What has brought about this new phenomenon in the NRL recently of teams deliberately not diffusing bombs on the full?
For many a year, it has been standard procedure to at least attempt to catch the ball on the full. But now, it seems, teams are being instructed to allow the ball to bounce.
It is hard to comprehend that a coach of NRL standard would give such instructions.
You see, at the risk of stating the obvious, a rugby league ball is of an oval shape, meaning it has two little pointy ends. Unlike a Soccer ball which has a reliable bounce, the league ball can take any direction on landing. It may bounce straight up; it may take an unhelpful ninety degree turn; it may get a chip on its shoulder and decide to go off at an inverted forty degree turn.
The only reliable thing we can assume is that it cannot be relied on.
So, then, why not catch the thing on the full? It makes sense.
Interesting that one team who always try to diffuse bombs the old fashioned way, the Melbourne Storm, are on top of the NRL ladder.
Billy Slater would never be seen letting the pill bounce.
Another who takes this more sensible route is Kevin Locke, for the Warriors. He has scored tries this year by catching the ball on the full that he would not otherwise have scored.
And last night at Mt Smart Stadium, the North Queensland Cowboys gave us a classic example on the perils of letting the steeden find the turf. Not long into proceedings, a bomb was put up by the Warriors. Instead of attempting to catch it, the Cowboys stood by and looked on as it landed and took a turn to the left, allowing a Warrior to tap the ball on to Kristian Inu, who ran five metres to score.
The reality of the situation is that Inu would never have scored if the Cowboys had caught the ball on the full.
Let us hope that this is one fad that passes through with indecent haste.