As with every season, new rules are being tried and tested in both the Super League and NRL. Over the last few seasons, our Australian counter-parts have pushed the boat out when it comes to evolving the game introducing a captain’s challenge and the six again rule which Super League has since adopted. But this season they’ve gone a step further introducing a 2-point drop goal for successful field goals notched from behind the 40-metre line. But is this something Super League should adopt?
The rule awards skill. Often the drop goal is an overlooked skill. However, when done right it can be one of the most divine things to watch. Just go back and watch Pat Richards notch one from the touchline back in 2013. Sensational. Just like every skill, it should be rewarded adequately. It should be said a drop goal from 40 out is much more difficult than one from 20 out. So, it perhaps seems fair to award double points for a more difficult execution of the skill.
Another positive of the 2-point drop goal would be that it might make the 1-point drop goal a little less decisive. Often when a drop goal goes over, it’s game over and it feels as such as the seconds tick on by. Unless a dramatic late try can be conjured – which is a rare occurrence after a 1-pointer – the best a team can often manage is an equalising drop goal of their own. But the option to notch a 2-point drop goal could allow a touch more drama as teams could then snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
That said, it could be expected to provoke much more negative play. The sport would edge closer to being like rugby union as kicks become that much more important. Teams would stop looking for a scintillating last minute try opting for a drop-goal instead. Also, it could even provoke teams to not push past the 40 metre line. It’s possible sides would stop looking to go forwards as they set up the best position for a drop-goal attempt.
Another problem is it may kill of the 1-point drop goal. Now, you’d probably expect to see the 1-point drop goal occasionally as games get deep into the dying moments and a team needs anything to win. But otherwise why go for the 1 when you can get 2? Equally, doesn’t this negate the importance of teams keeping their discipline late on. Imagine your team is winning by 2, defending well and keeping their discipline as to not concede a penalty and a chance at the 2 points. But instead the opposition simply notch a drop goal.
It could also shift the focus too much onto kickers. Often the best part of a drop goal is the set that takes the team close to the sticks ready for someone to notch the winner. But if this rule was introduced it would simply become about the distance a kicker can achieve. It would stop being a team effort.
Ultimately, I’d stay clear of this rule as I feel it takes something away from the sport. There’s something special about the 1-pointer in its rarity and how little it’s worth but equally how decisive it can be.