Six elements the NRL should look to do or add in Retro Round.
Old School Rules
Pick a year and go back to playing under those rules. If it is 1963, unlimited tackles, the three-metre rule and three-point tries. If they choose 1988, you can strike for the ball and there is a five-minute sin bin. If it is 1908…well, good luck.
Old School Footballs
The modern synthetic football could not be more player-friendly. It is easy to kick, easy to pass, easy to catch. Retro round should see a reversion to the old school leather footballs. If the rains come, heaven help the modern player. We might also see a return to the toe-poke goalkicking method.
The Kicking Duel
There hasn’t been a kicking duel in big-time rugby league in over a quarter century. The last one was Ricky Stuart against Dale Shearer in a wet Origin clash. It is time to bring back the kicking duel, even if just for one week only. Lachlan Coote would be the favourite to start it – and we reckon Cooper Cronk would oblige.
Shoulder Pads and Torpedoes
Retro round is about going back to the past. In that vein, the players should turn back time by donning shoulder pads and torpedoes, and even a bit of black shoe polish under the eyes. At the very least Cronulla’s Valentine Holmes should channel fellow Sharks fullback livewire Johnathan Docking with big shoulder pads, while St George Illawarra front-rower Paul Vaughan should bring out his inner-Tony Priddle, the Dragons’ bookend of the early-1990s.
Last year Fox Sports brought in Graeme Hughes and Steve Roach to do their retro broadcast. Unfortunately, Blocker hasn’t left. This year the station should get Ian ‘The Bear’ Maurice out of retirement, along with Warren Boland and Debbie Spillane, to relive a golden age of rugby league calling.
Nothing screamed big-time game more than painted in-goals back in the day. Every in-goal this weekend should be painted with club colours and the old school logo. And when a try is scored, players would come up covered in paint – the mark of a job well done.