Workington Town coach Chris Thorman would welcome the ‘six-again’ rule if it were introduced to the British game.
The rule, that has proved to be popular since the NRL returned in Australia, sees the tackle count scrubbed to zero if there is an infringement within the ruck.
It has seen the tempo of games increase significantly, with defences that were repeatedly penalised tiring quickly and tacklers reluctant to wrestle in the tackle for fear of conceding six tackles.
It is one of a number of rule changes the RFL is looking to implement when Super League returns next month. They have also discussed the Championship and League 1 using the rule if they return to action as well.
“The ‘Six Again’ rule is something I have enjoyed watching in the NRL, and from a fan’s point of view it has sped the game up and made it more exciting,” said Thorman, who knows there are still other factors to consider if it were to be used.
“Scorelines have been a bit higher than what they normally are, and the margin of victory a little higher than normal. But I have said a few times over the last couple of weeks that I’d judge it after a month or two to let the referees adapt and allow the coaches to put their heads together and see how they can manipulate it offensively and defensively.
“I am all for change if it benefits the game, and all for the evolution of Rugby League. I think that rule has been a positive one.
“I’d be happy to see it over here if it gets brought in.
“I have read a lot in the last couple of months about getting the game back and I have seen ideas of shortened games and more subs, because players are going to be de-conditioned.
“There is a player welfare rule to consider with this, because statistically, the ball will be in play longer with this rule than it would be if we didn’t introduce it.
“There are a number of aspects still to consider, but there are ways to work around any issues.”
COVENTRY BEARS director of rugby Alan Robinson has explained some of the measures that need to be taken to allow games to return to Rugby League stadiums.
Any grounds that will host games once they are allowed must be made bio-secure, a process which will take both time and money.
“I think people underestimate what the bio-safety measures are for a full-contact sport,” said Robinson.
“People will look at the craziness that was happening on beaches and wonder why we can’t get the game back, but the RFL is continuing to do the right thing and following correct guidelines.
“We still don’t know what’s happening with our venues and what we can and can’t do. Even if we did, it could change in the next couple of weeks if the opening of pubs and restaurants goes well.
“There is a huge amount to look at and lots of different things to consider to get the grounds secure.
“I’m Ground Safety Officer for the Bears, but I haven’t even talked to Coventry Rugby and the Butts Park Arena properly yet, because Premier Rugby haven’t released anything to them yet either. The criteria we get could be different from the RFU’s and we’d then have to marry the two different sets of rules up to make it safe for both clubs.
“What I do know, though, is that we will have to zone areas off and consider signage around the place.
“There will be areas where people can and can’t go, so we will need to think about extra security as well.
“We can’t just click our fingers and make it happen. To get to the point where you can be playing in your own ground would take a good couple of weeks to prepare for. We can’t just say we’ll play next week.
“It needs to be done right by both the clubs and the RFL, because god forbid anything happens and we’re all then under really tough scrutiny.”
NORTH WALES CRUSADERS halfback Jordan Gibson has revealed he has put in a lot of extra work during the lockdown to ensure he is where he wants to be if and when the game at this level makes its return.
The former Haydock captain made the step up to the semi-professional ranks at the end of last year and he admits he was just starting to find his feet at the higher level when the season was suspended.
But he still knew there was more he needed to do and he has tried not to let the lockdown delay his development too much.
“I started with the club at the start of pre-season and had a good, tough pre-season and got myself up to scratch fitness-wise,” said Gibson.
“I then started the season quite well, so it was quite frustrating to have to stop again after just a couple of games. I was just bedding in.
“The pre-season friendlies were a bit of a wake-up call for me as I got up to speed with this level, but after them and the first couple of games I felt quite comfortable with the style, speed and physicality of the play.
“When I set myself goals and targets I couldn’t think too far ahead. I knew I had to give myself time to make the step up and then push on at this level and get up to the standard of an established League 1 player.
“I know there are still going to be times where I have to work on certain things and I have to expect that as part of my development.
“That then comes down to me putting the extra hours in.
“That’s why in this lockdown I have been working hard so I can still be working towards that sort of level when we do get back.
“Rob, our conditioner, has been sending us two sessions a week through, but I’ve been putting the extra hours in and training four, five or sometimes six times a week.
“I have been using this lockdown as a chance to get in shape so that I am really ready to go if we do get the go-ahead to play again this year.”
ROCHDALE HORNETS winger Shaun Ainscough is happy to pass on his knowledge and experience to the younger members of his squad, even if he can’t quite believe he is now one of the senior players at the club.
“I’m still a bit of a joker, but some of the younger guys and some of those that have come in from the amateur game do come to me sometimes, because I am one of the older ones now,” said Ainscough.
“Some of them have even told they used to watch me when I was playing on TV, which is a bit mad.
“From being one of the youngest and just starting out myself it seems to have gone so quickly that I am now one of the oldest and that people are coming to me for advice.
“It really has flown by, but to have some of my team-mates looking up to me now is good and I will help them out where I can.
“But no one knows how to react to the current Coronavirus situation because nothing like this has ever happened before. Even in the amateur game, those players will have never been away from the game this long.
“We went from playing with team-mates to being stuck in doing nothing, so this is one thing that I can’t help them out with advice on.”
KEIGHLEY’S hopes of developing a new stand at Cougar Park have taken a huge step forward, with their local MP Robbie Moore pledging to try and help fund the project.
The main stand at the stadium needs updating and currently consists of rows of wooden benches and a leaky roof.
“The Main Stand is the heart of Cougar Park but it needs a bit of TLC,” said Moore.
“Ideally it needs complete renovation, but that is going to involve funding.
“I am going to push as hard as I can to ensure that we can get some funding to revitalise the stand and get it looking great again.”
While they may still have to wait for a new stand, they are currently renovating it to make it easier to keep clean and disinfected when games make their return.
This includes fresh paintwork and upholstered seat cushions.
The club has also confirmed they are getting new, state of the art LED floodlights.
WEST WALES RAIDERS chief executive Peter Tiffin has admitted that one positive of being in lockdown is that the club has been able to switch some of their focus to make them a strong force in the wider area in southwest Wales.
Since the game shut down in March, the club has already announced plans to run Wheelchair and Masters sides once the game returns. And last week they announced a new partnership with Cardiff Metropolitan University.
The Raiders already have a close partnership with Swansea University and will look to duplicate this with Cardiff Met.
The club will be involved with the Santander-funded internships, which will see students getting paid-for work experience with the Raiders on a one to two-month cycle. Both full and part-time options will be available for final-year students at the university, as well as their recent graduates.
“We are trying to keep busy and when people around the club aren’t doing as much as they would normally do with their businesses or in their work-life, we’re able to think of ways we can help out the community more and ways to move the club forward,” explained Tiffin.
“Lockdown has helped us realise the potential the club can achieve for supporting not just the west of Wales, but the whole of southern Wales.
“The business plan to grow the club and develop partnerships like this has always been there, but with not having any games, training or long trips up north to think about, we’ve been able to really focus on that plan and we’re probably ahead of our planned schedule now.
“The plan for us has never been to get into Super League, but we want to be a club that will be around for years and years to come and be sustainable.
“We know what we want to achieve as a club and we’re not shy of telling, and showing, people what that is.”
DONCASTER chief executive Carl Hall has reiterated previous calls that there is a lot to consider before clubs at this level can agree to play games behind closed doors.
“We all want to get back playing, but we have to make sure we’re doing it right,” said Hall.
“At Doncaster, we have a stadium that allows social distancing, but if games were to be played behind closed doors, it’s not as simple as just turning up and playing with no crowd.
“The issue for clubs is the costs involved in testing and getting all things we have to have in place for safety.
“At the moment it would be a significant cost for us, but in a few weeks that could halve, depending on how things change, and then it could be even less after that.
“Playing behind closed doors wouldn’t be too bad as a way to simply get us back playing, but it’s the cost of everything else that would have a huge effect on most clubs and we’re not the only club in this frame of mind.”
LONDON SKOLARS hooker Neil Thorman has said it could prove more difficult for the Skolars to return to training and playing than it would be for other clubs, simply because of their location.
“We heard a few weeks ago that we were potentially working on a return to training in July, and then games starting in August, but that is constantly being reviewed,” said Thorman.
“But it’s not necessarily as simple as that for us.
“We use New River Stadium, which is council-owned, and they don’t know yet when they can re-open. Until they do we can’t use our usual facilities. So even if we got the go-ahead to go back, we wouldn’t have anywhere to train.
“We’re not the only club in this situation, so that has to be taken into account.
“It’s not even been that easy to get together in small groups. I’m in central London and the closest person I live near to is our assistant coach Matt Cuss. We’ve met up and done some bike rides, but everyone else is quite far away from each other.
“I’ve not been wanting to use any public transport because of the coronavirus, so it’s been tough, but I have been using my bike a lot.”
BARROW RAIDERS coach Paul Crarey is confident of a quick return to form if and when they get the go-ahead to return to action.
“We worked really hard in pre-season and then started the season really well,” said Crarey.
“We hit the ground running and we probably should have won at Featherstone in the Challenge Cup. We then went to Doncaster, a favourite along with us, and got a really good result and followed that with a good win at home against Coventry.
“The guys know that how we come back in at the end of lockdown could determine where we finish in the league. We have no control over what they do away from the club, so the onus is on them to come back in ready to go.
“Our conditioner has kept in touch with them all and they’ve been doing well. A lot of them have really put the miles in.
“They are all looking reasonably fit, so they’re clearly all looking after themselves, which is great.”
HUNSLET duo Duane Straugheir and Ben Markland have revealed an unlikely connection away from the club.
Talking in the Captains Questions feature on the club’s website TV channel, Markland referred to his team-mate as “Mr Straff”, prompting the captain to explain.
“A few years ago I went to work in a high school and Ben was actually there in year eleven,” explained Straugheir.
“Then when he signed for the club, in training it had gone from being ‘Ey Up Sir’ to just being one of the lads and me swearing in front of him.
“It was very strange.”
NEWCASTLE THUNDER coach Simon Finnigan has said that even though the future of the game this year is still up in the air, there is a lot to feel positive about in the North East.
“There is a bit of doom and gloom around everything at the moment, but there is also something very promising to look forward to and a World Cup in England is definitely that,” said Finnigan.
“The Rugby League World Cup is always a brilliant event and the fact that Newcastle has got the opening game and Scotland are staying up here is brilliant for both the city and our club.
“England has got a very good international side now and they will go close to winning it, so I am sure everyone is looking forward to that at the end of next year.
“Newcastle is starting the whole event off, so there is plenty for us to look forward to even in the current situation.”