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NRL introduce new shot clock measures in attempt to speed up the game

Scott Pryde Roar Guru

By Scott Pryde, Scott Pryde is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger


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    The NRL pre-season might be underway, but the NRL have already announced new measures in an attempt to speed the game up even more in 2018.

    The 2017 season saw the introduction of a shot clock for scrums and dropouts, forcing players to keep the game moving. While the shot clock barely ever went off, a penalty was blown for the opposition team if either team failed to meet the time.

    Those measures will remain exactly the same for the 2018 season, but in addition, the NRL have announced time will be blown off for a period of 30 seconds following all conversion attempts.

    Before 2018, conversion attempts have followed wasted time, except for the final five minutes of a game when the clock would be stopped to prevent teams from running time down if they were in front.

    Former Manly Sea Eagles forward and NRL general manager of elite competitions Jason King said the new measures would add time back on to games played throughout the season.

    “At the moment, the time taken for players to return to the halfway line to restart play is wasted time as far as the fans are concerned,” King said.

    “The clock continues to run down (except in the last five minutes of play) but the fans see no football.

    “We have decided to extend the shot clock concept to take time off for a set period of 30 seconds after each conversion attempt.

    “That will add an average of more than three minutes of game time (where the ball is in play) to each premiership match in 2018.

    “An extra three minutes of actual play can have a big bearing on the outcome of a game.

    “Over the course of the season, this move will give fans the equivalent of more than 720 minutes – or seven more games – of rugby league.”

    It’s important to note there have been no changes made to the time between tries being scored and conversions actually being taken. This can be a gripe for fans at the pointy end of a game, but referees will still be allowed to call time off once 60 seconds have elapsed.

    The attempt to speed the game up follow those already in force throughout the pre-season, which has included many more penalties being blown for poor play the balls.

    The NRL season gets underway on Thursday, March 8 when the St George Illawarra Dragons host the Brisbane Broncos at Kogarah.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 2000 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (9)

    • February 21st 2018 @ 2:32pm
      Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | February 21st 2018 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

      Good initiative. But I still get angered by the 30 second limit for scrums and drop outs. It gets milked by every team to the max – even if they are ready to play. Perverse incentives as they like to say in economics. Give teams an opportunity to take a breather and they’ll milk it every time. Good for the defending team but disadvantages the attcking team. I’d like to see time off signalled by the ref as soon as a penalty is given or an attacking team forces a goal line drop out. The 30 second rule was introduced to speed up the game but its probably resulted in it being slowed down.

      • Roar Guru

        February 21st 2018 @ 5:17pm
        Nat said | February 21st 2018 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

        I agree with this but I still have empathy for the players. Every rule is manipulated to some extent and when you see players looking up at the shot clock before dropping out or packing a scrum I too have rolled the eyes. But as I groan getting off the couch in search for another beer I can appreciate 40mins of high intensity football must take it’s toll on them too.

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 10:21pm
        Chris Wright said | February 22nd 2018 @ 10:21pm | ! Report

        Have to say I am confused Geoff. Before the 30 second scrum clock teams were taking anywhere from 45 seconds to one minute to pack down. Now all scrums are packed in under 30 seconds. I think I know what you mean in that teams still mill around until the 25 second mark but it is quicker.

    • February 21st 2018 @ 4:39pm
      tyrone said | February 21st 2018 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

      it seems to be in place so that if a team wants to kick off quickly they can still fit in a 30 second ad break.

    • February 21st 2018 @ 8:02pm
      Sam said | February 21st 2018 @ 8:02pm | ! Report

      Why can’t the NRL follow the AFL RE:time wasting!!! In AFL,whenever the ball is out of bounds,a goal/behind is scored,or when umpire blows whistle for a ball-up,the clock stops till play restarts.Which is why AFL fans get 80 minutes of actual play (and great value for their hard earned $$).Modern NRL players are getting paid a Squillion,and are a lot more athletic than players from the past,so is it too much to ask for at least 65-70 minutes of actual play (30-35 minute halves)?? Another example is the NFL,where clock stops for scores and out of bounds till restart.

      • February 21st 2018 @ 10:26pm
        Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | February 21st 2018 @ 10:26pm | ! Report

        Precisely Sam. Just stop the clock when a decision is made by the ref or a try is scored or a conversion or penalty goal is being attempted. Then you are guaranteed of getting a full 80 minutes of footy.

    • February 21st 2018 @ 11:42pm
      Sam said | February 21st 2018 @ 11:42pm | ! Report

      An article from Buzz Rothfield 4 years ago.
      Cannot believe NRL doesn’t follow AFL/NFL lead and make the clock stop for any stoppage and out of bounds.Both AFL/NFL among the top 5 or 6 sports in the world for bums on seats.

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 2:06pm
        Perry Bridge said | February 22nd 2018 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

        I’ve been harking on this for years – but it’s not just RL, as FIFA has seen time wasting become an art form.

        The AFL however has one ‘milking’ concern – the 30 seconds to start moving in to kick at goal. As per a comment earlier – every rule gets manipulated. In the AFL the ‘one size fits all’ does fall down in a couple of ways.

        One is that not everyone needs 30 seconds. Granted, if you took a big pack mark and have to lift yourself off the ground and disentangle arms and legs, 30 seconds might not be enough to work out where you’re kicking from and think about the angle/wind/required kick. But – if you’re standing up right and just been awarded a down field free kick – you probably don’t need the 30 seconds.

        The other is where the play then opts to kick to a team mate after claiming the ‘shot clock’. Should you be compelled to make a reasonable attempt at goal? Granted this one won’t apply for NRL conversion kicks!!!

        But you certainly could see the scrum ‘shot clock’ get milked during last year – but I gather the overall net result was an improvement.

        Time ‘accounting’ in sports is interesting though – the Americans are very, very conscientious whereas the English tend to be a little more blasé (just think 5 day cricket games). The AFL are somewhere in between – where they to actually stop the clock when lining up for goal – the quarters would go nearer to 40 minutes in duration.

        This is the question for the NRL – how long do you want the elapsed time to run vs ‘actual play’ time. To me – conditioned on Aust Footy, I’ve always found an NRL game over too soon and feel a little short changed re the value for money. (T20 fits the AFL time mold – perhaps a T20 might feel too longer still for soccer and RL fans??).

    • February 22nd 2018 @ 6:58pm
      Cugel said | February 22nd 2018 @ 6:58pm | ! Report

      As soon as you stop the clock for various stoppages, every one will just stand around for as long as absolutely possible, and maybe mosey on over to the scrum when they feel like it. Games will last 100+ minutes: an extra 20+ minutes of nothing.

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