Featherstone Rovers signing Ben Reynolds reveals why he isn’t “a big fan” of the new play-the-ball interpretation

FEATHERSTONE ROVERS signing Ben Reynolds isn’t “a big fan” of the new play-the-ball interpretation given to referees and clubs ahead of the 2024 season.

The RFL, in a statement late last year, said: “Players, coaches and match officials have agreed to see greater sanction for flops, hands on the ball-by-ball carriers and to ensure that ball carriers regain their feet on the mark and make a genuine attempt to play the ball with the foot.”

In Rovers’ first pre-season fixture against Bradford Bulls, there were five instances where a turnover was given due to an incorrect play-the-ball which seemingly frustrated players and fans alike.

For Reynolds, who signed for Featherstone from the Leigh Leopards ahead of the 2024 Championship campaign, it is confusing to adapt so quickly to a new interpretation after spending so long doing it a different way.

“I think it is how you interpret it because a lot of referees will referee it differently so you’ve just got to get on with it – those are the rules,” Reynolds told League Express.

“I’m not a big fan but that’s how it is. We’ve learnt how to play the ball for ten or 11 years and then one year it changes and we have to adapt straightaway. It’s like teaching kids something in school and then changing it the next day.”

The Featherstone halfback did explain that officials have come in and talked to James Ford’s side in a bid to clear up any grey areas around the issue.

“We have focused on it. We’ve had some referees in to go through the rules so we’ve been working hard trying to adapt our game.

“We don’t want to be giving the ball away, especially in good ball area, because of an incorrect play-the-ball. And I especially, as a halfback, don’t want to be defending all game!”

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