level or close.

Instead of changing the golden point system we should be asking Bill Harrigan and his referees why they don’t blow their whistle when the game goes down to the wire. Don’t change the game to accommodate mediocrity. Instead, make perfection a requirement to win in the extra ten minutes.

4. Only 1 NRL coach is in favour of the golden point. Coaches claim that the golden point period leads to negative football. Scrap it.

Why are we listening to NRL coaches?

These are the same guys who have employed wrestling coaches in order to slow down the play the ball. Over the years coaches have also successfully advocated the introduction of more ‘interchanges’ per game, which has lead to smaller and more skilful players being bashed by fresh big forwards at the back end of the game.

NRL coaches want what is best for them (a safe 1 point), not what is best for the game.

5. A ‘golden try’ period would be fairer and more exciting.

If the ‘golden try’ was implemented teams would do whatever they had to do to stop a try being scored, including being offside at marker or inside the 10 metres – knowing full well that they could give away a penalty in front of the posts and avoid losing to a penalty goal.

It would lead to more negative football because teams wouldn’t be rushing up to stop a field goal attempt, which often opens up opportunities for the ball player to spot gaps in the on-rushing defensive line. We would also have more draws at the end of 90 mins.

It has been fashionable to bag the golden point this week not only because of how terrible both the Sharks and Roosters teams played during that period on Monday night, but also the 80 minutes of dire football that preceded it. If either side had played well during the golden point and kicked a field goal or scored a try, one team would have been ecstatic and the other disappointed. And isn’t that what sport – and in particular rugby league – is all about?

::Andrew Tilley



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