One major rule change Super League should consider ahead of the new season

THE NRL has announced seven amendments to its rules for 2023.

One of those includes offsides at scrums as the Australian governing body appears determined to stop infringements from defensive teams in order to help them reset their line.

Now, the NRL has stated: “A full penalty will be awarded (rather than a set restart), for off-side scrum infringements by the defensive team anywhere on the field. The non-infringing team will retain the option of repacking the scrum or taking the awarded penalty. Any team which deliberately locks the ball in the scrum to trap defenders in an off-side position will also be penalised.”

Something of this nature was mooted by retired Super League referee James Child when he spoke exclusively to League Express.

Child previously said: “The main rule change I would bring in would be the ability to generate a penalty from the scrum.

“We changed the scrum rule so you could have a scrum to split the backs and create an attacking opportunity but some teams concede a penalty for offside at the scrum knowing a team can’t kick for two, hoping that the referee doesn’t see it as a major infringement and sinbin for it.

“We have sinbinned this year for it because teams have used it as a deliberate ploy or we have warned teams that a sinbin could follow.

“There is an easy way to resolve that and it is to make it a full penalty rather than a differential one. Teams could potentially concede two points off the back of it and potentially a sinbin. All penalties at scrums should be full ones.”

With this in mind, the major rule change of awarding full penalties at scrums would deter defensive teams from giving away offsides to stop an attacking side from gaining an advantage.

Bringing scrums back into the sport was the right decision in order to encourage attacking play. To encourage this even further, the RFL could scrap the differential penalty from a scrum and fully penalise defensive teams if they stray offside.