Has The Obstruction Rule Become A Weapon?


Obstruction by definition is the prevention of input into a defending situation due to a player coming into contact or blocking a player.  

The rule has since it's inception has seemed more and more of a tool for teams to play on, the latest example was in Thursday's Leeds vs Hull Super League fixture, even as an avid Rhinos fan myself, I was disappointed to see a great try chalked off down to this ruling. As pictured above, it was deemed Ablett was impeded from tackling Jake Connor, despite being 10 metres from him. 

The rule does state that an attacking player coming into the line must take the inside shoulder of the defending player, although as seen above the Hull player is on Ablett's outside shoulder, but definitely did not prevent him from getting to the ball. By the time the ball leaves Connor's hands he is further than a few metres from the next closest player, Joel Moon, who was in lone with Ablett. 

This rule seems to have virtually killed off the opportunity of a dummy runner close to the line as defenders have now realised that if they hold off a yard or so, the attacker has then gone on his outside shoulder and the try will be disallowed, while I get that it is the runners responsibility to avoid interfering with the line, surely only instances when a player is truly prevented and could have made the tackle should result in an obstruction call. 

This kind of situation is only going to get worse unless sorted out quickly, there's surely an argument that there is a hint of obstruction on every dummy run based play as the attackers job is to commit a defender out of the line, hopefully this is on the RFL'S radar and is taken care off sooner rather than later. 

Pom

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