When I moved up from Victoria almost 20 years ago I went to the pub to watch ‘the rugby’.
I know, I know, I got it wrong.
My 20/20 hindsight tells me that not only was it the league, it was a State of Origin – but back then, my southern AFL-infused sensibility registered just a ‘rugby’ game with men who had legs more like tree trunks than the lanky fellows I was used to.
Fortunately when I took over as sports editor at The Echo about six years ago, sales rep and mad Manly man Pete Couldwell, aka Video Pete was on hand to set me straight.
Betwixt Pete and our awesome league commentator John Campbell, I have been given a fairly decent education in the rules of how to get it right.
Though the codes of rugby split over 100 years ago, it was still a source of animosity until recent times when humans realised that now they get two sports to enjoy.
I spoke to a league-unionist over the weekend.
Nathan says that in union he plays as a fly half, scram half or wing and in league he plays as hooker or centre.
People’s attitudes have changed and Nathan now slips seamlessly between codes and says players at all of his clubs have no qualms with his switching from one to the other. Fortunately, the local comps usually see union on a Saturday and league on a Sunday which in the past meant he could play both.
Nathan says he sees the main difference as the tackling and the 10-metre rule. ‘With league, once you make a tackle, if there are more than three people, one has to go back the ten metres to be back on side’, he says. ‘You also only get six tackles.’
‘With union you can tackle the ball player and you don’t have to come back the ten meters and you can get as many tackles as you want.’
Nathan has in the past played both codes over the space of one season but this winter will stick to league, his prefered code. ‘I reckon union is harder. But league is more fun.’
Getting rugby terminology right is important if you don’t want to upset the humans.
Newbies (mostly Victorians like moi) still have trouble getting it right and to be honest it did take me a while, so last week I asked Video Pete to put pen to paper to write it in English as if we were all 9-years-olds. And he has.
There appears to be some confusion around football terminology, particularly in relation to the codes of rugby league and rugby union.
Granted, these two codes as well as Australian Rules and soccer are all ‘football’, but some sports fans and new arrivals from the southern states are confused as to the differences inherent in the naming of the two rugby codes.
If the word rugby is used on its own, this ALWAYS refers to rugby union. If the word union is used on its own it means the same – rugby union.
Rugby league is rugby league or sometimes just plain league: end of story. Rugby league is NEVER called rugby without the totally definitive addition of ‘league’. Simple as that.
Okay, rugby league is also the ‘footie as is rugby union’. So too is Aussie Rules.
QUESTION: Do Soccer fans ever refer to their game as footie? Football yes, footie perhaps not.
Anyway the beat goes on and bring on March 7!
I hope we are all clear now. Any questions?
~ Photos and digital shenanigans Eve Jeffery.
Recent stories tagged Rugby Union:
Byron Bay rugby 7s sizzle in the rain
Despite inclement weather the 28th Byron Bay rugby 7s tournament was a spirited display of quality and fast-paced action for spectators. More than 50 teams competed in men’s and women’s, as well as the social and serious competitions over the... Read More →October 17, 2017 | Echonetdaily | 0
Lennox Trojan’s celebrate diversity
The Lennox Head Trojans rugby club are using their last home game to highlight the changing face of rugby in the Lennox area as they have their first welcome to country and smoke ceremony before the game.August 10, 2017 | Aslan Shand | 0
Moonshiners host charity rugby day for mental health
The second annual ‘Moonshiners for Mental Health’ charity day is on this Saturday August 12 at Alby Lofts Oval, Brunswick Heads. The Mullumbimby Moonshiners Rugby Club will be hosting a day of rugby, raffles, giveaways, activities for the kids and... Read More →August 9, 2017 | Echonetdaily | 0
Byron rugby wins charity day
Byron Bay has tightened its grip on a finals berth in the far north coast rugby competition after a 34–6 win against Lennox Head on Saturday. Playing in front of a home crowd on their charity day Byron posted six... Read More →August 8, 2017 | The Echo | 0
Plenty to win for everyone at Byron Bay Rugby’s charity day
Byron Bay rugby is raring to go for their charity day games this Saturday after first grade tightened its grip on the hotly contested fourth position on the Far North Coast Rugby Union table after a strong 53–4 win over... Read More →August 1, 2017 | The Echo | 1
Byron Bay rugby lose first game but still claim minor premiership
The Bangalow Rebels rugby union team beat competition favourites Byron Bay to secure a ‘fantastic win’ in front of a home crowd enjoying Sponsors and Family Day on Saturday. Byron were beaten 27–22 in their first loss of the season.... Read More →August 10, 2016 | Echonetdaily | 0
Premiers too good for luckless Devils
It wasn’t a case of Phar Lap v Radish, despite what the final score of 44–6 might suggest. What it was was a classic example of one team, Ballina, the reigning premiers, playing with impregnable confidence against another, Byron Bay,... Read More →July 26, 2016 | John Campbell | 0
Comp leaders triumph in local rugby derby
Byron Bay Rugby continued their unbeaten form by defeating the Bangalow Rebels 22–8 in a night game held last Thursday under lights at Alby Lofts Oval in Brunswick Heads. Byron started the game strongly as they have done so many... Read More →July 26, 2016 | Echonetdaily | 0