6 Again - good article from Roy Masters

Personally I don't like the 6 again. If they want to fasten the ruck area they should look at getting rid of multiple markers and allow just one marker. 

Article cut and paste below.....


The 19th century Prussian general, Carl Von Clausewitz, wrote: "Defence is the strong form with the negative object, and attack the weaker form with the positive object."

It has been the credo of most football coaches since.

Coaches argue defence is the superior form because it represents values they seek to inculcate. It's vivid proof of putting your body on the line, team spirit, effort (and good coaching).

Ask Craig Bellamy what displeased him most about Sunday's 36-20 win over the Cowboys and he'd point to the four tries conceded.


Ask Penrith's Ivan Cleary, what pleased him most about Friday night's 20-2 victory over Parramatta and he is likely to say denying the Eels a try.

But Cleary did admit the mountain of possession and field position his team enjoyed played a role, saying it allowed the Panther to "choke them out of the game."

In other words, attack set up the victory. The Panthers had the ball for 64 percent of the game, meaning a tired Eels team, which defended magnificently, had no energy for attack.

Attack, perceived by Von Clausewitz and a cadre of coaches as the "weaker form", even though it has the "positive object" of scoring points, has become the dominating factor in winning games in the NRL in 2020.

The new six-again rule, introduced from round 3, is the main reason.

The penalties were four-all in the Panthers versus Eels match but Parramatta conceded eight ruck infringements to Penrith's three.

Given that six agains average out at four per-team, per-match, that's a disproportionate amount of possession awarded the top of the table team.

It's not as though the Panthers are heading to a minor premiership because they concede the fewest ruck infringements.

In fact, earlier this season, they led the NRL in six-again offences and at the end of round 18, are the fifth most guilty team, with 65 conceded.

Sometimes, a team is prepared to back its defence, aware that it's not the ruck infringements conceded but those which it "wins" that are important.

In fact, according to Champion Data, the Panthers have conceded only three more ruck infringements than they have received this season.

Since round 11, the Panthers have been enjoying possession off the opposition's ruck infringements at an average of approximately six per game. This continuity of possession leads to momentum and, consequently, points scored.

Yet, despite their critical importance, six-again calls don't attract much attention from commentators. This is mainly because they occur on the run and therefore avoid analysis. In fact, while run metres, errors, tackles etc are shown in half-time statistics on TV, six agains don't rate a mention.

However, with only two rounds left and the top teams about to compete in the semi-finals, ruck infringements will play a major role, particularly if the six-again call comes late in the tackle count, ensuring an entire repeat set.

Six-again calls are certainly important to coaches. When the count is running against a team, club trainers are instructed to run onto the field and inform the team captain so he can pressure the referee.

The scoreline in the final match of round 18 – Sharks 22, Warriors 14 – sums up 2020. A team must score 20 points to win, while keeping the opposition to less than 20.

It's not as if attack has improved radically in 2020. The top teams have merely adjusted their attack to accommodate new players and injuries. The rule change setting scrums in the middle of the field does allow a team to spin the ball to its preferred side, or exploit a perceived defensive weakness in the opposition. But it's the continuity of possession to the top teams from six-again calls which has resulted in the points explosion.

The turning point of the 2019 grand final came when a referee signalled six again to the Raiders, then reversed his decision and ruled a changeover from which the Roosters scored. This single six-again call was replayed endlessly on TV for weeks.

Six agains have subsequently been written into the rule book for ruck infringements. They will have an influence on the 2020 decider, despite the rulings of the referee escaping audit and media attention.

What a difference a year makes.

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  • Ive never like the 6 again rule. It just gives the referees more power to determine the outcome of games with extremely vague reasons.

  • I thought six again was good for the first few weeks before it was horribly overused and I realised how easy it is for refs to 'manage' teams back into the game and very discretely.

    You can't tell me that penalties would normally be given when all of these six agains take place.


    • Exactly Grunta. Last Friday's game was a pure example.. were parramatta that bad in the ruck . Pre 6 again the ref would take into account the location of the tackle and where it was in the set. Now they just blow whether it's 4 or 5th tackle or first.

      Roy notes the ratio was 8  / 3 6 again in Penrith favour however there are no stats showing when in the penalty count. I do remember parra getting one if not 2 on tackle 1. How the fuck does that help the attacking team.

      It was hardly mentioned by the commentators.. I thought there were at least three or 4 which were soft 6 agains.. some of the time it locked like the Penrith player would lock in the tackling parra player arms for that milli section and getting another soft 6 again

    • I agree Grunta. I don't mind the rule in place, but the NRL need to tell the refs how it should be used. The way Parra were caned on Friday was appalling. If we were that bad, how were there no penalties or sin binning? At least if a penalty is given the captain has an option to challenge it - can't do that for 6 again.

      • Spot on Longfin; we would have had a few in the bin. Look we defended well but some poor defence / errors also hurt.

    • But I can't ignore that Evans lay in tackles for a long time at one stage. If it avg 4 per game I think he gave away 3 x 6 agains. 
      we defended tough but we like always made it harder on ourselves than we needed. 

      having said that the bounce of the ball did not go our way. 

  • 6 again is a good rule but you need good refs in order to use it. If you watched the bulldogs and manly game the ref was so 6 again happy and then again for our game against panthers the ref was 6 again happy. The fewer the 6 agains, the better the game. 

  • need two refs for it one ref is flat out keeping them on side and makers square

  • 6 again insures the favoured team gets a better chance for a win - simple really.

    Remember it is the Betting Agencies who are running the game so refs will do as they are told.

    No backlash or challenge, perfect scenario for match fixing imo.

    I opposed it when it was first mentioned and I still oppose match fixing.

    If you have been paying attention you will have seen the favoured teams will get their 6 agains inside the 30 while the unfavoured teams get theirs in their own half.

    • Why would the betting agencies want match fixing? The betting agencies have the data and algorithms to absolutely know beyond reasonable doubt that they will come out well and truly on top statistically speaking - they don't need to worry about silly things like match fixing.

      All betting agencies need to know is that their (well invested and constantly innovated) methods are more statistically reliable than the average punter...and let's be honest, that isn't hard.

      6 again was introduced to speed up the game because a fast game with more points is more exciting to watch, more exciting to watch equates to more bums on seats which means more dollars. Whether it's "good for the game" is completely secondary, if it's good for the bottom line it's here to stay.

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