It’s amazing what can occur when a team sticks to the basics in the game of Rugby League.
You know, things like doing the hard yards up the middle of the ruck, getting to the end of your sets of six and putting a good kick in, therefore allowing your team a chance to dominate territory. They’re not the most glamorous of pursuits, but the principles are the same for everyone.
You ignore them at your peril.
It matters not whether your side is a professional outfit playing in front of thousands, or the local under19’s running around on a Saturday morning in front of no one, there are no exceptions.
If you think otherwise, go on, try it, defy convention, take a short cut, close the door on the time honoured tradition of working hard, laying the foundations of success in the opening quarter of an encounter, and see what happens.
Take the New Zealand Warriors, for example. For the first six weeks of the season, they naively approached each match with the belief that by playing attacking football, offloading at will, they would score more points than their opposition. Defence was nothing more than an afterthought.
Well, they offloaded all right; offloaded any chance they had of winning. If you are going to offload at will, just make sure will is on your side.
More often than not, the offloads were tried in precarious positions that were far from advantageous, and usually ended up with the boys from Mt Smart giving away possession in their own half. This their foe took advantage of with unabated glee.
They were the ones scoring all the points, not the Warriors.
Confidence levels slipped with every error, until, in rounds five and six, the performance of the Warriors was of such an abject nature, that the only will in the near vicinity of their performances was the will to stand still in a pit full of asps.
So, just when their season appeared to be slipping from their grasp, they turn up to Mt Smart today for their round seven match-up with South Sydney, and, to a man, they had an attitude that allowed them to put a hold on their slide into oblivion, ending their dismal run of form, showing that, yes, they’ve got talent.
And how did they do this?
Well, it’s simple really. They cut out all of the errant offloading and stuck to the basics.
Lo and behold, they won.