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ARLC signs off with a bang for 2012 with host of rule improvements

Luke Doherty Roar Guru

By Luke Doherty, Luke Doherty is a Roar Guru

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138 Have your say

    The Independent Commission appears to be ousting John Grant. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

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    If the Australian Rugby League Commission was looking to show the detractors they’d been far from idle in their first season in charge of the game then they certainly made their point yesterday.

    Far from the traditional “significant announcement” news conferences often held to herald the arrival of little, the ARLC simply sent out a media release late yesterday evening outlining changes to three issues that frustrated fans during 2012.

    Whether they’ve tinkered with the right elements is debatable, but regardless, cogs are turning at headquarters.

    Benefit of the doubt rule:
    From next season the controlling referee will have to make a decision before he is able to ask the video referee for assistance. The man in the box can only change the original decision if there’s sufficient evidence the referee has made the wrong call.

    Talk about making the whistle blowers an even bigger target.

    Picture the scene. A team scores a try, the referee points to the spot and as the celebrations erupt he decides to send it upstairs for another look.

    So, you have an official who is forced to doubt a decision that he made just seconds earlier.

    Mayhem will erupt if the words “no try” flash up on the big screen.

    The referee shouldn’t have to make a decision before asking for assistance.

    He’s on a hiding to nothing.

    If he awards a try, has it checked and then gets it wrong, then he looks ridiculous.

    If he awards a try, has it checked and then gets it right, it looks like he doubts his own judgement.

    It’s rugby league’s version of the cricket umpire who gives a batsman out, but then checks for the no-ball.

    Another element needs to be added to the equation.

    In 2013, the captain’s challenge system will be used in each televised under-20s match.

    If successful, it needs to be introduced into the NRL in time for the 2014 season.

    The referee would then be free to award a try or no try and the teams would then be responsible for asking for a video replay after a decision is made.

    It should not fall at the feet of the man who made the decision to see whether he was correct.

    Shoulder charge:
    Next season, the shoulder charge as we know it is dead.

    Players must now make a genuine attempt to use their arms to wrap up the ball runner.

    If a defender uses his shoulder, even if contact is made below the head, punishment ranges from a penalty to an eight-week ban.

    Yes, the ARLC has a duty of care to the players, but has this gone too far?

    The research coming out of America regarding the effects of concussion on NFL players is frightening, but rugby league is a game that has always punished players who make contact with the head.

    Towards the end of last season players were being referred straight to the judiciary if a shoulder charge went wrong.

    If the punishments were larger once they got there then the tackle would’ve, more than likely, been rendered obsolete.

    Who is going to risk a five or six match ban for a shoulder charge when a conventional tackle will keep you on the park?

    Now, even if a player’s shoulder connects with the sternum of an attacker, he’ll be penalised.

    The biggest concern is that this new rule is so open to interpretation.

    What some see as a genuine attempt to tackle others will see as using the shoulder.

    It will be interesting to see how long it takes for this issue to blow up in 2013.

    State of Origin eligibility:
    No player will be able to play for NSW or Queensland if they haven’t lived in that state before the age of 13.

    The only exception is if they’re the son of an Origin player. They must also be eligible to play for Australia.

    That would’ve stopped Greg Inglis and Israel Folau turning out for the Maroons.

    Blues fans can only take comfort in the fact that history won’t repeat.

    Some would prefer your place of birth or “origin” to be the deciding factor but that would’ve been too strict.

    International eligibility forms could still be a problem.

    The choice of which country a player would like to represent should be made the moment they first make a representative side.

    Players flimsy allegiances do very little to promote the international game.

    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

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    The Crowd Says (138)

    • December 19th 2012 @ 9:04am
      Red Block said | December 19th 2012 @ 9:04am | ! Report

      Is the decision to leave Kiwis out of Origin, an opportunity to introduce the old tri-series? NSW, QLD and NZ all playing against each other. Unfortunately Channel 9 won’t allow anything to affect its biggest money spinner, so I guess we’ll stick with the status quo.

      I want to see the best players playing in Origin. So Qld would have had no Thorne, Lam, Inglis, Folau. It will be interesting to see how long it takes before Qld cry FOUL.

      • December 19th 2012 @ 9:39am
        oikee said | December 19th 2012 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        I still think it is a opportunity to grow a kiwi team without islanders, and maybe a exile team. So the poms and islanders and Victorians or whoever else is playing in the NRL comp can represent the exiles.
        So they still would get support from expats and islanders and the Kiwis as well. They could maybe play 1game in NZ, the other game in Melbourne, and the third game could be bid on like qld nsw have done, or were going to do.

        Look, it is called opportunity, it is not our job to make this happen, it is up to the ARLC or NZ rugby league to make this happen,. If not, then just bury their heads in the sand and forget the whole thing.
        Over time the winner could play the winner of the other Origin, lets try to get this up and running first.
        Is there anyone out there that has vision, can make this happen ? that is the question. Scott was looking for 3 scholars yesterday, he is still looking.
        Australia lacks alot of things, comedians, leaders, rockbands, wallabies, we will have a welsh banker running league, we have a welsh Prime minister, even if we need a good laugh we turn to the poms or Irish.
        Kath and Kim with the old Hogan slapstick has worn thin,.

    • December 19th 2012 @ 10:06am
      turbodewd said | December 19th 2012 @ 10:06am | ! Report

      The ARLC is adopting virtually the exact same rule used in the NFL and its a good move. Over there the ref rules first and then video ref only overrules if theres ‘clear visual evidence’ to do so.

      So if something looks 50-50 then that is not CLEAR, ergo original ref ruling applies.

      Good move ARLC.

      • December 31st 2012 @ 7:49am
        Jaredsbro said | December 31st 2012 @ 7:49am | ! Report

        But clear evidence is actually worse a standard than Benefit of the Doubt, because you end up spending a whole lot of time and quite literally only the absolute legal scholars can understand the ruling, much like the American obsession with their constitution/ Supreme Court rulings rather conveniently undermining good old fashioned common law which is supposed to be in effect in the States!

    • December 19th 2012 @ 10:14am
      oikee said | December 19th 2012 @ 10:14am | ! Report

      Question, who on the rugby league bloggers do stories on the warriors. ?
      I see that they might be taking all there games to Eden Park. Not because of want, or any planning, they take the odd game or 2 over now.
      But because Eden park is run by trust between union cricket and some other mob, could be the swimming committee 😉

      So because they spent a fortune on this venue for the rugby mob, and the world cup, it now seems that the ratepayers, council have all agreed the warriors dont deserve a upgrade to their own stadioum, they need to move and help pay off this other white folly.

      League was barred from even playing here not that long ago. Maybe we need more of a fuss kicked up about this, just laying over and being drilled or shafted is not the way the NRL should be seen.
      Say no to 1 year deals, and no to this folly. While rugby union(world cup irb) has delightfully banked 100’s of millions from NZ the country and ratepayers, now they want rugby league to pay off there bills. ???
      Come-on, this needs to be looked at, not just let them walk all over our code, say no to Folly as well.

      • December 19th 2012 @ 10:28am
        Johnno said | December 19th 2012 @ 10:28am | ! Report

        Eden Park will be a good venue oikee. It’s close the Auckland CBD, has good facilities etc, like the 2 stadia stuff now with sydney and scrapping suburban grounds.
        The thing that I don’t know is if most of Auckland warriors fans , are close to eden park, it maybe close to Auckland C.B.D , but is it coos to the main warriors fan base.

        MT Smart is a stadium with a lot of atmosphere but is a bit run down. Auckland doesn’t need 2 stadiums. Maybe what would be a good idea is making MT Smart into a 25,000 Canberra stadium or AAMI park style. And play the big games at Eden Park. But at Eden Park, i’d imagine the Warriors could make good money out of private boxes.

        • December 19th 2012 @ 10:45am
          oikee said | December 19th 2012 @ 10:45am | ! Report

          Yes i agree Johnno, but as i have written, we seem to be paying for union’s debt.

          All i am saying is we need to make sure we get something out of the deal. Here are a few things that worry me, and i would like to see written into any ecceptence of moving here.

          As you said, it is not warriors fan friendly, so maybe a consession iif you live outside a 5 mile area.
          (free transport)
          The Warriors players have not had any or any drama with leg injuries. I am not convinced playing league on dodgey union fields which are reknowned for divets and ploughed up grounds, is this going to have a profound effect on million dollar league players. We should only be playing on soccer fiields or our own as both do minimal damage.

          And do we get a say, are we going to be part of that committee or trust. No good going their is union tell us we cant play friday night because they have a test match, or they play fridays, we will have to play after having the field ripped to pieces the night before.

          This is Folly, sheer Folly. Say no. Or our leg injuries will skyrocket. I would sue the NRL.

          • December 19th 2012 @ 10:49am
            Johnno said | December 19th 2012 @ 10:49am | ! Report

            oikee some good points you make. That is the point, . Rugby has it;s own headquarters in some places eg England with twckenham, they do’t bite ruse wembley much , basically always twickenham.

            Rugby league in NZ should deserve it’s own headquarters or a say on pitch conditions, and big insurance clauses, plus having there own governance. It’s a tough one, it would be great if someone in NZ could find the money to revamp Mt Smart and turn it into a 25,000 seater stadium.

            • December 19th 2012 @ 10:58am
              oikee said | December 19th 2012 @ 10:58am | ! Report

              Rugby league in England is always played at Wembley, which has been part of our code for most of our life in England, and Old Trafford at Manchester, which is Man U ground. We are allowed to play their because we dont do much damage to fields.
              Sometimes they complain, not often.
              NZ has softer grounds, and any tearing up of a feild would and could cause injuries, you see players hit the ground like being shot, that is because their is a slight divet or returf that has not settled.

              Your ankle at speed turns slightly and snaps your ligament,. That is a year injury right there, sometimes you never fully recover.
              I am even worried about this Lions tour right in the middle of Origin. Kafusi went down like a shot duck in origin ANZ stadium i think one year. Loose ground surface i would have said.

              I have seen grounds in france and NZ absolutely destroyed by union scrums. You wouldn’t even let your cattle grasse on it it was that ploughed up.

              • December 19th 2012 @ 5:16pm
                Emric said | December 19th 2012 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

                Oikee – New Zealand rugby grounds are in perfect condition.

        • December 31st 2012 @ 7:57am
          Jaredsbro said | December 31st 2012 @ 7:57am | ! Report

          RL support in Auckland is predominantly South Auckland and Central based with pockets in West, North and East. But Mt Smart’s not good for them either, though is geographically closer. I think the issue with Auckland is that unlike Melbourne particularly, but I guess also Sydney, there has been very little help from local and until recently national (for RWC) money for stadium.

          And unlike Sydney there’s not the money or interest for private contributions to it…so Mt Smart which was originally the Commonwealth games athletic stadium was used.

          Also in terms of playing more on Eden Park there is the issues as the Blues play more games now there than they ever did before, but it is a sign of RL entering the category of being a legitimately all-Auckland Rugby code.

      • December 19th 2012 @ 10:58am
        nzmate said | December 19th 2012 @ 10:58am | ! Report

        Oikee it wasn’t unions desire to upgrade Eden Park – from memory they would have preferred a new waterfront multi-sport stadium but the government said no. Union put in 10 million to the upgrade but as with most stadiums the majority of funding was via the govt in return for the additional tourism spend by RWC visitors. I also understand that one of the options put forth by regional facilities auckland is to undertake a small upgrade of mt smart and retain this venue (as you point out) for lesser league games with bigger ones at eden park. It may fall short of the grandiose visions of the warriors board and owners who were vowing a 60,000 seat stadium for league – and wanted funding from the Govt – a ridiculous call with no chance of ever happening. So far the warriors have marketed some big games for eden park and they have been very successful crowd wise – i think their uncertainty lies in what happens when you shift all your games there – are the majority of fans – many of which come from further south going to travel week on week? They may also be required to play second fiddle when it comes to scheduling matches if there is double booking.

        • December 19th 2012 @ 11:10am
          Johnno said | December 19th 2012 @ 11:10am | ! Report

          nzmate do you know any of the reasons why the multisport stadium was turned down, it would I imagined of been great for Auckland .

          • December 19th 2012 @ 11:51am
            Ryan said | December 19th 2012 @ 11:51am | ! Report

            As someone who works in the shipping industry I can tell you now one of the biggest reasons the Waterfront Stadium was turned down was because there simply wasn’t the right space for it.
            I personally thought that it could have been built down by the tank farm however huge opposition of this came from the residents of St Marys Bay, Herne Bay, Freemans Bay and Ponsonby locals as it would have been an eyesore and ruined their million dollar views of the harbour. One must note these are some of the most affluent suburbs in Auckland and the country.
            The Royal Yacht Squandron also did not take too lightly to having a huge stadium built on their doorstep.

            There were also those who advocated for moving the port from Downtown Auckland who had / have absolutely no idea how much money comes through the port every year not to mention there is nowhere else in Auckland the port could be moved to.
            The Stadium supporters argued that the port could be moved to Tauranga and Whangarei not only was this impractical and unrealistic for the Nations largest city to not have a port it also overlooked the amount of Job losses that would be incurred not just down at the docks but across the city as transport companies, manufacturers, importers and exporters throughout the greater Auckland area would be forced to move or incur greater freight costs due to having to rail or truck their wares hundreds of kilometres to or from the dock. The job losses would have been huge easily in the high hundreds to thousands

            The Ports of Auckland is the largest Import gateway in NZ and also a major export hub, the revenue generated through the ports far outweighs anything a waterfront multipurpose stadium could hope to generate.

            This is one of the major reasons why the stadium did not go ahead.

            • December 19th 2012 @ 12:09pm
              Johnno said | December 19th 2012 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

              Ryan thanks for that basic summary mate, really appreciate it. I never knew why it didn’t get built, but Auckland like Sydney, is a harbour city. And all that stuff makes perfect sense. The port is big business, and you simply can’t mess with it , it brings into much money. thanks for that in too mate.

        • December 31st 2012 @ 8:05am
          Jaredsbro said | December 31st 2012 @ 8:05am | ! Report

          I’m not sure very successful is quite the right word though nzmate? Certainly bigger crowds than you’d get at Mt Smart, but the Test match didn’t get near a sell-out, so there’s plenty of work to grow the matchday attendance. But Auckland is no longer so one-code as it was even when the Knights were plying their wares. I think it’s to do with the Breakers…but the North Shores finally attending live matches like they never did at any stage before.

          But in Auckland you really have a mini-Sydney scenario where apathy is the real rival…where the winning code in the code wars is not even a sporting one: cafe-sitting-beachdunking takes the cake hands down!

      • December 20th 2012 @ 6:46am
        Pogo said | December 20th 2012 @ 6:46am | ! Report

        Cricket will be going to western springs (currently speedway) with speedway moving to Mt Smart or Waikaraka park apparently.

        It makes sense for rugby and league to share a stadium and cricket to be played elsewhere, Eden park has tiny boundaries for cricket. Furthermore it’s a waste of money (my rates money dammit) maintaining two stadiums that do the same thing about 10km away from each other just because some dinosaurs still think league and union should have restraining orders against each other.

        I just wish they had decided to move cricket before they built/rebuilt the damn so they could have built the stands right up to the field like a proper rugby ground.

        • December 31st 2012 @ 8:10am
          Jaredsbro said | December 31st 2012 @ 8:10am | ! Report

          So the trust in charge of the SCG are dinosaurs then Pogo? Football and Cricket do still go together in many parts of the world…it’s just that rectangles don’t go well with ovals, but playing cricket away from Eden Park will take away from the cathedral effect.

          But then again so few sports fans in NZ and particularly Auckland (Canterbury understands it all too painfully) understand the religious conotations of playing big-time sport in the ‘backblocks’, ie away from the cathedral. But then again our sporting experiences here are like all other things one of the least religious in the world 😛

    • December 19th 2012 @ 10:21am
      Gareth said | December 19th 2012 @ 10:21am | ! Report

      I don’t think the benefit of the doubt rewrite is *that* bad. It’d be stupid to have the on field ref point to the spot and then draw his imaginary box to send it up to the video ref, but I don’t see an issue if he verbally acknowledges his decision as he’s sending it upstairs. The onfield ref says “That looks like a try to me, but can you check to see if his leg went into touch?” It’s not really that far removed from double checking with the pocket ref and linesmen before awarding it. It all depends on the execution.

      Personally, I don’t see what’s wrong just flipping back so benefit of the doubt goes to the defending team – but the new interpretation is still better than what we had. I’m still not convinced on captains/coaches challenges, but it does certainly add an element of comedy to the cricket when someone as thoroughly unlikable as Michael Clarke throws away his challenges on deadset plumb LBs.

      As for the shoulder charge, the real test will be what punishment they dish out to anyone who breaks the rule. It’s not like their promise to get tough on head shots last year actually amounted to anything. There’s no point in having rules if you just throw them out the window because you’ve sold a bunch of tickets to a player’s 250th and don’t want to suspend him. Same applies for the bloke dishing out headbutts and the guy planting an elbow on the back of his neck in retaliation if they’re both set for origin duties the week after.

    • December 19th 2012 @ 10:48am
      Doghouse said | December 19th 2012 @ 10:48am | ! Report

      The decision is buried just before Xmas.

      The refs as you say will become bigger targets and will create more controversy which is the whole point.

      The SOO rule is better -its hard to know if it favours anyone but I assume if you have lived in both you can choose…

      • December 19th 2012 @ 11:07am
        oikee said | December 19th 2012 @ 11:07am | ! Report

        Queensland are already inviting future nsw origin stars to queensland so they can issue them with temperary visa’s. 🙂

        Mate this whole rule come about not because of anything Queensland had done. It was the fact NSW and Ricky Stuart detroyed the game by recruiting a KIWI Jimmy, Tamou.

        NSW were not hiring indigenous players, so Queensland got Inglis, hopefully Daley might change all that.
        NSW are their own worst enemy.
        Queensland is the greatest country, (state) in the world. Heritage places lkike Daintree, Barrier Reef, Frazer island, all world heritgae listed, even Moreton Bay with our grass feeding dugongs has gone world hertiage.
        We are the “natural” choice.
        Hope i have not opened a can of worms here. 🙂
        All Sydney has is a harbour and a old shell looking building, nothing else of notice has been built, They even needed Queensland ferry service to fix up there ferries. Transvael.
        Cant wait for origin, give youse another beating. hehehe

        • December 19th 2012 @ 1:52pm
          WoobliesFan said | December 19th 2012 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

          Right on Oikee……love your work

          QLD embraces its indigenous players….and we surely don’t hire former players as mentors who refer to certain players as “black c***s”.

          It’s pretty simple.

          • December 20th 2012 @ 3:26pm
            Australian Rules said | December 20th 2012 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

            That’s a pretty childish one-off example to bring up.

            And I hardly think Qld is the gold-standard for non-racist attitudes.

        • December 19th 2012 @ 2:04pm
          Renegade said | December 19th 2012 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

          QLD is a sh**hole Oikee…..get over it 😉

          • Roar Guru

            December 20th 2012 @ 7:51am
            peeeko said | December 20th 2012 @ 7:51am | ! Report

            fair go oikee, accusing NSw of recruiting kiwis- QLD have dont their fair share of that as well as well as players from fiji and PNG. great place queensland – except for all the queenslanders

            • December 21st 2012 @ 3:12pm
              Doghouse said | December 21st 2012 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

              Tont Carroll was the classic…

    • December 19th 2012 @ 10:58am
      Handles said | December 19th 2012 @ 10:58am | ! Report

      I don’t understand! Maybe I haven’t read it properly.

      In my case, WE moved away from Queensland before my son was born, lived overseas and then Victoria. We came back to Qld when he was 14, and he switched from AFL to league. (He didn’t really, but stay with me for the hypothetical).

      If he had only ever played league in Queensland, but hadn’t lived here till he was 14, who is he eligible to play for?

      • December 19th 2012 @ 11:13am
        oikee said | December 19th 2012 @ 11:13am | ! Report

        You could not stay away from the place hey Handles. Welcome home. 🙂
        I see he picked up a few bad habits while away (afl) and argueing,. Mate your a Queenslander, dont try to even fight it.

        These boys and girls that leave Queensland looking for the greener grass, you amuse me.
        Look, NZ if it was not such a small volitile country is better, then North England completely blows that off the map. Queensland is third best but the best if you want everything without the hassel.
        Mate it took decades of hard work to make Queensland look this good. hehehe.

      • Roar Guru

        December 19th 2012 @ 11:25am
        Dogs Of War said | December 19th 2012 @ 11:25am | ! Report

        He is eligable for these :
        1. Whatever country he was born in.
        2. To play for Australia via residency

        • December 19th 2012 @ 12:34pm
          Will Sinclair said | December 19th 2012 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

          Unless Handles played State of Origin for QLD… then he’s eligible for the Maroons.

          Did you ever pull on the jumper, Handles?

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