Roosters to reopen golden-point debate

Sydney Roosters chief executive Steve Noyce will push for the NRL to consider banning field-goals in golden-point extra time when the 16 club bosses and chairmen meet at the annual CEO’s conference in Coogee this week.

A long-time opponent of the golden-point concept, Noyce watched in frustration as his Roosters were beaten by a 50-metre Chris Sandow field goal six minutes into extra time on Saturday night while across town Parramatta suffered a similar fate against rivals Penrith as they fell 23-22.

Although he has pushed for golden point to be scrapped before, the Roosters boss said that at the very least field-goals should be banned to prevent games from becoming what he described as a lottery in extra time.

“I think what happens is that you play one style of game for 80 minutes and then the next 10 minutes just becomes a lottery trying to kick field-goals,” he told NRL.com.

“I don’t really think that is what the game represents.

“My personal preference is to take a point each and go home but if we have to play them during the competition rounds then make it a try. The extra time basically has different rules to the 80 minutes.

“It’s like the penalty shoot-out in soccer so I think it’s better to come up with the right answer.”

Statistics supplied by NRL Stats this week show that almost half of the 56 golden-point games played since the concept was first introduced in 2003 have been decided by a field-goal (27) with 14 decided by a try and six by penalty goal. Nine have ended in a draw.

But more telling is the fact that although only 27 shots have been successful, players have taken a massive 99 field-goal attempts during golden-point periods.

Noyce said he was disappointed that such thrilling games as those seen at the weekend should come down to a shootout.

“It’s something I’ve felt strongly about for a long time now and I was one of the ones that pushed for the [golden] try when I was at Wests Tigers,” he said.

“I’m not a fan of golden point in competition games. The current prize that you’re playing for is points and at the end of the day if you end up with one point each then that is how the game has panned out.”

Noyce also pointed to the fact that only six golden-point games have been decided by penalty goal as evidence that referees were reluctant to blow the whistle in extra time for fear of having a dubious decision decide the result.

Ironically, such a scenario took place in the first golden-point game ever played when Ben Walker kicked a goal to give Manly a 36-34 win over Parramatta at Brookvale Oval in 2003.

“There is enormous pressure on referees,” Noyce said. “When I was at Wests Tigers there was a game where Canberra kicked a goal to beat us in extra time but those games would be in the vast minority.

“I can understand why referees are loath to give penalties that may decide games. There is just something missing there and as I say I don’t know that… in a competition that is as close as this one is, one point could be the difference between making or not making the finals.”

Asked if his comments might be taken as sour grapes following Saturday night’s loss to South Sydney, Noyce said: “Well I have raised it previously so at least I’m consistent in my thoughts about it.

“It’s something I’ll bring up in the annual conference. Obviously it’s not going to change this year but we’ll see what happens.”

Noyce, however, might again have trouble pushing any changes through with many of those polled by NRL.com admitting that it wasn’t high on their agenda, while Parramatta boss Paul Osborne, whose team lost to a last-ditch field goal in extra time on Saturday night, insisted that the current system added excitement to the game.

“I think that, even though we were on the wrong end of it, I think it is quite exciting,” Osborne said. “I suppose there is an argument that you could consider a try but I think golden point in general is a good part of the game and makes it exciting.

“I’m still upset after the loss but to be honest I’m not really worried.”

Penrith back-rower Luke Lewis said he was happy for the rules to remain as they are.

“[As a player] it doesn’t bother me,” he said. “I’d rather come out a winner than finish with a draw, to tell you the truth.”