Saturday 18 November 2017 / 10:47 PM

Sin bin needed for a fair game

On Monday night, the Cronulla Sharks ground out an ugly, hard-fought victory against the Melbourne Storm. However, during the match, Storm winger Marika Koroibete flung out his leg while at marker and intentionally attempted a trip on Sharks halfback Chad Townsend.

As is the norm in the game today, referee Matt Cecchin put the incident on report. It was this decision which caught the ire of Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan, who was still bemused at the light suspension for Manly’s Martin Taupau the previous week when he hit Sharks centre Jack Bird with a high swinging arm. That incident was put on report and Taupau copped a one-week ban.

In 1990, the last full season under the 5-minute and 10-minute sin bin rules (the 5-minute sin bin was scrapped shortly after the 1991 season began), there were 119 incidents that received a 5-minute rest and 27 that incurred 10 minutes in the bin.

The data shows a remarkable contrast between 1995 and 2015. In 1995 there were 160 sin binning’s and 20 incidents put on report. In 2015, this data was almost reversed, with 12 sin binning’s and 168 incidents put on report.

In 1995, players who went before the judiciary copped a total of 101 weeks suspension. In 2015 they copped 111 weeks suspension.

The biggest difference, though, was in send-offs. In 1995, 32 incidents led to a player getting marched for the game. In 2015, there was only one early shower.

Of the 168 incidents put on report in 2015, 72 of them lead to a suspension. This figure, more than anything, is a magnificent advocate for the full-blown reintroduction of the sin bin. Simply put, if an incident is worthy of going on report, then the player should also go to the sin bin for 10 minutes.

This would prove to be a better form of punishment and also force players to be more disciplined because all infringements would result in the offender copping an immediate penalty, impacting his team and benefitting the opposition.

The talk about wanting to have a 13-a-side game for the full 80 minutes in every game is nonsense. Currently, an offender’s actions doesn’t have an impact on his team until the following week – if he is suspended – but his team will have several days to get a replacement player up to speed to cover the offender.

Meanwhile, the team that is the victim of the illegal act gets nothing but a penalty and, in many cases, loses a player during the actual game – thus they suffer twice.

It’s high time the NRL stops this foolish compulsion to make all games ‘fair, 13-a-side games’ and start sending offenders to the bin, or off the field.

A fair 13-a-side game is one where all players in the game are playing fair and within the rules. We should only have honourable, rule-abiding players partaking in a game at all times.

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About the author

Andrew Ferguson

A rugby league historian and stats buff – most notably as the brains behind the phenomenal Rugby League Project resource – Melbourne-based Andrew has written extensively for Rugby League Review and the Men of League magazine, and is a valued addition to CBS’s rugby league stable.

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