Joey’s confronting accusation hits home
NRL legends Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler have made the damning assessment that poor teams are quitting in defence under the new six-again rule.
The new look NRL has seen a string of blowout scores since the new rule was introduced, with the Broncos conceding 93 points in two rounds.
"They give in, simple as that. Turn their toes up," Johns said on WWOS Freddy and the Eighth.
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"The new six-to-go, if you get a six-to-go and you get upwards of 10 tackles or even more, and then on the end of that set if you can get a repeat set, the momentum you get then for the next, say, five minutes is far greater than what we've seen in the past.
"It was always hard for the lesser teams to pull back that momentum, whether it's a big tackle or forcing an error. Now I see when teams do get that momentum, especially the better teams, the lesser teams just turn their toes up and go, 'This is too hard'."
Five NRL teams - the Broncos, Titans, Bulldogs, Warriors and Dragons - have been beaten by 20 points or more since the revamped season restarted with the new six-again rule in effect.
Johns believes the Broncos are obvious offenders when it comes to giving up in defence once the six-again penalty is blown.
"It's all too hard. They haven't got the starts right in the last two weeks against the Roosters and also Parramatta, but then when it's got too hard, they just give up," Johns said.
"There was a run there from Isaac Liu, when (Luke) Keary scored. He got the ball, Isaac's not the biggest or most robust, he just jinked and went straight through and there was no shoulders put in there.
"That was soft and that's a word you never want to use on a rugby league field.
"There's excuses, they're saying they're inexperienced but the club, they're the ones who decided to get rid of all the experienced players, so there's no excuses."
NSW coach Fittler backed Johns up by suggesting that younger players were being found out by the rule changes.
"I think what you'll find is inexperience is really shining out," Fittler said.
"What happens is, a lot of players haven't been on the end of where the game's just coming at you so fast and they just get overwhelmed. Before you know it, the other team's scored three or four tries and they just give in."
Fittler believes the new six-again rule is having the desired effect of eradicating the wrestle from the game.
"All the old footy was all off set plays," Fittler said.
"So if they were a little bit tired, they'd just hold someone down, they'd give a penalty and they'd walk back and the team would get a breather and they'd go, 'Righto, we now know how we can defend or what we've got to do, because we've trained it'.
"You've got to think on your feet now."