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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    • Col I saw 3 more penalties that could gave gone Eels way. The most obvious was when Cleary got totally belted around the head  and was put on his back in the last 3 minutes of game.  He sprung to his feet  so as not to receive a penalty but you probably didn't notice. 

  • This single issue was the major reason Parra couldn't get in the game against the Panthers. 
    Every time The Eels kicked on the last and tackled Penrith on their 10m line, a few tackles later the Panthers got a six again. Effectively it was 6 tackle sets vs 8-9 tackle sets for about 20 minutes. That was the game right there. It was a miracle we got in front 2-0 at that point. 
    We finally got one full set in Penrith's half but we were so gassed at that point we screwed up our shapes and handed it over meekly. 
    The refs should at least be obliged to call out the reason for 6 again at the very least. 
    Btw no one talked about how Cleary created nothing with more ball and field position than any half in history. If that was Moses there'd be 10 different blogs about it. 

    • I agree lopsided matches are no fun (unless you're on the winning end - and even then they start to get dull after a while), but the 6 again has sped up the game. As always when you try and fix the bad habits incurred as a result of previous rules by adding more rules it'll only be so long before teams find ways to exploit those new rules and your "silver bullet" is now just another problem.

      I don't enjoy so many lopsided scorelines, but I do enjoy the faster game with less stoppages. Not sure what the answer is - hopefully they figure out a way to keep the speed but also stop the ability for refs to pile on momentum so quickly in one teams favour that the match gets swung so hard it's unrecoverable.

      • If you read the informative article I remember  Panthers received no 6 agains in early games including round 5 against Eels. Panthers must have addressed this problem.  I tried to look up but NRL.com stats don't include 6 again. NRL suggested  Foxsport and I had no luck there either. All ancient history now but may I suggest if you keep doing same thing on 5th tackle every single set and play leads to more 6 agains and it doesn't work out perhaps vary the play a little as nothing to loose. 

        • nrl.com  draw


    • Absolutely spot on

      penrith will choke

  • Panthers must have got those extra 3 again for the season cause there top of the ladder. 

  • May I apologise for my posts not making sense I blame auto correct and in a hurry at the time. I hope you can understand me as I found it hard too. ✌️

  • Rugby league is simply not exciting anymore to much bollocks influence from refs.Go back to the old days

  • The problem with the rule is the inconsistency. Sometimes a 6 again is given but you don't see the ruck being any different from a dozen other rucks. It's become as problematic as the ruck rules before the 6 again emerged. 

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