The NRL will resume its season on 28 May with just one referee on the field and a new rule in place that is designed to bring an end to wrestling in the tackle and timewasting at the ruck.
The ARL Commission, at a meeting on Wednesday night, confirmed the decision to abandon two referees on the field, but instead has decided that the two touch judges for the games remaining this season will be fully qualified referees.
But perhaps the most crucial decision is the one to introduce a “six-again” rule, which will allow an attacking team another full set of six tackles rather than stopping play for a penalty.
That rule was used in the 2012 NRL-Indigenous All Stars game on a trial basis.
“It’s clear the current system hasn’t effectively addressed the issue of wrestling in the game. Reverting to one referee together with the new six again rule gives us a chance to speed up the ruck and create more free flowing rugby league,” said ARLC Commission Chairman Peter V’landys.
“Giving the attacking team six more tackles for a ruck infringement will be a significant deterrent to slowing the ruck.
“No team is going to want to defend multiple sets of tackles without a stoppage in play. This is the greatest disincentive for what has become habitual ruck infringements.”