Sunday, April 28, 2013

Aranui vs St Thomas for South Island spot at NZ Secondary School Rugby League Nationals

The elimination play off for the South Island spot in the New Zealand Secondary Schools Rugby League national tournament will be between St Thomas of Canterbury College and Aranui High School on the 20th May.
 The winner goes into the premier tournament, the loser plays Southland Boys High School for a place in the emerging students grade.
 All players who want to go to nationals must come to training at 1pm this Friday, 3rd May, at school. There will be a tactical session for an hour or so. 

Two or three players in the tackle, which is better?

Two or three players in the tackle, which is better? Both defence systems have their pluses and minuses and on Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium, both styles were on show before a crowd of 41021. The Wayne Bennett coached NRL All Stars used the two man system for most of the game whereas the Indigenous side used the three man ruck defence for the majority of the game. 
The Indigenous team was in control of the game for all four stanzas.
Although the defence advantage may have seemed slight in general play, it showed up in several crucial rucks and that advantage allowed the Indigenous team to dominate and take the advantage.
Laurie Daley said in his opening statement at the post match press conference, “I was not expecting a performance as dominant as that but to win by as far as they did was just that.”
The game was a great spectacle for the first game of the season but there were too many penalties and too much dropped ball by the NRL All Stars to really get enthused at the skills on show.
Wayne Bennett commented after the game, “Their skills were pretty good but our skills didn’t match theirs. They were very good and they executed very well. They were all good. I don’t think they had a bad player.”
Benji Marshall said, “We just did not execute as well as they did. If you give a team with players like Thurston, Ben Barba and Scott Prince that much ball, they will punish you.”
Nothing can be taken away from the Indigenous team. They out played their opposition on the night. They controlled the NRL All Stars go forward with a three man defence in the majority of rucks which had the NRL All Stars frustrated and created problems which led to many errors.
Johnathan Thurston, when questioned on if Ben Barba could challenge Billy Slater for the Origin fullback position said, “Billy is the best fullback I have seen. Benny brings you a different style of fullback but Billy has the [Origin] fullback jersey sown up for a while yet.”
Barba’s comment after the game was simply, “No one expected that. We didn’t but everything came off for us.”

One Eighth of a Second - quick play of the ball

One Eighth of a Second - It is vital that you impress on your players how important it is that everything moves quickly and smoothly, like clockwork. This should provide the motivation to train to the best of their ability when it comes to skills. The more familiar they are with these drills, and the more they have practised them, the less likely they are to slip up in attack and lose vital time and space to defenders.

One crucial element of the game where speed is more important than most is at play the ball. Here it is vital to get quick ball out again – by making sure the ball carrier gets up quickly after the tackle, by making the movements quickly enough, and by making sure the ball is passed out quickly by the acting halfback. All of these are opportunities for time to be lost by the attacking team, and this means losing vital metres up front.
Every second lost allows defending players to move up eight metres to form their lines more efficiently and stymie your attack. Meanwhile, if the ball comes out quickly enough, you will have created space in the opposition line for your players to get through. This is why it is so important that everything run smoothly after the tackle.
Passing appropriately is also essential to the fast moving game that stops a defence from forming properly. If a player passes to the hips or side of another player, it will slow them down. The receiver will have to turn to face the pass, slowing them down and reducing their awareness. It seems like a small thing, but how many metres does this represent for defending players to move up to tackle? One, two, three? However many, it is too many to give up for simply sloppy play.
Deciding when to pass is of course also an important skill to develop in your players. Passing even a few steps too late allows defence players to move up in support, wasting time and effort on behalf of your players on the attack. Pointing out to your players just how time lost converts into metres gained for the opposition can really hammer home to them how important their decision making, timing and skills levels are.
The best way to develop these skills, once you have impressed their importance on your players, is repetitive drills. Practising the same skills over and over again will mean they will become second nature to your players.
They will no longer have to consciously think about them in a game setting, meaning they will shave valuable time off their actions and save themselves the effort of fighting out further hard yards. It should also mean that more scoring opportunities are converted into actual tries as moves are pulled off more smoothly and professionally.
Remember that speed and time are vital to the game of rugby league. Drill this into your players time and again to make them aware of how important it is to play skilfully and cleverly, and not to waste even the tiniest fraction of a second. Shaving even the smallest margins of time off of your plays can mean the difference between defeat and victory, between a great team and a mediocre one. Never underestimate the power of that one eighth of a second!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

RLCM Extract - Rucks, Restarts & Raids

Rucks, Restarts and Raids with Steve Gough - Since football was first played in any form, participants have more often than not gravitated towards one aspect of the game. While there have occasionally been those fixated with tackling, most people typically enjoy the attacking side of play. It presents a greater chance to be expressive, to influence the game and be the centre of the show. Only one person can possess the ball and it is as if it represents a certain ordained divinity.

In the interests of pragmatism and winning percentages, rugby league coaches tend to divert attention to other areas. Because of the difficulty in encouraging arduous tasks such as correct support play or defensive structures, we often hear praise for "onepercent" or "under-rated" actions. Perhaps it is the fault of overkill by the media, but nowadays it's almost as if attacking play need not be praised, at least in the realm of coaches and elite players.
However, it will always remain that attack is what predominantly entertains the fans and what entices future players. RLCM decided to catch up with Steve Gough to break down three important attacking areas.
"If you look back through the history of rugby league, the ruck has always been important," says Gough. "But it's arguably never been emphasised so much as it is now. It's so vital."
We regularly hear about the concept of "winning the ruck" these days. You hear about getting up quickly off the defensive line, getting numbers in tackles, forcing a dominant tackle, turtling the player, working them on the ground, making for a slow play-the-ball. Of course these are all defensive terms.
In attack, to win the ruck you must do more than simply rise to your feet quickly once tackled. It starts a lot further back, perhaps even before the previous play. Clear communication sets things rolling, then when you've relayed your intentions, winning the ruck starts with a good, competitive attitude.
"I want my guy hitting the ball hard," says Gough. "I know a lot of coaches want their men to slip down once they hit the tackler and get on their hands and knees fast, but I like to see my players fighting in the tackle and working hard all over the field.
"Last year I actually had two players come to me and thank me for taking that approach with hit-ups. It's what the game is about."
On the technical side of things, approach to the ball is highly important. Advantage line running, timing and building leg speed all play a part, but a neglected facet is the angle at which the player shapes to receive the pass. Gough says he likes to see his player twist their torso towards the dummy-half to give them a better target area and line of sight.

Players will often angle outwards towards a gap or to get at smaller defenders, but they actually shrink the dummy-half's target area as they do so. There is no need to angle directly in at the marker, but good body positioning is helpful.......