Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
On Channel Nine’s “Thursday Night Knock Off” show, Rugby League Immortal Andrew Johns proposed a bold idea that the NRL should follow in the footsteps of cricket and have a different style ball for day and night time games, putting forth the argument that the current grip on the balls are not strong enough to withstand dewey conditions of an evening.
“Well this ball here [referring to the standard ball we see in the NRL today], you have a look at the dimples and these ones here they’re quite small,” said Johns.
“When it’s slippery at night you catch the ball like this [brings the ball into his chest] so you can’t scan and move the ball laterally.
“So my idea is to have a different ball at night with more pronounced dimples where you can actually grab hold of the ball and it sort of sticks to your hands more.
“Now the down side of this would be the kickers would jump up and down and say it’s harder to kick, well do fans go to games to watch people kick goals?
“No, they go there to see expansive footy.”
John’s broadcast colleague and New South Wales State of Origin head coach Brad Fittler then spoke on the current makeup of the balls and the quality we see in the NRL today.
“There’s 94,000 [dimples on a current NRL ball] and I’ve got some more information here,” said Fittler.
“With the balls and what you find with the best quality balls is they’re made of the most pure rubber and that’s one way where you could actually make the balls better, but it’s a bit like car racing where the best rubber doesn’t last as long.
“So, at the moment, each ball that they play with in an NRL game has a two game lifespan, so if you could get a more pure rubber then that would mean each ball has a one game lifespan.”
Based off of the information Fittler has given, this would mean the NRL would have to spend more money on balls, not just due to the higher quality, but the number of balls due to the reduced lifespan, meaning the chances of this happening would be up to the NRL deciding whether or not it is worth the expenditure.