Golden-point concept illogical, flawed bandwagon

Damian McKenzie kicked the winning goal in extra time for the Chiefs against the Highlanders at...
Damian McKenzie kicked the winning goal in extra time for the Chiefs against the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Getty Images
Golden point they say.

Well the gold at the end of this rainbow is a large piece of fool’s gold.

The movie Fool’s Gold was described as absolute tosh and so is golden point in the 15-man game.

We get that marketing people have to have a part in the game. That the game is about entertainment and having excitement right throughout the contest.

But this is just a step too far.

The game is played over 80 minutes and, if the two teams cannot be separated at the end, then it is a draw. It has been like this for the past 100-plus years and no-one seemed to have too many complaints.

There was the odd draw — the Highlanders had three draws in the results column in 2019 — but that is what happens when you do not do enough points to win the game.

But now it has been decided it is not good enough to have a draw. We cannot live with a draw. We need to play extra time to find a winner.

Maybe it is not too bad in a final when a winner has to be found. But in a run-of-the-mill regular-season game?

Apparently, it will raise the excitement levels even higher.

One envisages with a victory up for grabs sides would throw the ball around, it would be end-to-end stuff and each side would just go all out to get a win.

Afraid not.

Golden-point time in this over-analysed, risk-averse style of rugby which is played today, is a bit of a golden bore.

One harks back to the club rugby final in 2018 when University took on Harbour. After 80 minutes, the sides could not be separated, each having racked up 30 points in an exciting match. Extra time had to be played to find a winner. Fair enough.

But then followed 20 minutes of what was probably the most boring period of rugby ever seen at the stadium.

The game was just played between the two 22m lines and neither side chanced its arm as there was simply too much at stake to have a go.

Throw a wide pass in your own territory and the risk was of an interception was so great that everything was kept in close.

Also half of the players on the field had just played 80 minutes. They were completely drained of all energy and to muster any sort of creative force that would lead to points.

The 20 minutes went about as quickly as the ending of a Peter Jackson movie.

It stayed a draw and the title was shared.

Now the professional game has followed suit. It is simply not needed. Not for a game which is not a final.

The argument that there has to be a winner comes from the land of the free and home of the brave. It has crept into other sports such as hockey.

Rugby league has had the golden point for a fair while and that simply has come to display what poor kickers of the ball rugby league players are.

Referees are afraid to make calls in that extra period as they do not want to make a decision which will decide the game. Fair enough too as they should not be under so much pressure.

The thing about extra time and tie-breakers is they are a tradition in sport in the United States.

But there is no tradition for it in New Zealand.

One does not want to be a prisoner to tradition and there is sometimes a need to move with the times.

But we do not want to jump on this illogical and flawed bandwagon.

Comments

I wonder if this article would hav been ritten if the golden point had gon the other way.

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