Teams could be reduced to 12 men if they receive treatment for an injury during a shot clock.
2019 will see the sport introduce time limits at dropouts and scrums, giving teams a limited amount of time to restart the game.
The shot clocks have been introduced to speed up the pace of the game and to try and stop players from deploying time-wasting tactics.
And TotalRL can reveal that teams could be temporarily reduced to 12 men if that happens in 2019 and beyond.
Should a player require treatment for an injury during a shot clock and force the referee to stop the countdown, they will have to leave the field and will not be able to return until their side retrieves possession. If the injury requires them to be replaced, the substitution will be permitted and the side will continue with 13 players.
The ruling has been designed to prevent players from feigning injuries, and only going down with legitimate problems. It’s understood players can receive treatment during the shot clock and will be able to stay on the field so long as it does not prevent the referee stopping the shot clock once it starts.
Each team will only have eight interchanges this season, meaning coaches will be keen to avoid using a sub purely to have 13 players defending a repeat set.
The media is set to be briefed on the rule changes and how they will be implemented over the weekend by the RFL’s head of match officials, Steve Ganson.