Well, quite an eventful round of football we've just had (round 4) and one that has given me some considerable pause for thought.
Three matches decided with 'golden points' and one with a penalty try.
Let's look at the try first.
The Storm, behind 12 - 0, were awarded a penalty try after Bulldog, Reimis Smith, was deemed to have tackled the Storm's Will Chambers without the ball thus preventing what both the referee and 'the bunker' considered to be a certain four pointer. I'm not so sure.
For a start, as far as I can tell, Smith, from his position behind and chasing Chambers, would have been unable to see whether Chambers had got hold of the ball or not.
So it was not a deliberate foul. It was a touch and go situation, and Smith was in no position to hold a committee meeting as to his best course of action.
In my view a try was far from certain, Smith was doing his best in a difficult position to play for the ball and a more suitable ruling by the referee would have been to award a normal penalty to the Storm, which would have resulted in a two point penalty goal.
The awarding of a penalty try was a game-changer.
The Storm ended up winning by only two points. This match was decided by the refereeing.
And now to this 'golden point' business. Three of the weekend's games were decided through this.
For those unaware, the 'golden point' is the system currently in place in the NRL whereby if the scores are drawn after the 80 minutes an extra two halves are allotted of five minutes each.
However, the match is awarded to whichever side scores first in the extra time and play ceases as soon as this happens.
I'm not sure how fair the thing is as far as deciding systems go. For a start, there is the re-start, the nature of which is decided by a coin toss.
The winner of the toss is automatically designated to receive the ball. So, the only choice upon winning the toss is which end you'd like to start at.
So, a draw, a toss of a coin and you're either getting the ball deep in your own half, or you're kicking off, gaining position but forfeiting possession.
And then we have a war of field goals.
I don't know. It all seems a bit arbitrary to me. A bit of a lottery.
You have 80 minutes of football, and all the strategic nuance and manoeuvering that go along with that and then, in the event of a draw, we play this entirely different form of the game at the end.
It has been suggested that it is exciting - a climactic end.
Why would this be I wonder?
Don't forget that the League, in 1971, changed the scoring of field goals from two points to one in order to discourage players from trying to pot them all the time.
They wanted to reduce the emphasis on field goals because the focus on such play was seen as becoming a bit dull for the spectator.
As far as field goal reduction goes the move worked: In 1968 in the Sydney competition there were 194 field goals scored. (I wonder how many were missed?)
In 1971, after the points change, there were only 17.
Now a reversion to field-goal-centric play is seen as the most exciting way to decide a drawn match.
Is this really the best way of going about things?
And, for me the bigger question: What's so wrong with a draw?
I can see the urgency for a more immediate decision when we get to the business end of things in the finals, but for competition matches, why is there such a big problem with accepting the draw and taking a point each?
Is it another example of a societal change whereby spectators are unhappy walking away from a sporting event without having witnessed a victory?
I've always loved test cricket; the crawling pace of it punctuated by bursts of intense excitement, the whole thing accompanied by the very real possibility that a five day match may just peter out without a result.
It's part of the dignified beauty of the game, but, as is obvious to everyone, current trends in cricket are heading elsewhere, towards more constant spectacle.
Is it a similar movement leading to us now requiring this bit of a circus on the end of a drawn rugby league game? Surely we could go to the football and come away thinking,
'What a great game. Nobody deserved to lose.'