NRL guru Phil Gould has locked horns with Cronulla Sharks great Paul Gallen over the state of the NRL’s six-again rule just weeks after its introduction to the league.
Widely praised a game changer when it was introduced after the COVID-19 enforced break, the six-again rule has come under increasing scrutiny, particularly in light of its liberal usage by officials.
Six-again calls have almost doubled on average compared to the very ruck infringement stoppages they were introduced to replace. While that has seen a far more free-flowing and open game, it’s a blowout that Gallen argued unnecessarily shifted the balance of power in games.
Once split over their feelings toward the rule, Gallen and Gould pulled no punches when they went up against each other on Nine’s 100% Footy over their interpretation of its implementation.
GALLEN: “Gus can I sit here and say I told you so.”
GOULD: “Roll the tape back! We were talking about the obstruction rule, and you and your little mates at Cronulla cheating the referees and getting penalties for obstructions. You were making fools of the game.”
GALLEN: “Get the tape, please. I said we were in a honeymoon period here with the referees and you were giving it to me.”
GOULD: “Don’t put words in my mouth Paul, I’m telling you, you are. Roll the tape.
GALLEN: “I told you this six to go rule would come back to bite everyone in the backside. You said, ‘shut up’.
“This six-to-go rule at the moment, they are losing the plot the referees. Last year there was an average of about sick ruck infringements a game, now there’s about 11 six-to-go’s a game. That’s almost double.”
GOULD: “That’s because if you give the referees control of something, they’ll take it a mile.”
WATCH what both Gus and Gal actually said on the six-again rule when it was first introduced HERE:
Gus and Gal fire up on six-again rule
One thing the two greats could agree one, however, was the layers of confusion obstructing referees from making the correct call on a consistent basis.
“The whole thing needs to be powered down, rebooted with new software and go again,” Gould said.
“You may as well not send it to the bunker now because they don’t have a clue what they’re doing, they don’t know how to make a decision.
“They’re confusing themselves, they’ve got all these people in their ear and honestly, they have confused them to the point of paralysis.
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“There is a core group within those refereeing ranks that are the problem, they need to be removed, its as smile as that. We need to move on, time goes on. I could do it in my lunch hour. Let’s referee football, not these video games you’re playing.”
Gallen took particular aim at the captain’s challenge which has time again left fans, players and officials more confused than ever.
“The captain’s challenge has go to go, that’s the worst part of the game at the moment,” he said. “I hate the captain’s challenge.
“The thing about the six-to-go that gets me is the referees have no feel for the game.”