Coaches will always obey the rules when it comes to injuries


Last Saturday in the Penrith Parramatta semi-finals, towards the end of the game, the eels were 8-6 behind and built an attack within striking distance of the Panthers’ try line.

A Panthers player was down and appeared to have sustained an ankle injury well behind the game. From the sideline, the Panthers coach called the touch judge to get the umpire to stop play, and the umpire did.

This should only happen if there is an obviously serious injury. The panthers reorganized and took a breather, and the eels lost momentum.

The Panthers held the victory but were fined for violating the violation rules. The trainer has been suspended. This did not help Parramatta, whose season was ending and they felt betrayed.

(Photo by Matt Roberts / Getty Images)

Coaches will always take advantage of the rules, as was the case with the 1969 Injury Regulations. Since then, the rules on injuries have been tightened, but coaches always seem to find loopholes.

In the 1969 grand finale between Souths and Balmain there was a competitive scrum, four tackles and a reserve. The game was completely interrupted due to all injuries. The game has changed a lot.

Two proud rugby league clubs representing the working-class neighborhoods of Sydney faced each other for the 1969 NSW Rugby League season finale in front of 58,825 spectators at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The 1969 season was the third of limited tackle football. In 1967 the unlimited tackle ended and the introduction of the four tackle rule. Teams, players, referees and fans were still adapting.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs from Redfern were NSW Rugby League premieres in 1967 and 1968. They had built a very competitive team of local juniors and country players in the early 1960s.

In 1969 they had 11 players representing Australia including John Sattler, John O’Neill, Bob McCarthy, Ron Coote, Denis Pittard, Mike Cleary and Eric Simms.

They all played for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NSW Rugby League Grand Final on Saturday, September 20, 1969. Souths were at the top of the competition table after the preliminary rounds and won the title of the small premieres.

They had beaten Balmain in the semifinals. They were big favorites, almost a certainty.

Their opponents were the Balmain Tigers. Their only Australian representative, Arthur Beetson, had been sent off and suspended a week earlier. They had an English representative in half, Dave Bolton.

On one wing was Len Killeen, a South African Union player who had played in the England League and was known for his all-round kicking skills. He was able to gain considerable distance in free kicks for ball contact or in general play and field kicks, which also had a good success rate.

The remaining Balmain players were a mix of seasoned first years, some near retirement, willing workers, and spirited youngsters. But together they had built a spirited, solid team that Souths beat once a season and finished second after the preliminary rounds.

Generic Vintage Rugby League or Rugby Union Ball

(Photo by Fox Photos / Getty Images)

Could the competitive, honest workers of the Tigers take on the Souths start team in the grand game atmosphere of the season finale? It was billed as a team of champions against a champion team. To add to the interest, there was a lot of cash for the outcome of the game. There were suggestions that might have influenced the referees of the game.

The game was played at a time when teams were only allowed one reserve and once a player went off and the reserve continued, no further changes could be made. Games often became a test of endurance and players were left on the field with injuries as long as they could stay on their feet and keep their place in the defensive line. There were other differences from the current regulations, one of which is highlighted in this game.

The Tigers led 6-0 at halftime after two penalty goals against Len Killeen and a Dave Bolton field goal, which were two points at the time. Their defense was solid and willing. Souths wasn’t going to kick the final tackle. Maybe they were overconfident and assumed an attempt would come.

Their sentences often ended with the final tackle, resulting in a scrum that was competitive at the time – pushed forward and slapped hookers with their feet after the ball. Props crowded strategic advantage. Occasionally crowds broke out with fists flying. Balmain won the scrums through the skills of their young hooker Peter Boulton.

At the start of the second half, Souths dropped the ball, Balmain rallied and scored in the corner for the next few games. Attempts were three points to make the 9-0. Balmain defended well for the rest of the game, finishing the stronger of the two teams. Towards the end of the game when Souths was planning an attack, Balmain players often went down injured.

Different rules at the time required that the game be interrupted due to injuries – while the injured player was taken care of and could get up and continue the game or had to be moved out. Many thought the number of Balmain players who went down was a deliberate ruse. Souths grew more frustrated and desperate as the game continued to argue with the umpire over the number of stoppages due to Balmain injuries.

The referee couldn’t do anything under the existing rules. Rugby league injury logs have changed in many ways. Critics claim the Tigers were the better team that day, but the game came to be known as the “Lay Down Grand Ginal” due to the number of Balmain injuries and the resulting interruptions in the final stages of the second half. The end result was Balmain 11, Souths 2.

Balmain was premiering in 1969. It should be her last. In the next few years they failed to achieve further successes due to injuries and player changes. They reached the grand finals in 1988 and ’89, but lost both. The 1988 grand finale was another classic, but that’s another story. They merged with the Wests Magpies in the 1990s.

Benny Elias

(Photo by Getty Images)

Balmain player and coach Leo Nosworthy, who passed away earlier this year, have since admitted trying to slow the game down by faking injuries in the second half.

Souths had tremendous attack capabilities with so many top-notch players. The Tigers wanted to keep them from gaining attack momentum. Everything is fair, they say.

South Sydney became Prime Minister in 1970 and ’71. After that, their stars gradually retired or were lured to other clubs for better money.

Financial problems occurred for many years. They were removed from competition in the late 1990s and had a long and difficult battle to get their return. They had to wait until 2014 for another premiere success.

Injuries and coaches. Back to 2021.

Where to go from here to the NRL with injuries and coaches?

Coaches must not be left with the powers and rights they currently have. The 2019 grand finale was marred by the commitment of the coaches.

Fines are probably not enough of a deterrent for coaches messing around with the rules, especially at large games. Could penalties for salary caps work as a deterrent?

Scott Sorensen of the Panthers leaves the field

(Photo by Matt Roberts / Getty Images)

The well-being of the players is paramount. If an injury occurs in the area being played, it seems like an easy decision – play must be stopped while the injury is dealt with.

Problems arise when a player goes down and appears injured but play has resumed and the injured player is far enough out of the immediate play area not to be considered a problem.

Usually the trainer will proceed with the assessment and may offer treatment.

However, if the breach is severe, what are the logs? Who assesses the seriousness and decides when the game must be abandoned – after the assessment of the player on the field or on the sideline? It has been shown that coaches cannot be left alone with these decisions.

Would a neutral medical officer on the sidelines be part of an answer?

In the Penrith vs.


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