‘Survival of the fittest’: Gary Larson’s view of new NRL
RUGBY LEAGUE: Gladstone-born rugby league legend Gary Larson says the new format of NRL, including the 'six again' rule, means the competition is speeding up and favours endurance athletes.
Larson, who amassed more than 250 first-grade games between 1987 and 2000 for North Sydney and Parramatta, said the referee's ability to signal six again after an infringement had quickened the game up.
"I think it is good from a spectator's point of view," he said.
"Do I like the idea? Yes, I do. It means players must be fitter to take the field and cope with the pace of the game."
The former Maroons and Kangaroos star said that even the great teams of the '80s and '90s would struggle to adjust to the pace of modern-day footy.
"All of the clubs have adapted to the speed of the game in their training," he said.
"The analysing of modern-day footy means that coaches are always talking to their training staff about how they can make their players adjust to the physical demands."
Larson said most rugby league fans loved to see the game back after the COVID-19-enforced hiatus.
"However, I personally think we shouldn't have played but the NRL is a multibillion-dollar organisation," he said.
"There are some sports that aren't being played and I don't know why there was a big rush for the NRL to return, obviously it was all about money.
"Do I think it is a good thing? I guess I am sitting on the fence. A lot of rugby league fans and players would say 'get on with it'."
Larson said the usual suspects were circling for the 2020 premiership flag.
"I think the Roosters, Storm and Canberra are looking pretty red hot at the moment, especially Roosters and Storm," he said.
"You need a crystal ball to predict the future though, to see what is going to happen.
"While there are television deals giving the competition money let's just keep going."