Chris Rattue 's Opinion

Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue: Draw can often be the right conclusion

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Anthony Tupou and Wade Graham of the Sharks react after their 14-14 draw with the Roosters. Photo / Getty Images
Anthony Tupou and Wade Graham of the Sharks react after their 14-14 draw with the Roosters. Photo / Getty Images

A barrage of field goal attempts failed to find the mark in the NRL clash between the Sharks and Roosters leaving the match as a draw.

So what's wrong with a draw? Nothing, and it is superior to the contrived world of extra time, which puts already stressed players under further duress in the long and brutal NRL/representative season.

The golden point rule, which turns the game into a field goal competition, is inherently unfair under the standard kickoff rule which gives one side automatic possession. An Aussie Rules-style bounce would be fairer.

In the case of Monday night's extended affair, players already backing up after a torrid State of Origin match were asked to find yet more petrol in the tank. The long-term effects are hard to calculate, but will be telling.

The draw was a perfectly legitimate and exciting part of football in this part of the world before this American-isation of the NRL took over.

Normal time still offers the chance of a field goal tie-breaker. Golden point extra time is best left for the finals series. And if a draw is such a no-no concept, how come the Sharks and Roosters were allowed to leave Toyota Stadium with the competition points shared?

Over-the-top overdrive

This is why I love Aussie league and find the union code akin to a valium rush.

When Greg Inglis scored a controversial State of Origin try, the top brass, media and everyone else went into overdrive, picking the situation apart. When Andy Ellis scored a controversial try for the Crusaders against the Chiefs, out came the valium again. Okay, there was a bit of polite discussion. But the exciting thing about Aussie league is that it goes way over the top. One of the bad things about Aussie league is also that it goes way over the top.

All that emotional hogwash before the final State of Origin match in Brisbane meant a bucket was mandatory next to the couch. Not only did we get yet another Arthur Beetson eulogy, delivered this time by a stoic Phil Gould who bravely kept his sob-sob emotions in check as he wandered around Suncorp Stadium feeling Big Artie's presence, but the passing of players' mothers was smeared all over the broadcast opening.

Aussie rugby league is in constant spin overdrive - women in league, blah blah blah and all of that. Aussie league tries to portray itself as a noble cause by attaching itself to noble causes. Still, give us that over a docile New Zealand rugby scene rooted in the Kremlin-style administration which has squashed the vigour private enterprise offers along with much free thinking.

From penthouse to outhouse

A friend asked this week if Pat Lam would coach the Blues next year. The more pertinent question is: "Was Pat Lam coaching the Blues this year?" Cheap shot, yes, but Auckland rugby has never stooped this low. There are blokes in the current Blues barely good enough to be in the NPC team. One of our finest test forwards, Jerome Kaino, prefers the rugby junk yard that is Japan. The Blues have not only played badly, but there is no glamour left in what was once the most glamorous provincial rugby outfit in the world.

Fed beyond expression

Wimbledon winner and grand slam superstar Roger Federer is beyond sensational. To combine such style with an ability to obliterate opponents and records is incredible. Who knows if he is the best player of all time, or how to quantify that. Many old timers revere Rod Laver beyond all others. But apart from the exploding genius of John McEnroe, Federer - from a very different school of tennis behaviour - is the best player to watch of the past three or four decades.

Murray a pretender

All that blubbering about Andy Murray and Wimbledon is enough to make one ... blubber. Murray can't win grand slam tournaments because he ain't good enough. The only time the Scot will lift the silverware that matters is if Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal collapse due to injury and old age before a new young star or group of stars emerge. Murray wouldn't live with John McEnroe, Stefan Edberg, Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Jimmy Connors etc etc. There are way better players than Murray we've all long forgotten about. He gets so much attention because he is a Brit and the British media holds a lot of influence. If Murray was the world No1, we'd rightly bemoan the state of tennis. Murray is simply the daylight between the Big Three and the rest.

Turncoat comeuppance

How pleasurable to watch James Tamou - who thinks it's okay to be a proud Kiwi prospect one year and a proud Kangaroo the next - play in the losing New South Wales State of Origin side. It was almost as enjoyable as watching the horrible Ricky Stuart taste bitter defeat.

Hurrell not built to last

Konrad Hurrell is a uniquely powerful league player who sets the heart racing. From the moment he arrived in first grade, the Warriors' centre has gone straight through high-class opponents or dragged a posse of them along for the ride. He can outsprint players who look about half his block-square size and is already a NRL try scoring sensation. Hurrell, ignored by the Auckland rugby union outfit he wanted to play for, has superstar written all over him but injuries are a concern. A massively strong physique hurtling along at such high speed puts enormous pressure on various body parts. Grab him while you can, because Hurrell might not be built to last.

Wrestling with right words

Oh no. The brilliant netballer Casey Williams referred to this week's minor semifinal as an arm-wrestle. Next thing, she'll be talking about players having to go through the gate. Stick to your own lingo, netball. Apart from that, fingers crossed Williams' Magic will continue their amazing winning run and grab New Zealand's first win in the transtasman competition. Not that netball exactly stirs this blood, but it would be nice to break the hoodoo.

Roosters will be crowing

Finally, a heavily contrived argument.

When Brad Thorn goes to Leinster for a mere three months he embodies all that is amazing about All Black rugby - a super hero capable of saving the world who singlehandedly (by some accounts) drove the Irish club to unprecedented glory.

Hail Brad Thorn (and forget that he was also quite happy to die for the Aussie cause). But when Sonny Bill Williams sets sail via Japan for the Roosters on a short term deal, the NRL club is wasting its money on a trouble maker.

My thoughts: SBW will be a brilliant acquisition for the Roosters, so long as he does not revert to being injury-prone. SBW has attacking moves that no other NRL player is capable of delivering so regularly, and his shoulder charge is a terrific weapon. Thorn fits the mould that New Zealanders feel their great All Blacks past popped out of. Thorn was a fine test forward but he is entering the realm of fantasy figure, to the point of being over-rated as a player. Conclusion by some: Williams not only flits about, but he has played fast and loose with the almighty All Black jersey which means he won't be any good to the Roosters.

- NZ Herald

Chris Rattue

Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue writes about a wide range of sports for the New Zealand Herald. He has covered numerous sporting events for the Herald including Rugby World Cups and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Read more by Chris Rattue

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