PAUL KENT - THE DAILY TELEGRAPH - AUGUST 21, 2013 Paul Kent: South Sydney star Greg Inglis's dive the NRL's real problem, not Geoff Toovey comments http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/paul-kent-south-sydney-star-greg-ingliss-dive-the-nrls-real-problem-not-geoff-toovey-comments/story-fni3fh9n-1226700942599 FORTY years from now old men are going to look back wistfully and, wiping a tear from their watery eyes, talk about the toughness of Greg Inglis. He played an entire game with a fat lip, they’ll say. They will then go on to tell the grandkiddies that’s how tough the game used to be in 2013, when Inglis went down from a swinging arm - “What’s a swinging arm, grandad?” - and after appropriate treatment by trained medical staff, which took just long enough for a video review, he got up and bravely played on that night against Manly. By then the grandads will have long forgot how, later in the night, Geoff Toovey got up and told the rugby league world nine-tenths of what was wrong in the game, and how we could fix it, and yet Toovey was treated with such contempt that all that came from it was a $10,000 fine. There is no better man to judge football toughness than Geoff Toovey. He was a player who, even swinging right-handed, you couldn’t stop with a baseball bat. I’m old enough to remember being there the day Adam MacDougall stomped all over his face and left star-shaped puncture wounds in his cheeks and forehead. Toovey got up and wobbled and rolled, finally got put upright in backplay, and then got on with the game. There’s a reason he talks with that raspy voice. It’s what happens when you bust your arse in every play on every day. Yet what respect has it earned him within the NRL? Not even the courtesy of a raised eyebrow. The NRL is heading down a dangerous track and, like its inaction over the wrestling techniques, which it has let become so entrenched in the game that they are now impossible to coach out, if things are not righted soon then heaven knows where the game will end up. What happened to football sense? Anybody at the game’s coalface knows Toovey was spot on with everything said after the game. His complaints were valid. Yet the response from the NRL was not an acknowledgment to get it right next time, or even a promise to take a look at it, but a lecture from the game’s new head of football, Todd Greenberg, on how he would prefer coaches using the opportunity to talk up the game’s virtues, and not its failings. Last time I checked coaches were paid on wins and losses, not whether the marketing department met quota. The good news is that Toovey, who has until Friday to decide whether to dispute the fine, has a clear-cut defence. “I accept that emotion is a big part of the our game,” Greenberg told The Australian on Tuesday, “but that is not an excuse for making unwarranted attacks on match officials.” It wasn’t unwarranted, Todd. It was emotional, but why is that a sin in the game? The deeper question is why does the game look so dimly on Toovey’s public display but allows Jeff Lima to skip with the lightest of sanctions? One day, this tackle will end somebody’s career and we will all agree we could have done something earlier, and this was the moment it should have started. The day after Lima tried to twist Anthony Watmough’s leg out of its hip socket, with the knee and ankle put under similar stress, former Australian captain Gorden Tallis declared on Triple M that Lima should get “at least” four weeks. By way of highlighting how some acts were acceptable in the game, and others were considered a dog act, Tallis recalled his Rampaging Bull days when he took to backslamming players in games. Finally, teammate Kevin Walters fronted him and told him to stop. “It’s a game of footy,” Tallis said in defence. In other words, you do what you’ve got to do, I’ll do what I’ve got to do. Then Allan Langer pulled him aside. Finally, Wayne Bennett called Tallis in and told him he could still do the tackle, he just wouldn’t be playing for the Broncos if he did. “It wasn’t illegal, but I realised they didn’t like it,” Tallis said. Nowadays the rules encourage players to lay down for offences barely above a slap, as in the Inglis tackle, and yet because it is too hard to police they barely treat the Lima tackle, which is at the serious end, for what it is worth. Greg Inglis lies down after copping a swinging arm. Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images Why is the NRL’s value system so skewed? Cynically, the NRL’s response is politics 101. Address the perception, not the reality. When you lose control of the situation then control the message. Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire copped the tip when he defended Inglis’s lie down, saying Inglis was not fishing for a penalty but was legitimately hit, and had the fat lip to prove it. Come on, Michael. That might work in there at the NRL, where they can’t find the pointy end of the football, but it won’t work among real NRL fans. Not those that know the game. Not those like Toovey, who bled for his fame.