Brumbies decoys OK
April 11, 2000

Former All Black and current Cats coach Laurie Mains has accused the ACT Brumbies of playing "gridiron" because of their use of decoy runners, but he is getting little support for his statements on this continent.

Gary Scholes of the Canberra Times reports that Mains, who suffered the ignominy of watching his side being belted 64-0 by the Brumbies just two weeks ago, said: "Their players are running in front of the ball carrier with the intention of obstructing defenders - they should be penalised almost every time."

"Nothing could be further from the truth and the obstruction has got to be the referee's call," Wallaby coach Rod Macqueen said. "If he genuinely believes that someone has been impeded in a tackle that's fine, but I think the style and type of football that the Brumbies are playing at the moment is something that everyone should aspire to.

"I would suggest that we shouldn't be trying to stifle this good and entertaining football. That being said, I think there have been very few times that the tackler has been interfered with. I think it can be seen as an excuse for not having good defenders if you are concerned about the way they are playing.

"That is half the game, learning to defend against that kind of thing and holding your territory. We have got to be very careful looking at this, because we don't want to be in the situation where we are trying to stifle the creativity that is being produced. I am sure that Laurie Mains would aspire to see his team playing as well as that.

"His team are trying to play attractive football and they have been a little unlucky in some of their games, but let's keep this in perspective. I would hate to see the sort of creativity that is being shown by the Brumbies stopped."

Former Wallaby star Glen Ella, who is now a specialist backline coach with the Brumbies, said he was made aware of Mains' claims before Friday's game against the Highlanders. "I heard what Laurie Mains said, so I tried to pay attention to the running lines the Brumbies were using. As far as I am concerned, they are not stopping anyone from making a tackle, so they are not running gridiron-type lines.

"He has got no basis for complaint and although referees will have a look at it, I am sure the Brumbies have got nothing to worry about. Everyone else has been doing it, we just do it better than them."

Brumbies playmaker and inside centre Rod Kafer couldn't see anything wrong with their pattern either. "I just think it is one of those things that the referee needs to control on the field. We do use a lot of decoys, but the referees referee the game so he is on the spot to make the call.

"If the referee thought we were using the decoys wrongly, we would have been pulled up. It is always a fine line when you are running a play and have to be right on the edge, but you have to rely on the referees making a decision based on law and what they see. That's all we can ask and I think they have done that. We have been pulled up maybe half a dozen times, but it happens to all the other teams too."

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