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Learning to play league

jonny24

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Hey guys, I don't usually visit this section much but I hopefully you can help me out.

I'm thinking about about playing league in the spring,so I can play more rugby and improve running and passing etc. I've been playing union for 6 years. I primarily play lock, but I'm not that big at 5'11" and 200 lbs. I also play flank, and wing when we're short guys.

I'm not sure what position I should be looking at playing in league. My strong areas are lineouts and scrummaging, so not a lot of help for league. I'm "ok" with ball in hand but not very fast.

I'm going to start watching league more to try to get the feel of it. Can anyone recommend some good games I should check out? Also, if you've made the switch, how did you find it? What's the hardest thing to get the hang of? Any other tips? I'm doing some lifting now, I'll start on the cardio before the season, hopefully it gets warmer.

Thanks!
 

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I'd say they'd probably put you at prop.

Really the main thing to work on is fitness, the running back after every play gets to you after a bit :lol:
That was the main thing for me, when I made the switch - and making sure you're definitely onside (some refs are more pedantic than others :p)

Most you'll pick up in training to be honest, there's not really major I can think of that stands out. Make sure you play the ball properly (actually touch it with your foot), make sure you can get up off the ground relatively quickly to do that.
Maybe work on your game under the highball? You'll probably have a kick or two coming your direction at some point.


I may be biased, but I'd reccomend watching England vs New Zealand from the last RWC semi-finals - hell of a game!
Pretty much any State of Origin game is worth a watch, too.
 

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I agree with Olyy - you're a prop. How mobile are you? You might get put at second row if you can shift a bit. Do you have any ball handling skills?

And you're in for a world of pain with offsides - work on your cardio. Run ten yards, throw yourself on the floor, run back ten yards. Repeat that five times and then jog 50 yards to get behind the ball and then take the ball up five times.

And repeat.
 

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I made the switch from lock/blindside to league, but at a very low standard (for both).

I actually find league slightly easier on the fitness front, but think that's because I'm quite a slight build, and pretty weak, so happier to be constantly running than hitting rucks and scrums.

Possibly due to the low level, but the tackles were much tougher - I feel much more battered after a game of league.
Important to remember not to start rucking... have been guilty of that before!
 

jonny24

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Really the main thing to work on is fitness, the running back after every play gets to you after a bit :lol:

And you're in for a world of pain with offsides - work on your cardio.

I was afraid of that <_<


I'd say they'd probably put you at prop.

I agree with Olyy - you're a prop. How mobile are you? You might get put at second row if you can shift a bit. Do you have any ball handling skills?

I made the switch from lock/blindside to league, but at a very low standard (for both).

Hmm, I've played prop the few times I've played sevens- I'm guessing it's not the same thing? g6mcg, what position do you play in league? I'm at a relatively low level of union, but there's only one league of 4 league teams in the province so I don't have as choice there.


I watched the first half of State of Origin Game 1 2014 tonight.Man are those guys jacked! I'm starting to pick up on some of what's going on. They run some cool dummy lines and such. I'm confused about a couple things. The whole breakdown area: What's with the flopping/ pin down? My first thought is that I would hate being pinned like that. And does the tackler have to move back onside? What if there are two?

The other part is the scrum. Do they just kinda go? No engage call, or waiting for the put in? Because it seems like you could just drive them back immediately, and if dominant enough disrupt them enough to win some ball.

As for my other skills- I thought about it, and I realized I don't really ever pass during a game, other than little pops and handoffs to my other forwards. I usually end up taking ball to ground. My high ball ball catching is improving, it's something I was actively working on last year since I was a designated kickoff receiver.
 

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I was afraid of that <_<

Hmm, I've played prop the few times I've played sevens- I'm guessing it's not the same thing? g6mcg, what position do you play in league? I'm at a relatively low level of union, but there's only one league of 4 league teams in the province so I don't have as choice there.

Based on your height/weight and that you've played in the backs in Union, best to probably play as 2nd Row. The rest of the size/skill of your team mates will probably dictate that by the end of the season. A prop's role in league is simple. Go forward and make as many metres as you can on Offense. Make your tackles in Defense. You don't have lineouts/scrums/rucks/mauls to worry. It sounds easy - but it is the foundation on which your team will win or lose. Minimise running at the opposition as opposed to running past them - (run past the gaps between their shoulders) - unless their smaller players. Unless you liked to get smashed.

I watched the first half of State of Origin Game 1 2014 tonight.Man are those guys jacked! I'm starting to pick up on some of what's going on. They run some cool dummy lines and such. I'm confused about a couple things. The whole breakdown area: What's with the flopping/ pin down? My first thought is that I would hate being pinned like that. And does the tackler have to move back onside? What if there are two?

The flopping is to slow down the play the ball. Once a tackle is made, the player has to get up and play the ball. The opposition side can have 2 markers directly in front of the tackled player playing the ball. Watch the Game again, it's about the speed of the play the ball. By controlling this (either making the game faster or slower) you can control the game. If you're running with the ball, it's about getting tackled clean and being able to get up and play the ball quickly, that gets you momentum. If you're doing the tackling, it's about making it as messy and slow as possible - to get your team to re-align their defense.

The other part is the scrum. Do they just kinda go? No engage call, or waiting for the put in? Because it seems like you could just drive them back immediately, and if dominant enough disrupt them enough to win some ball.

Whether you push in a scrum is ultimately optional in League. The halfback holding the ball controls when the ball is put in, how each team reacts is up to them. Most times (even in higher level games), a league scrum, is just a break.

As for my other skills- I thought about it, and I realized I don't really ever pass during a game, other than little pops and handoffs to my other forwards. I usually end up taking ball to ground. My high ball ball catching is improving, it's something I was actively working on last year since I was a designated kickoff receiver.

As for being kickoff receiver - if you're keen on developing that skill - I would recommend looking at some AFL video clips. They have some of the most skilled catchers, that even International teams have been using their training techniques.

A high level of passing isn't normally required for those in the tight five, even at the higher levels. If you watch the All Blacks you'll know that once all forwards have a similar skill base to the backs, then it's another weapon in a team's arsenal. It doesn't matter if you don't pass during the game, If you've got other forward mates, go out and play touch rugby on your off days, practice, muck around (even practice offloading as well) - it could be the difference between a try or a opportunity gone begging.

Good luck - both are great games - but if I had my time again, I would've played League first then switched over to Rugby. It would've made me a better Rugby player.
 

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As I watched, League players are very similar to each other, there is no much difference as in Union. Most weigh between 90 and 110 kgs, there is no place for a small scrum-half like George Gregan or Will Genia, or for a huge forward like Will Skelton or Ben Tameifuna. For a League player is easier to play at differents positions, right?
 

jonny24

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Thanks for all the tips guys! I talked to a guy I know on the team, he seemed pretty enthusiastic about me coming out so I'm going to give a shot. We start training in February. Indoors thank god :D
 

jonny24

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Watching SOO game 3 abd one of the announcers made a comment... You aren't allowed to steal the ball? What? :huh:
 

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If there is more than one person in the tackle then you aren't allowed to rip the ball.
 

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As I watched, League players are very similar to each other, there is no much difference as in Union. Most weigh between 90 and 110 kgs, there is no place for a small scrum-half like George Gregan or Will Genia, or for a huge forward like Will Skelton or Ben Tameifuna. For a League player is easier to play at differents positions, right?

Theres less variation in body size in league for sure, but there's room for smaller guys - a hooker is 9 in League but operates more like a scrum half in Union and so is pretty well suited to guys around the Gregan/Genia frame. Craig wing, who now plays Union in Japan is a good example of a smallish, quick and snipy league player.
 

jonny24

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Had my first training session last night. One other guy from my union club came along, so that was good. Everybody was really friendly and helped explain things.

We started with some basics about the tackle and play-the ball, which was actually more difficult that I thought it would be. I was right- I hate being pinned down. Do I have to go through that every time? Can I make contact, hit the deck then get up and play it? Other than that, the two man tackle we practiced wasn't too bad. I was pretty at actually playing the ball, it'll have to come with practice I guess.

After that we started some basic running plays, with lead runners and sweep runners. I kind of understand it better now that I've had time to think about it, but I was somewhat lost at the time and didn't execute well. I've never been any good at back plays, when I used to fill in on wing all I managed was to remember if the play involved me or not, and go fill in for the fullback. I'm definitely a forward :cool:.

Also, fuuuck cardio :lol: I definitely need to find a way to train for it better. I used to do sprints outside, but with a foot of snow and -10 C weather (-33 on Sunday!) that ain't happening. Maybe bike sprints at the gym?

Anyway, it was plenty tough but kind of fun. We'll see how next week goes.



 

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Had my first training session last night. One other guy from my union club came along, so that was good. Everybody was really friendly and helped explain things.

We started with some basics about the tackle and play-the ball, which was actually more difficult that I thought it would be. I was right- I hate being pinned down. Do I have to go through that every time? Can I make contact, hit the deck then get up and play it? Other than that, the two man tackle we practiced wasn't too bad. I was pretty at actually playing the ball, it'll have to come with practice I guess.

After that we started some basic running plays, with lead runners and sweep runners. I kind of understand it better now that I've had time to think about it, but I was somewhat lost at the time and didn't execute well. I've never been any good at back plays, when I used to fill in on wing all I managed was to remember if the play involved me or not, and go fill in for the fullback. I'm definitely a forward :cool:.

Also, fuuuck cardio :lol: I definitely need to find a way to train for it better. I used to do sprints outside, but with a foot of snow and -10 C weather (-33 on Sunday!) that ain't happening. Maybe bike sprints at the gym?

Anyway, it was plenty tough but kind of fun. We'll see how next week goes.




You need to get running in your legs man an plenty of it. I don't know how the game is ref'd in Canada but get used to fighting to get up for a quick play the ball, the wrestle is probably the most draining part of the game for me, looking for a quick play the ball as it's key to winning the game. I wouldn't suggest bike riding for your cardio, you need to run whether it's short sprints, Malcolm's or shuttles you need to run. I'm doing the opposite of you this year, I'm switching from league to union and I'm finding it hard to grasp, we're starting to cut back on the pre season fitness and getting more into rugby specific skills which is fun (kinda).
By the end of your season you should be fitter than you've ever been, be defensively better, and run your lines better. Welcome to the big boys!
 

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Ideally I would be running, I just don't have anywhere to do it other than a treadmill. Which I am doing but I find its better for longer steady running.


What position are you playing? What made you switch?
 

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Ideally I would be running, I just don't have anywhere to do it other than a treadmill. Which I am doing but I find its better for longer steady running.


What position are you playing? What made you switch?

League prop union 8, I played union from the time I was 5 through till about 17 then switched to league when I moved to Australia, so it's slowly coming back to me.
I switched because my team were asking more than I could give lol, I play A grade out western sydney and the club pays us ( not much) they expect you to work for your beer money, I was gonna take a season off altogether but I love playing to much so decided to have run in union (just lower grade comp) to have a "vacation" season while still getting my fix of playing, probably move back to league next year where I'm more at home.
 
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jonny24

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Thought I'd post a quick update. After a few more training sessions I can't say I'm really sold on this... I'm going to stick with it and see how I feel once I've actually played in a game. My brother has started coming out with me which makes it better but he's less convinced than I am. We were supposed to go to New York and play an exhibition game this weekend but they've cancelled on us, so we won't have a game until the league starts after Easter.
 

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You haven't had a trial game yet? How many senior teams at your club?
Stick with it man you'll enjoy it!!
 

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You haven't had a trial game yet? How many senior teams at your club?
Stick with it man you'll enjoy it!!

Nope so far just training once a week. We're looking at renting a different field now that the snow is melting off. All the clubs just have a single team, we've been having about 15 guys at practice and there's apparently around 5 more who haven't been able to make it out yet.

It was a numbers issue with the exhibition game. Originally it was going to be against one club, and then it was going to be a combination of three clubs, and they still didn't have enough committed guys.
 

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League in New York you say? I have been trying to find a club in the states, do you know if there are there any sides around Texas? Do Canadian clubs play in a competition with USA clubs?
 

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League in New York you say? I have been trying to find a club in the states, do you know if there are there any sides around Texas? Do Canadian clubs play in a competition with USA clubs?

I don't know about Texas, most are in in the Northeast I think. Best bet is to check their league page, there's just the one league AFAIK since they've merged.

There's no formal competition, but the club I was training with went down to Philadelphia for a 9s tourney.
 
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