NRL boss says 'clean' State of Origin a winner
Rugby league boss Dave Smith says ''banning the biff'' from State of Origin football has been an emphatic success, and broadens the appeal of the game.
Smith ruled swiftly after last year's Origin punch-up between Paul Gallen and Nate Myles to ''ban the biff'', issuing a one-punch and you are off edict across rugby league.
The move has all but eliminated brawling from the game, and Smith told the Australian School of Business forum earlier this week that the game hasn't suffered as a spectacle, and that Origin game one was proof of that.
''Anybody who watched that Origin match two weeks ago cannot tell me it wasn't the strongest, most physical but competitive game you have ever seen,'' Smith said ahead of today's game two at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
''Did anybody see a punch thrown? Did anybody see a piece of dirty play?
''There was one (bad) tackle out of hundreds of tackles.
''Our game, the product is strong and healthy. It is about being strong and healthy.''
Smith said his crackdown was necessary to broaden the appeal of rugby league to a wider audience, while still retaining the fabric of the game, but that didn't include violence.
''The core values of the game are the values that have limited the appeal of the game to the wider audience that I want to take the game to,'' he said.
''So from a leadership perspective, from the game's strategic perspective, it makes absolute sense to make sure you don't lose the essence of the game, you must never lose that.''