Lam cautious on new rules

Wigan coach Adrian Lam admits that he is still not convinced that the new rules introduced since the Super League season restart earlier this month should become a permanent feature of Rugby League.

In a League Express Readers’ Poll, reported in last week’s issue of this newspaper, more than 77 per cent of readers backed the retention of the ‘six-again’ rule, but only 45 per cent wanted scrums to disappear completely.

“I was only reluctant at the start after seeing the ‘six-again’ rule in the NRL,” said Lam.

“It’s always difficult to introduce new rules after the competition has started. For me, after we’d already had seven rounds it just didn’t make sense, particularly after we had an opportunity to see how it operated in the NRL without rushing in.

“I think a lot of the Super League coaches thought the same way, but the rules were introduced and we’ve just had to get on with it.

“I know that it’s a tough job for the referees as it is, and to put any more pressure on them would be unfair.

“So all the players have bought in to making sure we work closely with them to get through this period to ensure that our game is great, while making sure we retain the integrity that we’ve talked about.”

And Lam has a specific criticism of the ‘six-again’ rule.

“The concern I have about the six-again rule is that sometimes teams may want the penalty as opposed to the six-again. For example, in our game against Wakefield there was only one point in it in the last minute of the game, so would they have preferred a penalty rather than a six-again ruling at that stage of the game?

“If my team were in that same situation at some point in the season, I would want that option. That’s the only flaw as I see it with the new rule.”

And Lam admits that he favours scrums, even though they are suspended currently.

“The lack of scrums is different, because we still have a 30-second time limit for the handover. I do miss the scrums, because we work to force errors from the opposition and you get rewarded for that by having a rest and getting the ball from the scrum. I think that’s all part of Rugby League and I hope they never change it.

“My other fear is that if the game speeds up that quickly because of the new rules, then it will become a dummy-half running game, and we don’t want to see that. So I’m sure that over the next twelve to 18 months they will adjust the rules, for example to have the penalty rather than the six-again. But we’ll see what happens as we go along.”

The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.