NRL Round 6 Talking Points: Concussion sub needs a fix, learning about ‘disruption’, why does everyone hate Gutho?


It may not have been a hotbed of upsets and drama, but the weekend’s rugby league still gave us plenty to get stuck into. Here come your talking points for NRL Round 6.

Everyone hates Clint

Parramatta had a relieving 27-20 win over the more fancied Cowboys, staying afloat on the mid-table ocean while they wait for Mitch Moses to return to halfback. It was decent game to watch, with the Eels just keeping their noses in front throughout on the back of a lot of work from their fullback and captain, Clint Gutherson.

Gutherson’s the sort of player you’d love in your team. He’s in everything. He goes full whack, every game at every contest, he scores tries, he sets them up, he converts them and he stops them… and he’s certainly a good old-fashioned lightning rod for opposition hatred.

I admit I’m biased here, because I think he’s great. The visceral hate he cops from opposition fans makes no sense to me. I need some commenters to lay it out for me. Help me out, folks.

Clint Gutherson is tackled by Kalyn Ponga. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Word of the week: ‘Disruptor’

This week’s referee rage came from the little-known and even less understood ‘kick disruptors’ rule.

It seemed like more than a few players were pinged as disrupting this week. The subjective nature of the call is driving people spare, there’s no ‘standard’ to follow and there’s going to be many different interpretations from contest to contest.

So let’s educate ourselves abut the rule. The NRL highlighted it in their pre-season briefings.

“If in the opinion of the referee or bunker, a player feigns (pretends) to compete for the ball and interferes with the catcher, this may be considered obstruction and penalised.”

Contrary to what you’ll hear from the commentary box, Graham Annesley says if a player has eyes on the ball it doesn’t matter – it’s up to the referee or bunker to make the call whether the defender made a ‘genuine attempt’ to compete for the ball, or if it was to disrupt the receiver.

This is one of those rules where people want ‘common sense’ but can’t really enunciate exactly what common sense looks like here. We can expect a hell of a lot more angst and referee bashing about this before the season is done…

Fix the bench, don’t shortchange injured teams

South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou has enough troubles trying to get his team out of the cellar and keep the media off his back without being made to play shorthanded.

I’ve said before the NRL’s ‘18th man’ rule is nonsense – requiring firstly three, then more recently two players to be ruled out from failed HIAs before the reserve can be activated.

Souths copped rough injury luck against Cronulla, including three players sent for HIAs but only one failed (Cameron Murray). This meant reserve player Jacob Gagai wasn’t allowed to take the field. Surely there’s a simpler way to either expand the bench, or to let the 18th man come on as soon as one player is ruled out from a failed HIA.

Good games this week

It’s a weekend of intrigue coming in Round 7, with a bunch of interesting match-ups.

We kick off Thursday with Melbourne and the Roosters, silver spoon rivals wth a lot on the line. Both teams have real questions but as usual, they keep winning.

Off to Wollongong for Friday’s early game and the Dragons hosting the Warriors. Another good win for St George this week, what chance they can put up a show against the Warriors, who are playing the long game for a top-four spot?

Jaydn Su’A celebrates after scoring. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Friday primetime is the Eels and Dolphins and while it may not set the schedule alight, this game means plenty to both teams who want to be at the top of that 6-12 cluster come season’s end.

Saturday starts with Penrith and Wests Tigers, the premiers coming off the bye and looking to get back in winning touch. The twilight game is the Gold Coast and Manly. You expect Manly to win but the Titans were a completely different setup in Canberra. Can they back that effort up?

Saturday night has Brisbane raging favourites at home against Canberra, who did beat the broncos on their home deck last year…

Sunday’s slate starts with a beaut, Canterbury and Newcastle. The Bulldogs are playing decently for no result, the Knights are letting themselves down and desperately need a win. The round ends with Cronulla hosting North Queensland with a result that’ll mean a lot more when the finals placings are sorted.

South Sydney have the bye, which is probably for the best.

Round 6 random thoughts

– More scoring quirks: Last week only one winning team scored under 30, this week, only one winning team scored over 30.
– The Gold Coast played angry in Canberra and it almost worked. The Titans held up well under a lot of Raiders attack and took their chances. While the result may not have gone their way, it was a much better outing.
– An absolute monster of a game in Melbourne from Viliame Kikau pushed Canterbury right to the brink of a famous win but like always, to win in the southern capital you’ve got to kill the Storm more than once…
– Who’s happier with a 22-22 draw? New Zealand for getting out of jail, or Manly, who blew 16-0 and looked like sinking away? (And yes, it was a penalty)
– Wests Tigers prop David Klemmer had no business staying on the field after hitting St George Illawarra winger Zac Lomax high. After all the complaints (and internal criticism) coming from last week’s sin-bins and send-offs, were the refs and bunker a bit more gun shy?
– The Rabbitohs need to find a way out of Accor Stadium. Even a decent-sized crowd looks diabolical in those cavernous surrounds.

What’s caught your eye this weekend, Roarers?

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