I love these experimental rule changes announced by the NRL for the upcoming All-Stars match. They’ll serve, in theory at least, to speed up the game and halt much of the “gamesmanship” that has crept into the game. Too often we’ve seen the Jamie Lyons and Robbie Farahs of the world running up to the referees to deliberately slow the game down after a penalty/infringement in an effort to allow their teams to get back and set their defence — even if the decision is clear cut and they’re talking absolute bullshit.
In my humble opinion, the following rule changes are the most likely of the experiments that have been trialled in this game over the years that could make their way into the NRL. It will be interesting to see how they pan out and how they are policed:
– For infringements in the ruck area by the defending team (holding down, leg pull, hand on ball etc.) which does not result in the breakdown of play (i.e. drop ball), the referee will indicate the infringement by blowing his whistle and signaling the infringement. The match referee will then immediately signal the restart of the tackle count which shall occur at the point of the infringement with a zero tackle.
– There will be no kick for touch for these infringements. Play will continue immediately from the point of the infringement via a play the ball.
– Any foul play in the ruck area by the defending team will result in a traditional penalty.
– Any infringement by the attacking team in the ruck area will result in a traditional penalty.
– This will see an extension of the quick restart from the 20m, with players allowed quick penalty tap kicks/restarts (apart from ruck penalties) from the point of the offence. Captains questioning decisions will be restricted to when they are in possession and scrums.
Restarts from Kicks
– For any attacking team that kicks the ball from the outside the opponents 30m line (30m from try line) and the ball goes dead in-goal, the opponent will receive the ball via a handover (tap restart) from the point where the kick originated once the match officials are in place.
Thank fuck they aren’t trialling more bullshit rule changes like the failed one-tackle extra try conversion option, or Bill Harrigan’s “forward pass on the last tackle” suggestion from a long-deleted News Ltd column he wrote aeons ago.
It’s about time they trialled some potential rule changes that are in the vicinity of realistic.
NRL All Stars: Billy Slater, Akuila Uate, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Josh Morris, Brett Morris, Benji Marshall, (C), Adam Reynolds, James Tamou, Cameron Smith, Ben Hannant, Dave Taylor, Anthony Watmough, Paul Gallen. Interchange: Robbie Farah, Tim Grant, David Shillington, Feleti Mateo, Jarryd Hayne, Willie Mason, Cooper Cronk.
Indigenous All Stars: Ben Barba, Reece Robinson, Justin Hodges, Greg Inglis, Blake Ferguson, Johnathan Thurston (C), Scott Prince, George Rose, Travis Waddell, Andrew Fifita, Joel Thompson, Greg Bird, Nathan Peats. Interchange: Ryan James, Aidan Sezer, Joel Romelo, Jake Foster, Dane Neilsen, Timana Tahu, Jack Wighton.