On Golden Point – An Idea For Big Rugby League Games

In General Mish-Mash on October 6, 2015 at 9:46 am

The Broncos and Cowboys delivered us a scintillating game in the NRL Grand Final. A dramatic 80th minute play. All you could ask for in a the last game of the season.

The singular downside: “golden point”.

The way the game was decided did not do the game, or the teams, justice. (Mind you, I did cheer loudly when JT kicked the point that was declared “golden”!)

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 10.09.02 am

While agreeing with Wayne Bennett that golden point turns a deadlock into a lottery, I can’t agree that replaying the game is a good solution. A replay – while probably fairer – just seems impractical to me but also something of an anti-climax.

The difficulty lies in finding a solution that is both practical and minimises the “toss-of-the-coin” feel.

Here is an idea that is something of a hybrid.

It sort of messes the principles of a defined extra time and golden point(s) with tennis’ need for 2 point advantage, baseball’s extra innings, and soccer’s equal access to goal shots in a penalty shootout.

This would only apply, in my opinion, to games that need a result. That is, State of Origin & NRL Finals Series Games.

The game is deadlocked and we move into the Golden Points Shootout.

1. Coin is tossed to determine who will attack and defend first.
2. 5 minute on-field rest period with coach.
Note: the coin toss and selection of attack/defend precedes the 5 minutes with the coach and llows both coaches to apply fix strategies for the shootout – and to make 2 final substitutions for the shootout.
3. Play starts from a set play – a scrum or tap restart – 40m out, 10m in from touch.
4. The attacking team has 6 tackles to score. They can have their tackle count restarted. (via the opposition playing at the ball, forcing a goal-line dropout, a penalty etc).
5. They keep playing while maintaining possession.
6. Once they score or lose possession (knock-on, concede a penalty, kicked the ball dead etc etc), the second shootout begins and the defenders become attackers, starting in the same way – 40m out, 10m in.
7. If possession changes in a way that the defending side can play on (without a restart – like a penalty, scrum or 25m tap) – they are allowed to play until the first time they are tackled or they score. (this allows for an intercept or long range try).
8. Both teams get an equal number of shootouts as the attacking team.


1. Field goals are allowed and valued at 1 point.
2. Penalty goals & conversions are reduced to 1 point each.
3. Tries are 4 points.

A team is declared when, after an equal number of “shootouts” have been played. it is a minimum of 2 points ahead.

Naturally the idea has some pitfalls and someone will point out why it can’t work. But maybe, just maybe it will spark a bright spark into finding the elusive answer.

The thinking behind this is:

  • it revolves around what is at the very heart of our game – attacking and defending the goal-line and
  • it offers both sides access to an equal number of attacking sets.

Your feedback is more than welcome.

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