As the end of the decade approaches, social media is being flooded with messages about how much has been achieved over the last ten years.
Rugby league is a fantastic game. It connects with fans from all walks of life.
However, there has been some contention around the rules and regulations of the game not only this year but for many years.
So I thought what rule changes could make this incredible game even better. I have come up with a list of five and they are as follows.
1. The return of the draw
I am just not a fan of the golden point. I know many people who also dislike it. In fact, when I discuss the topic with people and compare the current regular season golden point with the old school model, most end up agreeing with me that the old school model was better.
So, for those that don’t remember the old school system golden point or extra time only applied to finals and knockout football.
It also consisted of two ten minutes halves and if the scores were tied then, the golden point would apply.
It did not apply to regular season football. The system was not broken, it didn’t need fixing.
Therefore, I go with a draw during the regular season and then only for any finals or State of Origin games should the golden point be applied.
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2. Reduce the interchange to six
It is going to happen eventually. Although I think four interchanges is a great idea, I am happy to go to six first.
Any chance of bringing fatigue into the game is a good thing. It will allow the smaller and fitter players the opportunity to shine. The sooner this happens, the better.
3. Challenge system
I am sick to death of the video referee. In saying that I know the video will never disappear. About ten years ago I wrote a suggestion to the NRL about trialling a challenge system.
The challenge system gives the captain of the team a limited number of challenges per game (for tries only). They gave it a trial in an NRL game – I believe Newcastle versus St George. It was great.
Nathan Brown discussed it recently on Channel Nine’s Sunday rugby league show and he indicated that it was a great concept.
Apparently, in this game, no one went to the video referee. Unfortunately, he also revealed that no one from the NRL asked the Knights for their thoughts on the concept.
Is it true that the bunker costs $2 million a year to run, but KFC sponsorship is $8 million a year? If true (which I suspect might be hyperbole), then that provides the answer to why the video referee is used so often.
Ultimately, the less technology, the better.
4. Free play rule
This applies in the English Super League. It is fantastic to watch.
It works in the following way. When a team knocks on and the opposing team get the ball they get a free play to see what they can do.
It doesn’t matter if they run ten metres or 30 metres. At the end of the play, if they maintain the ball in an advantageous position, the game moves on.
However, if at the end of the play the now attacking team has been disadvantaged then the two teams go back for the scrum for the original knock on.
In some instances, if the attacking team makes a large break downfield but end up losing possession the referee will check with the team to see what their preferred restart would be – a scrum at the first knock on or a continuation of play from the next possession.
Though again, that would be the team’s choice. This rule does provide the chance for some outrageous and continuous play to occur and in my mind that can only be a good thing.
5. Time wasting
Frustration levels rise when a player who is not in the area of play feigns injury to slow play down. I know safety protocols must come into operation and this makes it extremely tough for the officials, but still, I like to see a crackdown on this.
One situation this has become a significant problem is when a player is sin-binned. I mean, how long does it take to leave the field?
I agree with Brad Filter if you are not jogging off when sin-binned then a send-off should follow. Only then will players get off the field quick smart.
Another way is that if a defending player goes down injured and play stops as a result, then that player must be forced from the field.
If they are not replaced with an active substitution then he must remain on the sidelines until either of the following occurs first: 1) points are scored, 2) change of possession between the teams happens or 3) to a conclusion of the set of six.
I hope then that this would stop players from feigning injury to slow down or provide rest to their team.
So, if you were in charge of rules and regulations for the National Rugby League, what would be the first five rules that you would bring into the game to make it better.