The RFL have confirmed changes to the rules with immediate effect ahead of the 2017 Betfred Super League season.
RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said: “The Laws Committee took into consideration views from across the game and I am sure the changes will be well received by everyone involved.”
The Law changes and amendments were approved by the game at a meeting of the Rugby League Council held on Thursday December 15, and aim to make the game safer, more exciting and more continuous.
Details of the changes are as follows:
- All Defensive players outside the scrum, other than the scrum halves must retire ten metres or more behind the mark where the scrum is formed and shall remain until the ball has emerged correctly from the scrum.
Goal Line Drop outs
- The ball is touch in goal when it touches the corner post, in goal line or any object on or outside the touch in goal line.
- A player is NOT considered to be an ‘object’.
- Where the ball which is stationary in the in-goal area comes into contact with a player in touch in goal or over the dead ball line, the ball is deemed to have been made dead by that player.
- The ball must have bounced on the ground either on or over the dead ball line/touch in goal line for a 20m restart to be awarded. Should the non-kicking team touch the ball whilst playing at it before this happens then a drop out will be awarded.
20 metre restarts
- The 20-metre optional kick must only be taken when all officials are in position and the whistle is blown.
- The initial tackle affected on the team taking the 20-metre optional re-start shall be a zero tackle.
- A “quick tap” will not be permitted where the ball has been returned to the 20-metre line and has been passed.
- Where a player kicks the ball in general play bounded by their own dead ball line, 40 metre lines and touchlines and the ball finds touch, otherwise than on the full, at a point on the touchline between the opponents 20 metre line and the goal line, the kickers team shall recommence play with a tap kick.
- The tap kick will be taken 20 metres in from the touchline and in line with where the ball first crossed the touchline but no closer than 10 metres from the goal line.
- The tap kick may only be taken when the Referee blows his whistle to restart play.
- Prior to blowing the whistle the Referees will give the defending team a ‘reasonable time’ to get into position.
- This will only occur when all match officials are in position and ready to officiate.
- The team not in possession may have a maximum of 2 players stand directly ‘opposite the tackled player’ (Marker)
- At the completion of the tackle the defender must take up a position as a Marker or retire the 10 metres
- The second Marker ‘must stand immediately and directly behind’ the first marker.
- Once the ball is played, any player who is not a Marker shall not be involved in play unless he has retired 10m toward his own goal line from where the ball was played.