With plenty of talk in NRL circles about the ruck, wrestling in the tackle and markers not square – the major problem actually seems to be the tackled player regularly walking forward off the mark to play the ball quicker.
Most matches now we see players walk and crawl forward hoping it will remove the tacklers quicker.
The problems created from this are two fold; it virtually gives the markers no chance of getting square, removing their chance of a fair shot at the dummy half or first receiver. It also greatly reduces the 10m distance between the attacking and defendng teams – making the game more of a slugfest and less of a spectacle for viewers.
Years ago, any advancement off the mark would result in an instant penalty. Even some of the old chesnuts, such as: planting the ball before the player gets to his feet and falling over as the ball is played – regularly go unpunished at present.
I understand that the game needs to flow and too many penalties are frustrating – but the state of the ruck at the moment is a debacle and needs to be addressed.