PRINTCAST! The Golden Point conundrum and the lost art of the field goal

Do you love podcasts but hate the inconvenience of having to find some headphones to listen to it? Or when you do find them they are more tangled and confusing than an episode of Lost?

Then we may just have the solution for you. 

26 rounds presents the world’s first ‘Printcast’.  It’s the very best aspects of a podcast — multiple people unqualified to deliver the answers but doing their best impression of making you think they can — but in an easy to digest, smartphone/PC/tablet friendly format. Yep, it’s all readable, like a transcript derived from a lack of actual talking.

Our chat was all done via email — because like mushrooms and emos, we prefer to stay in the dark.

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Printcast!

The first Printcast features three people you may have inadvertently come into contact with over the past year; three people who have never met each other and likely never will.

The first is Jake Jarmel (@26Rounds), he of the Shawshank and Seinfeld quote and the founder of the website you’re on right now. He’s a Roosters headcase, part-time love-maker and useless with a power drill. Feel free to follow 26 Rounds on Facebook, and also spread the word.

The next holds a PhD in statistical analysis and can make a graph with his eyes closed. Dr NRL (@Dr_NRL) is the Rain Man of rugby league blogging, able to tell you in a heartbeat which player is the worst defender in the NRL. He also freaks out at blackjack tables and his brother is a Scientologist (probably). Just thank the stars he’s not Conrad Murray.

His excellent blog is a must-read, and he often contributes throughout the season to 26 Rounds in the comments section. 

Finally, we have Mitch, otherwise known on Twitter as @ItsMitchell180. He’s a Simpsons fiend and the connoisseur of #crisis, possessing a rapier wit and a non-sexual man crush on Dave Smith.

This may be a bust, or it may be awesome. But regardless: the format is a work in progress. We look at it as the podcast you can listen to at work, because your eyes are suddenly your ears.

Our first instalment attempts to get a consensus on what the hell we should do with Golden Point, if anything. The irony of the discussion will be felt in the last paragraph, but before we get there, allow me to kick it off. I hope you enjoy.

(By the way: If you would like to get involved, get in touch via the contact link in the menu above; it’s open to all who have an opinion. If you have an idea, let’s throw it around via email. And if its about the Roosters, you know you have me the moment you say hello.)

Golden Point, and the lost art of the field goal

@26Rounds.

@26Rounds.

Jake Jarmel (@26Rounds): Everyone is demanding changes to the Golden Point conundrum. The main criticisms are that it’s a field-goal-athon, does not in any way encourage try scoring and is exciting only because it’s tied.

Many are calling for golden try as an alternative; some, like Peter Sterling, are calling for it to be scrapped altogether in favour of the draw after 80 minutes.

Personally, I think we have moved beyond the 80-minute draw — extra time is without a doubt exciting, and to revert back would only invite the “it’s like kissing your sister” cliché soundbites from players. And that cliché both sucks and offends sister kissers.

I think the first order of business is to give each team involved in an extra time game a point on the ladder, regardless of the outcome. The winner of the extra time would get another point. This immediately stops the bleeding hearts across Australia bitching on behalf of the team that ends up with nothing, and it rewards them for putting in a solid 80-minute effort.

It will also give those in the media one less thing to bleat about. Buit having said that, they are amazingly adept at looking at a blue sky, finding the one cloud and calling the day “overcast”, so who the heck knows.

As for the extra time itself: why not play extra time, period? As in the full 10 minutes? Just let them play and highest score after the 10 minutes wins. If you are in field goal range, by all means have a crack — but know that the other team could be awarded a penalty or score a try afterwards.

Golden try offers more questions than answers: What if a team says “screw it” and kicks a field goal anyway? Is that point disallowed? That would seem unfair to the team who kicked it well enough from decent position that they earned.

For mine, just standard overtime which ends after 10 minutes works — and if teams are already guaranteed a point, they would throw caution to the wind with some attacking football, knowing that they’d have a chance to still move up the standings with a win.

It would still be exciting for the fans too, in theory, as even if they kick a field goal the game is not over — and if they score a try? Wow. I can only imagine the brand of attacking footy that could ensue as the other team scraps to try and get a try and the extra point on offer.

It should – also, in theory – help with the shitty refereeing that is evident in Golden Point as referees would not be fearful of deciding the outcome with a penalty in front of the post, as a potential blundered call on their part would necessarily determine the final score.

But after the refereeing last year when the Roosters were the most penalised team in 20 years, I’ve all but given up on them, sadly.

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@ItsMitchell180

Mitchell180 (@ItsMitchell180): I am one of the few that likes golden point as it is. However, if we do need to make a change, I do like the idea of each team getting a point with the overall winner in overtime getting the extra point.

My main beef for a while now is that golden point is entering Year 11 and the majority of teams are still awful at executing a damned field goal!

Source: Twitter.

Source: Twitter.

What are the halves coaches doing these days? Teams are taking pot shots from 45 metres out and are barely getting them off the ground; the kickers are totally out of position when taking what should be an easy shot; what the hell is going on?

I agree that we have moved past the old fashioned 80 minute draw. But is Golden Try the saviour? I can see it resulting in more draws and 80 per cent of the time the most boring 10 minutes imaginable. So in a rare occurrence I think I agree with Jake.

However, my “Golden Idea” (I’m here all week, #trytheveal) is having the set 10 minutes of extra time, but first tryscorer wins. If no tries are scored, but someone has kicked, say, two field goals, they win at the end of 10.  We would see the referees feeling freer to blow a penalty when there is one for a change; I can’t remember the last time I saw a penalty in Golden Point for offside, and it would be a welcome sight to see referees blow the whistle for infringements because, you know, it;s kind of their job.

Having said all this, if there are no changes and it looks like there won’t be this year, I wouldn’t have a problem either. Coaches need to take more responsibility and better coaching and not blame the game for once.

Jake Jarmel: So your idea, in essence is golden try, but if no try occurs then highest score wins? Here is my problem with it (welcome to Jarmel hell, Mitch):

What if a team kicks five field goals, or three penalty goals, but then the other team scores the “golden try”? Does that team win even though the score would be 5 or 6 to 4?

Source: News.

I agree with you though that the status quo would be OK if teams knew how to kick a damn field goal.

What happened to the lost art? Of all the halfbacks in the game, I can name five off the top of my head that can really nail them: Chris Sandow, Adam Reynolds, Daly Cherry-Evans, Cooper Cronk and Jamie Soward. Three of those guys can execute a running game with some form of consistency (and I’m including Reynolds in this discussion because he really took off with that aspect of his game mid-last year).

Two of those played reserve grade last year, with one of THOSE having an over-inflated sense of self-worth.

Mitchell Pearce has all but given up the practice (although the Roosters didn’t play in a single Golden Point match in 2013) and the Roosters didn’t kick one at all from memory all of last year.

But I guess they didn’t need to, what with winning the premiership and leading the competition in both attack and defence and all. To quote Mel Brooks: “It’s good to be the king”.

And Mitch, this whole “agreeing” thing has got to stop. I’m feeling weird about this:

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Mitchell180: I see the can of worms with my idea. If I start getting into if the try wins game but they’re behind on the scoreboard, hmmmm…

Yeah, that’s about as clear as mud.

But again, all of this would not be an issue if teams knew how to kick a field goal. Even those players you listed had some shocking attempts last year. I understand pressure, but so many players seem to panic at the concept of kicking a field goal.

Say what you want, Soward does this better than most. Source: The Epoch Times.

Soward is much-maligned but boy he does it the right way: he gives himself plenty of room to take the shot i.e. not a metre away from the ruck. And he can really strike it.

I would like to say ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ but everyone seems to say its broken. But I don’t listen to coaches any more as their interests are different from those of the fans – the obstruction rule last year comes to mind.

Now I hate my idea. I say leave it as it is with the subtle change of each teams is guaranteed 1 competition point and the extra time is a battle for the extra point.

Oh, and would it kill coaches to conduct some more training drills for field goals?!?!

I’ve done a full 180. Thanks Jake!

Jake Jarmel: I’m glad we are disagreeing once again; all is right with the world. Pigs are no longer flying and hell has definitely thawed somewhat.

The status quo is OK, but (and this isn’t meant to be arrogant yet it’s gonna sound awfully self-aggrandising) I think my idea has some merit. It seems weird to have a sudden death after 80 minutes of beating the crap out of each other, and while nothing is stopping them from attempting a try it seems it’s easier to attempt a field goal from beyond half way rather than kick it into the corners and trust your defence to force an error.

Also the five minute half time limits the ability to do this. Just make it 10 minutes of overtime and that’s it.

Doc, what is your hypothesis of Golden Point? Does it need open heart surgery?

@dr_nrl

@dr_nrl

Dr NRL (@Dr_NRL): Hard to agree w Sterlo, he of the “30 metre re-start if the ball goes dead” idea. I mean, come on…

…however, I have to agree with him on this.

Golden Point is a hopeless joke, foisted upon us by the NRL bureaucracy who seem to be trying to take the pleasure of footy out of the game through non-sensical and absurd rules just so the networks make a bit of extra advertising cash. Golden Try is not much better – and don’t get me started on the ‘players dropping off every couple of minutes’ malarkey.

(I know the NRL has partnered up with touch footy, but this idea is the pits. It’s akin to the  BBL Super Over which, we can agree from the Sixers v Scorchers anti-climax a couple of weeks ago, just isn’t the idea they thought it would be… but I digress.)

The problem for the NRL is that, for the past 11 years, they have proved incapable of learning from what has degenerated into a farce.

Referees clearly change their style in GP, which both isn’t fair and isn’t exciting. And so do the teams – it’s not the same game. It’s Inspector Clouseau on steroids with field goal attempts that can only be described as abominations to the great game. Every team is off side in GP – every time. And the spectacle is diminished as a result. Nothing interesting is happening, it’s just ruck it up and drop-kick the ball.

Your idea of each team earning a point each upon reaching extra time strikes me as a tad unfair though. What about teams which lose by a point in REGULAR time? If teams should be rewarded for losing in this way, why not give teams NEGATIVE points if they lose by 20!

If teams are getting a point for losing, then the entire points structure needs an overhaul, Super 15-style, with bonus points for all teams losing within a converted try. I actually prefer this as a reward to overall consistency through the season, and it should ensure a better finals series too.

I prefer the draw as it stands, but if extra time simply HAS to be an option, then I agree a British Open total score format – 10 mins to score as many points as possible: whether that’s 43 field goals or two converted tries.

Jake Jarmel: Hmmm — I think we are looking at the one-point for extra time from two separate angles. You see it as a point for losing, where I see it as a draw and the two battle it out for an extra point rather than it being a loss for one team. But I get the concern; some clubs will see it as that negative, and it wouldn’t be beyond the NRL clubs and the media to extrapolate and hammer away at the negative.

It’s the same way people think immediately that if a player takes an early plea he gets three weeks but if he contests it and loses he gets punished with an extra two weeks — when really it’s the other way around. You start with five weeks and get a discount for not wasting everyone’s time.

I just hate the draw. I think everyone forgets the utter emptiness they used to feel after a drawn game in 80. The 10 minute extra time, for mine, does create an extra bit of excitement and a draw at the end of that doesn’t seem as bad for some unexplainable reason.

I doubt they are going back to a draw. It seems unlikely given, as you mentioned, the revenue they make from extra ads is enough for broadcasters to turn the screws and demand it stays in, but in what form is the question.

If we had the 10 minutes, most points wins but the losing team gets nada, we’d get the same old argument from the losing coach (without fail) and from the likes of Sterlo saying “what is wrong with a draw there at the end of 80?”

I guess the point is that there is no consensus really, and no matter which way you slice it someone is going to be pissed.

However, unlike Buzz, I don’t think the rule is driving people away from rugby league which he implied in this post over the holidays. I haven’t heard one single fan say “I’m not going to the game as there’s a chance it could go to GP”. I have no idea why attendances were down, but that wasn’t the reason.

Maybe it was the struggle of the Western teams that all felt a dramatic drop in attendances? Whatever it was, it wasn’t because people were worried about the possibility of 10 extra minutes of football. When he claims that the NRL isn’t listening to the fans, he might as well be talking about himself. He makes arguments and claims he speaks on behalf of the people, based on some shitty poll they ran which has no scientific merit.

The NRL ran a targeted fans forum/survey and showed they are listening. But change is not bound to be enacted straight away. It could take more than a season, and certainly shouldn’t be based on the ramblings of an opinionated media.

If you recall, Buzz actually called for the set NRL schedule so fans could plan their trips in advance:

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/phil-rothfield-sets-out-ten-issues-the-nrl-commission-must-tackle/story-e6frexnr-1226267187845

He then complained about the set schedule halfway through the year because it ruined the Friday Night game, which eventually devolved into a mis-match of teams expected to compete at the start of the year but many of which ended up disappointing: http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/buzzwords/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/monday_buzz_fridays_not_on_my_mind/.

That, my friends, is what they call “creating your own news”. If he is the voice of the fans, then the game is screwed.

Dr NRL: Ah Buzz, lol…

I like a draw: 80 minutes, go see how many points you can score versus the other team…

The extra 10 minutes merely makes it 90 minutes total rather than 80, but it’s still better than a GP, or GT. AND … It’s real footy, not the jerkoff-athon of GP.

But on the subject of points, imagine you lose five GPs and are awarded 5 competition points (as opposed to none), compared to a team who loses 5 matches by 1-2 pts. I reckon the latter are being stiffed! Neither team has won any matches. I reckon bonus pts might be the answer.

Rugby league has no problems from an entertainment standpoint. Bonus points would be a reward only for consistency. Imagine missing the eight because you lost half a dozen games by a handful of points (or a Tasmanian handful,  six points) … so I’d leave it at a point for coming within six of the winner. I could support the one-point-for-losing-in-extra time idea in that case…

Mitchell 180: My head is in #crisis!

Dr NRL: Mine’s always in #crisis!

Jake Jarmel: I think the points-for-all position has merit if you consider it a draw in a sense, albeit with an extra 10-minute period to decide who gets the bonus point for playing the extra 10.

However, the complaint is noted. And I guess that’s the point of all this discussion.

Whatever the answer is, there are bound to be people who don’t like the given solution. Golden try offers up more questions than answers, and activates those loopholes that the media are bound to exploit.

Extra time alone will lead to complaints that we are working our athletes too hard.

A loser in extra time gets no points, leading to the argument that “isn’t a draw good enough?”

A point for all leads to those who lose in regular time by a point to complain that they didn’t get a point for losing either.

Golden point is a field-goal-a-thon that has purists fuming especially because only five people can kick them in the NRL, apparently.

A draw after 80 means we’re all be shagging our sisters after 80 minutes (yes, I turned the cliché up to 11: sue me).

Bonus points? Hmmm… should teams be rewarded for losing, which is the argument AGAINST the points-for-all proposal?

Are we back to square one?

Shit.

Mitchell 180: Clear as mud.

Super Rah-Rah has all the points systems ever thought up, I believe: winning by more than 7, losing by fewer than 7, scoring 4 tries… bloody hell, the ladder would become a mess and dare I say, a #crisis!

With extra time, I don’t think there is a perfect plan, unless you play for a set 10 minutes…then if it’s still a draw you play until first scorer as it is in extra time in the finals after the 10.

But for regular season games it’s too much I’d say. A point each at full time for a draw and 10 minutes to get the extra point I like. Yes a loser might get 1 point for losing overall, but after 80 they didn’t lose.

Jake Jarmel: Where the bloody hell are you, Lara Bingle? First it was agreeing, then a 180, then another 180 back to my idea — are you dizzy?

Mitchell 180: Yep, I’ve got literally no idea where I am now.

Dr NRL: We can all agree that Golden Point is about as 2014 as Silverchair though, right?

Jake Jarmel: There’s three different takes on this. What a clusterfuck! I guess this Printcast is ultimately a metaphor for Golden Point: three guys having a crack at a field goal and coming up with nothing.

Like they say in Alien: In space, no one wins.

(That’s the quote, right?)

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17 responses to “PRINTCAST! The Golden Point conundrum and the lost art of the field goal

  1. I believe that if after 80 minutes it’s a draw then split the points, but if we have to have golden point, then I like the idea of teams losing in golden point getting a point as reward – but don’t like the idea that some games would be worth more than others (a normal game 2 points, or a draw after golden point also 2 points – but a golden point game with a winner 3 points). That way leads to possible collusion between teams to advance both at the expense of a rival who may have lost on a Friday night towards season end. Not to mention betting… So how about every game being worth 4 points. For an normal time win 4 points. If after 80 minutes its a draw both teams are awarded 1 point then they play off for the other 2…if still a draw the other 2 split. So you end up with 4 points for a win, 3 for a extra time win,with 1 for a golden point loss, or 2 each for a drawn match.

    The more serious problem however is Golden point games in semi-finals and even the Grand Final. The extra time in finals matches – and especially the GF, should definately be 10 minutes each way.

    Like

    • I don’t mind the four point solution at all, does make sense when you break it down like that!

      I’d like to think though that collusion would be beyond the NRL, but perhaps it isn’t. If teams collude on that type of stuff then the game would have bigger problems than we would like to think.

      That would come back to match fixing etc — and hopefully NRL players are far too competitive to allow that.

      But great points, i like the four point solution. A lot.

      And yeah, Golden point needs to be changed immediately for the finals. That’s a hideous way to go out, and it shouldn’t be sudden death.

      Like

    • Oh, I do so agree about collusion! Anyone who can still count their chromosomes understands that this will only be an increasing problem moving forward.

      Only this morning we had a timely reminder of this on the front cover of the Tele – NRL STARS FORCED TO HAND IN PHONES.

      The NRL clearly knows a lot more than we do (not about formulating rules, though!), but the point is that we, as the public, already know quite a lot even without all the sordid details. The trend is unmistakeable.

      And this is precisely why I don’t like ‘losing’ teams to be awarded a point, when teams losing by, say, 1pt, get nothing. It is clearly open to manipulation as a ‘free’ point, and as unfortunate as it is to say, it’s a clear and present danger in our sport. My view is that it’s best to remove all doubt (and temptation, if possible).

      Your suggestion of a finite set of points per game is a remarkably simple and effective one. If the total points per match are going to be ‘variable’, then bonus points for close finishes is the answer. This rewards the deficit team, and maintains interest in the finish while eliminating extra time altogether (my preference).

      For a finite pool of points per match, awarding more than 2pts for the win as you propose is the answer (whether it’s 3 or 4).

      The worst aspect of Golden Point, in my opinion, is that it is still used for Finals matches. This is an appalling way to decide a match, let alone a Major Semi. All Finals should be the old-style 5-min each way (or 10) and total score wins. If they need to do it again, so be it (though a regular season game would remain a draw at this point).

      All things considered, I still like the draw.

      Rgds,

      The Dr 😉

      Like

      • My only counter to the collusion point is this: we havent seen it in rugby ( or maybe they have and im just not aware of it). But their bonus points system is open to similar tactics… let in a couple of late tries and what not?

        Like

  2. If asked about the extra 10mins to get a result Jack (Gibson) would have said, if you can’t separate ’em after 80 what make’s you think you can do it after 90? If a result is what you want then toss a coin.

    And as Rab’s says, that’ll do me.

    Like

    • Very true, and that’s the defence of Golden Point. My theory though is that the 80 minutes is to decide the two; any extra time is for the bonus point.

      As Enmore Chook pointed out, there could be the possibility of collusion but nothing is stopping a team from doing that now really, especially towards the end of the season.

      Like

      • See J.J, that’s where you’re a glass half full kind of guy and I forever the pessimist.
        Perhaps I should have written “guaranteed result” above.

        Jack would have had a field day with you 🙂

        Like

    • I’ve got so many splinters sitting on the fence haha…I like golden point and my biggest beef is the kicking attempts are still so poor, my head is still in recovery from all the emails

      Like

      • the emails?

        But yes, it truly is a conundrum. Hard to pick which side works but a four point system does for mine, as mention by Enmore Chook. That’s only if everyone is unhappy with Golden Point to begin with and it truly is a tough one to gauge.

        Like

  3. Collusion by individual teams isn’t necessary in Super Rugby as the relative weakness of the Australian Conference means that it isn’t necessary for the South African teams to manipulate scores/results to get two teams into the semi’s – but I would suggest they would if they had too… However the draw and the qualification system has been amended to make sure that each country has at least one semi-finalist…so the collusion there is systematic and invoves SANZAR, the 3 unions and the broadcasters… I’m not suggesting collusion happens in the NRL – but we have to be sure that there is no chance that it can be possible or appear possible – especially with the amount of gambling involved. We have had attempted result tampering already…just it wasn’t successful!

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      • I wouldn’t think it (the four point system) would increase the chances of collusion anymore than the existing points system.
        A system where one game could give the competing teams 3 points between them, whilst the other games only give 2 could though. For example – and this is just total SPECULATION, it could be any teams – would obviosly like to play semi finals in Queensland, and they always play each other twice a season… now if a lot of those 6 Queensland derbies a year go to extra time – then relative to the other teams in the comp the odds of them getting to play semi-finals in Queensland go up, as they split up to 6 extra points a year amoungst them. And of course derbies are often hard fought and close – so it may just be a fluke that over a number years this pans out as statistically relavent – BUT the perception of collusion would arise as soon as some statictician noticed…

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  4. Enmore Chook has got it with the 4 points per game idea. I would also propose that a 1 point lead in extra time cannot win the game while there is time left. Eg – if team A scores a try or penalty goal, game over. If team A kicks a fg, we keep going for the rest of the 10 mins or until a team has a 2 or more point lead.

    Like

    • I think that’s a solid idea but the only caveat there is that teams might be a little pissed if they hold a one point lead at the end of overtime and that is not deemed enough to win — even though a scoreline like that would rsult in a win during regular time…

      It’s a very basketball-esque rule and i’m not totally against it BTW, but there will no doubt be a complaint about it. And it will probably be from Souths.

      Like

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