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3 days ago - 2 Likes
There are a lot of things you can get away with on a rugby league field that you couldn't anywhere else. Diving is not one of them. The feigning of injury in the hope of receiving a penalty ranks somewhere on the rugby league atrocities scale between squirrel grips and poking fun at Ray Warren statues, it's just not on.
The topic of diving reared its ugly Gould like head again this week with South Sydney hooker Isaac Luke the latest to be accused of using the tactic in the Rabbitohs golden point win over North Queensland, something Luke has strenuously denied despite being offered a walk on role in Gladiator 2, Mad Maximus.
In facing such an accusation Luke joins some illustrious company, with gun players Jamie Soward, Jarryd Hayne and even tough nut Ben Kennedy all having to face the stigma of being branded a faker in years gone past.
So what is it about diving that repulses fans? A few things. The actual dishonesty of the player is probably not the main factor as players lie all the time, usually in mildly amusing vignettes aimed at convincing officials they've scored despite the presence of numerous TV cameras all trained on the play indicating otherwise. The toughness factor is there as well of course, with many hard headed rugby league fans viewing the growing presence of the dive as one of the forewarnings of the apocalypse whereby rugby league is transmogrified into Sunday school picnic tee-hee touch football.
Far greater than both of these though is the simple annoyance factor in the drawn out stoppages that comes with such simulation. By nature professional rugby league is a game that is best played at break neck speed, that's exactly why hundreds of thousands of fans part with their hard earned every week to watch the Wests Tigers play rather than the Helensburgh Tigers. Whilst not being completely void of stoppages the best NRL games are the ones that rally back and forth without break like a brutal air hockey battle, with the team who blinks first losing.
A glut of extra stoppages caused by players looking for cheap metres up field is something that will ultimately alienate the fan, if for nothing more than the fact that it allows Channel 9 to sneak in more advertising for its next crappy sitcom.
So is there answer to stopping this madness? It's hard to know really...but I can guarantee we're not going to find it laying face down on the field pretending to be concussed.