Rugby League has changed significantly over the years. I first started watching the game in 1989. Violence still played a huge part in the game but it definitely was on its way to being wiped out of the game.
I look back to those days and you never really saw a half who made a kick get taken out by a forward in a tackle while trying to make the kick. The law of the jungle applied on the League field. Front row forwards job description included taking the ball forward and protecting their conductors, their halves. If you were over zealous and took the opposing teams kicker out you had to watch your back because the other sides forward pack generally had a target on your head and the retribution would be done with what the soccer mums call violence but it basically meant a few punches would be thrown at the ensuing scrum.
I look back on my nearly 30 years of watching Rugby League and the demise and wiping out of violence has still left me with some nostalgic moments of biff. The particular moments that stand out are Kevin Tamati dealing to Greg Dowling when both were sent off at Lang Park. Wally Lewis and Mark Geyer going head to head at the Sydney Football Stadium during origin, Danny Williams king hitting Mark O’Neill, David Fa’alogo putting one on Braith Anasta chin in 2007. My all time favourite is not actually I believe a moment of violence, our over zealous administrators have removed a special part of our game the shoulder charge. It should never be out in the violence category. when performed correctly it is a safe and beautiful defensive technique that can change the course of the game. The moment below was performed by David Kidwell in retribution for Willie Mason disrespecting the Kiwi Haka (and a nice old fashioned melee between Matt King and Manu Vatuvei)