On the 8th July I wrote about innovations in sport that were here, coming and I'd like to see. 10 weeks on, here are my reflections.
Netball – ‘two goal super shot’
As soon as it was announced I was excited by the prospect of this long range shot changing the tactics of the game. There were plenty of traditionalists and sceptics who questioned the rule change, but it has been a resounding success. Along with the rolling substitutes, the game is always alive, even though there can be a 10-15 goal margin. A couple of turn overs or the opposition misses their super shot, you drain your 2 point shots and the lead disappears.
The challenge is also for the team that is leading, do they take the much safer '1 point' shot or do they start risking it and attempt the long bombs?
Crowds, commentators and fans at home have loved the spectacle and television numbers have been at record highs. Tactics have also changed with skilful shorter players leading the way. The top 5 super shooters are: Jo Harten 188cm, Gabrielle Sinclair 176cm, Tippah Dwan 178cm, Steph Wood 175cm and Helen Housby 183cm, while the top 3 regular shooters are all 193cm+.
Jury is out
NRL - 'six again'
The positive is the speed of the game has increased with more time in play. Less of the wrestle is a great thing for the game, but there are several negatives to this rule change:
The injury toll has been unprecedented. With the COVID-19 enforced break, to then speed up the game without bodies getting conditioned, there has been too many stars watching from the stands.
With one referee the rule can be subjective and some sides (e.g. Penrith), had a squad better equipped to adjust than others. I think a little leeway needs to be given to good tacklers, particularly in the middle. These men are 110kg+ and can't just disappear off the ruck straight away.
While exciting at times and this is why it is both a pro (great comebacks) and a con (blowout scores) it has meant some rounds have been filled with big margins.
Perhaps they keep the rule in 2021, clubs have a six month preseason to adjust to it and bring back two referees with one controlling the ruck and the other offsides. Is that the right solution?
Bit cheeky here - it's meant as tongue in cheek.
AFL's Naughty players...
No grand new rules were brought in but the usually slick AFL machine has had a shocking 2020 with players (and wives) breaking the hub, fights at kebab shops, assaults and numerous fingers in private parts. It is as though they were trying to copy the NRL.
Add to it head office seems to bubble their way through things and head NRL honcho Peter V'Landys is mocking them at will.
Rugby Union just play Australian teams...
This way at least our teams get some wins each week and finals/trophy droughts have ended.