Forgotten rule can be killer blow
IT WAS the highly publicised new rule that rugby league has forgotten.
But the six remaining NRL coaches are being reminded a 20/40 kick could be a “momentum-swinger” in the remaining three weeks of this year’s finals.
Not a single player has successfully executed a 20/40 kick over 164 games this season.
In fact, only Brisbane’s Anthony Milford has attempted a 20/40, unsuccessfully, back in Round 5 against Manly when 10m from his own goal line. The kick narrowly missed finding touch.
NRL head of football Graham Annesley said the 20/40 kick option was still tucked away in the “back pockets” of clubs if they were “bold” enough. With the remaining five games expected to be tight and physical, coaches and officials are thinking a 20/40 kick could be the shock tactic to change a game.
Teams battling to bring the ball out from within their own 20m zone have been encouraged to take the gamble.
Asked could it be surprise strategy in the finals, Wests Tigers and former Souths premiership-winning coach Michael Maguire said: “Definitely. If you can pull it off, it’s a massive play. It would be a momentum-swinger.”
The new rule was introduced last December where a team in possession can earn a tap restart from kicking inside their own 20m zone and finding touch within the opposition’s 40m line. It is, essentially, the reverse of a 40/20.
“The fact that it hasn’t been widely used doesn’t mean that opportunity doesn’t still exist. It’s still in the back pocket of teams to use if they’re bold enough and if they think that the reward justifies the risk,” Annesley said.
“When we introduced the rule we were aware it wouldn’t be widely used but it was intended to provide an opportunity for teams, particularly when they’re trying to work their way back into a game.”