Something that has quickly crawled into the sport of rugby league is players faking injury to win the penalty, and it’s damaging the image of the sport.
Rugby league to this day prides itself as being one of the toughest sports in history with only the bravest taking on the game. However, recent televised games have shown attributes that a fan would often see in football.
That is of course the new development of faking injuries.
Yes, rugby league is a hard sport and injuries do happen. A 120kg Scott Taylor landing on you must hurt. But televised games are providing chances for players to win penalties, and quite frankly it’s annoying the average fan.
Players are now seen going down to be treated as they know referees will blow for a penalty once the video referee has reviewed the incident and this is something the sport is quite new to in 2018.
Rightfully or not, Hull FC had two players sin-binned, and whilst both proved evident of foul-play, it’s not something that would have been picked up by the man in the middle, Ben Thaler, on a day without the BBC cameras.
The Black and Whites went on to concede twice during their 11-man stint and this undoubtedly changed the game.
On those occasions, the Saints players did require treatment for the knocks sustained. However, the situation has now created a grey area between when an injury is genuine and when a penalty is being played for.
One man, who has the bigger say over anyone, is veteran Jamie Peacock, who played just short of 500-career games in the sport. He was one of many who could no long hold in his opinion and tweeted:
I watched a lot of #rugbyleague this weekend. I can’t not say it. I’m sick to death of players faking injury or spending a eternity on the floor injured only to get back up and play on… The respect our game has is built on players toughness…please start showing this again..
— Jamie Peacock MBE (@JamiePeacock10) June 3, 2018
It’s hard to argue with the Leeds Rhinos legend, who summed it up perfectly in a 240-character tweet.
The foundations of the game is built on the strength and resilience of players and losing this would mean losing a big chunk of our great sport.
There’s no debating that referees are under scrutiny at the minute, but players must also play their part to keep fans interested in rugby league.
The fact that Englishman Sam Burgess broke his cheekbone in the opening minutes of the 2014 NRL and went on to inspire his side to lift the Grand Final trophy displays just how tough the players are, and deservedly stole the headlines across the globe.
Burgess is the pinnacle of a player within the game, and is an unbreakable machine on the playing field. If we lose this desire and toughness, we lose a lot in our sport.
In the Super League, Patrick Ah Van defied all odds to score a try with a broken arm earlier in the season in Widnes’ 40-12 victory over Catalans Dragons.
Another famous case includes former forward and hard-man Paul Wood, who ruptured his testicle in the second half of the 2012 Challenge Cup final for Warrington Wolves, and continued to put his body on the line before going to the hospital after the match.
Now, I’m not saying this is expected from every player. Definitely not, and injuries do happen within the sport. But these examples prove how determined players can be and why rugby league has the reputation it has to this day.
Something we enjoy as rugby league fans is looking at our players and agreeing just how physical they are and how they can’t be compared to by any sport. This needs to continue for the image of the game, but also for the history books.
And on a side note, what ever happened to calling the referee ‘sir’? Growing up, that was all that the referees were to be called by from players and spectators. The ongoing issue about abuse towards the referee needs stomping out by the governing body, and quickly. But that’s a discussion for another day…
Here are a selection of views taken from social media about this issue…
In our sport, if you’re not injured, you get up and carry on. Players need to stop this bullshit now. It’s simply not rugby league – Especially during televised games.
— Chris Thorman (@Chris_Thorman6) June 3, 2018