Infotainment Factory: Sterlo lauds rule change shaping the finals

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Sunday, 16 September 2018

Sterlo lauds rule change shaping the finals


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Rugby league legend Peter Sterling has praised the rule change that set the scene for one of the most exciting semi-final finishes in recent memory, with one-on-one strips playing a huge part in the climax to a thrilling clash between the Rabbitohs and the Dragons.

While Ben Hunt has copped the headlines for handing the initiative to South Sydney by ill-advisedly running the ball rather than kicking when the game was on a knife's edge, Sterling marvelled at the initiative of Tyson Frizell and Cameron Murray for flipping the momentum with huge defensive plays.

Neither Frizell or Murray's brilliant one-on-one strips would have been legal in recent years because both happened at the end of tackles that involved more than one defender.

However, when their teammates slipped off and the tackles became one-on-one, the quick thinking pair pounced to get their sides the ball back in moments Sterling described as "fantastic".

"Scrums aren't a contest anymore. You used to be able to rake for the football as marker, you can't do that anymore," Sterling told Wide World of Sports for Sterlo's Wrap.

"So the one-on-one strip was quite an important one in our game in regards to being able to get the football back because a lot of those opportunities had disappeared.

"So to see two at key moments of this game was fantastic and on the back of that points were scored. And the play from Murray was huge especially."

Hunt under scrutiny over final play

At just 20 Murray is already considered a representative player of the future and his ability to impact a big game at a crucial time backed that assertion.

However, it equally could have been a Herculean performance from Frizell that made the difference if not for a sliding doors moment when Hunt took the ball at second receiver with the game poised at 12-all with one minute to play.

As he watched the play unfold live, Sterling considered it "dumb" but having heard from Hunt about his decision making process, the legendary halfback toned back his criticism and analysed how the play could have panned out in the Dragons' favour.

"Now the folly of this play, and the coach knows this full well, is that they went short to Kurt Mann, who had traffic in front of him straight away," Sterling said.

"Now I said on The Sunday Footy Show, if Ben had have gone to Tim Lafai with the wide ball you can see the centre and the winger are in good space there.

"So if he goes to Lafai he can go down another 20 or 30 metres before he gets to the winger who's dropped back for the kick and then sum up the situation, maybe there's support on the inside, maybe there's still an overlap on his outside man, if there's not then Lafai kicks the football and gets the ball down the other end of the field.

"But if St George Illawarra don't score on that play, what had to happen was that South Sydney get the ball close to their own line and have to go the length of the field and might not have got into position to kick a field-goal in that last minute."

Rugby league legend Peter Sterling has praised the rule change that set the scene for one of the most exciting semi-final finishes in recent memory, with one-on-one strips playing a huge part in the climax to a thrilling clash between the Rabbitohs and the Dragons.

While Ben Hunt has copped the headlines for handing the initiative to South Sydney by ill-advisedly running the ball rather than kicking when the game was on a knife's edge, Sterling marvelled at the initiative of Tyson Frizell and Cameron Murray for flipping the momentum with huge defensive plays.

Neither Frizell or Murray's brilliant one-on-one strips would have been legal in recent years because both happened at the end of tackles that involved more than one defender.

However, when their teammates slipped off and the tackles became one-on-one, the quick thinking pair pounced to get their sides the ball back in moments Sterling described as "fantastic".

"Scrums aren't a contest anymore. You used to be able to rake for the football as marker, you can't do that anymore," Sterling told Wide World of Sports for Sterlo's Wrap.

"So the one-on-one strip was quite an important one in our game in regards to being able to get the football back because a lot of those opportunities had disappeared.

"So to see two at key moments of this game was fantastic and on the back of that points were scored. And the play from Murray was huge especially."

Hunt under scrutiny over final play

At just 20 Murray is already considered a representative player of the future and his ability to impact a big game at a crucial time backed that assertion.

However, it equally could have been a Herculean performance from Frizell that made the difference if not for a sliding doors moment when Hunt took the ball at second receiver with the game poised at 12-all with one minute to play.

As he watched the play unfold live, Sterling considered it "dumb" but having heard from Hunt about his decision making process, the legendary halfback toned back his criticism and analysed how the play could have panned out in the Dragons' favour.

"Now the folly of this play, and the coach knows this full well, is that they went short to Kurt Mann, who had traffic in front of him straight away," Sterling said.

"Now I said on The Sunday Footy Show, if Ben had have gone to Tim Lafai with the wide ball you can see the centre and the winger are in good space there.

"So if he goes to Lafai he can go down another 20 or 30 metres before he gets to the winger who's dropped back for the kick and then sum up the situation, maybe there's support on the inside, maybe there's still an overlap on his outside man, if there's not then Lafai kicks the football and gets the ball down the other end of the field.

"But if St George Illawarra don't score on that play, what had to happen was that South Sydney get the ball close to their own line and have to go the length of the field and might not have got into position to kick a field-goal in that last minute."

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