WHEN rugby league first split from rugby union, the first thing the organizers did was lower the numbers of players who played on the field. I presume it was felt the game would improve and become more expansive with only thirteen players on the field. Whilst there were many changes this particular change was the most profound.
They were right.
100 years on and with players getting bigger, faster and stronger every generation, the question has to be asked, is thirteen to many?
The average forward in the NRL today will weigh over 100kgs and be able to run 100m in under 12-13 seconds. Backs these days are getting quite large as well, it is not unusual to have a centre three quarter who weighs over 100kgs and can still run like a centre should - extremely quick with nimble footwork.
I am of the opinion that if an NRL coach is expected to be a full-time employee, then the National coach should be too. Done properly and resourced sufficiently, all rugby league administrators, coaches, players and fans would benefit enormously.