Beneficiary: Sam Tomkins picked up the ball and had a free run to the line after the Warriors' scrum took the Eels by surprise. Photo: Getty Images
NRL teams have been given the green light to push in scrums after the Warriors successfully revived the tactic to score a try in last Saturday night's 48-0 romp against Parramatta at Mt Smart Stadium.
England fullback Sam Tomkins, who had packed down at lock, picked up the ball and raced over to score his second try in the 30th minute of the match after the Warriors managed to win a scrum against the feed 10 metres out from the Eels tryline.
Parramatta players were so stunned by the move that hooker Isaac De Gois was sent reeling from the scrum as the Warriors forwards began pushing after Eels five-eighth Corey Norman fed the ball.
Shock tactic: Eels hooker Isaac de Gois is sent sprawling. Photo: nrl.com.au
The ploy received a mixed response, with some commentators believing it was illegal in the modern game, but an NRL spokesman said the interpretation of the rule used in the premiership still permitted teams to push in scrums.
"The rule is that 'It is permissible for forwards to push once a scrum has been correctly formed but if it moves appreciable distance to disadvantage of any one team before the ball is put in then the referee shall order the scrum to be reformed in its original position’, the spokesman said
"However, the practical application which is used by NRL referees is that both sides need to be bound and the ball put in and they can push."
Because the ball is rarely placed in the middle, hookers no longer hook for the ball and forward packs rarely push.
However, many were pleased to see the return of the tactic, with Fairfax columnist and Channel Nine commentator Phil Gould tweeting: "@NZWarriors wonderful .. Don't know why it doesn't happen more often .. Scrums should be a contest or get rid of them".
Warriors coach Andrew McFadden said the pushover try was something the team had worked on to seize upon at the right opportunity.
"It's something we do every now and then, a bit of scrummaging," McFadden said. "It's not something we put a whole lot of time into. The boys obviously saw an opportunity at that point in the game and we just wanted to get the ball back. The fact that we got the try was just a bonus. The players were the ones that called it, so they can take credit for that.''
The eight-try demolition of Parramatta should have put paid to speculation linking Wayne Bennett with a possible move to the Warriors as they have now won seven of their nine matches since McFadden took over the coaching reins from Matt Elliott earlier in the season.
The win was also the Warriors' third biggest in their 20 seasons in the premiership.