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In Touch: Golden debate

Leila McKinnon NRL.com Tue, Mar 06, 2012 - 9:30 AM

Jamie Soward celebrates kicking a field goal in golden point. Copyright: NRL Photos

We footy fans are an anxious lot. Occasionally we walk away from a win fretting that we just got a little lucky with the penalties, worrying that our forward pack isn’t all it should be, or sweating over the fact we scraped home with a narrow margin.

Our wins can be ugly. They can be lucky. They can be undeserved. It's rare to be as satisfied as a plane full of Titans flying home from Townsville.

When a victory is not all it should be rugby league philosophers comfort their anguished mates with the aphorism, 'A win's a win'.

But is it as simple as that? Two golden point games in round one have got us all thinking. Should the narrowest of wins be worth less than a rout? Should the Cowboys' humiliating loss be more damaging than the one suffered by the valiant Knights?

Rugby league is the greatest game of all partly because of its willingness to investigate and embrace change. So let's look at some of the ideas for making golden point battles fairer for all.

The purists say stick with a draw, and give each team one point. Not only does that deny us the excitement of a big finish, it's not fair that two deadlocked teams who may have played exceptionally well get one point each, while winners such as the Titans get two points for romping home with an easy triumph over a team that can't complete a set.

As for saving golden point for finals time, that's just inconsistent. What makes it wrong in the regular season and right when everything is on the line? If anything it should be the other way around.

There are those who'd give a team that wins within 80 minutes three points, a golden point winning team two points, and the loser of golden point time one point. What do you think of that? It’d be interesting to see how that kind of scoring system would have changed the ladder last year. Maybe the Sharks and the Knights deserve to be one point up. But maybe losing so narrowly will spur them on to round two glory.

When Gus Gould gets involved he never holds back. Here’s the solution he tweeted on Sunday night:

@gusgould91"Golden point win gets you 3 points. 12+ win gets you 5 .. 12+ loss gets you 0 .. 1-12 win gets you 4 points .. 1-12 loss gets you 1 point"

Ahhh, what? Would you repeat that please Philip Ronald Gould? It’s all a bit complicated isn’t it?

Another variable Gus hasn’t accounted for is just how good the opponent is. Do you get fewer points for winning against a team that's not playing well or is low on the ladder? What about the weather, is a win in the wet harder than in the dry? And would we really want to see a team losing by 12 kicking for a field goal?

Turns out that NRL fans are as imaginative as they are passionate. Here are some other ideas on resolving a deadlock.

@ContiLIVE "Field goal goes on board but it's not the golden point. 2 points or try can be golden. Field goal play on!"

@BigShotRobD"What about if a field goal is kicked by one team, the other gets a set of 6 to match?"

Well now I’m about as tired as a 120-kilogram prop at the end of extra time. The possibilities are endless, and kudos to all for thinking so deeply about the game, but are these kinds of changes really needed? After all a win is a win. Is it possible to lose well?

I’ll leave the final word to the twitterer known as @mortonbaypig as I don’t think I could put it any plainer:

"Rubbish. So consolation points for nearly winning but not quite? Please! Just give everyone 10 points because they all tried hard."