Sculthorpe and Hanley back further reduction in interchanges in the future

Two of the greatest British rugby league players of all-time have backed the reduction in interchanges introduced in the domestic game this season to be whittleD down even further.

As part of a number of new rules changes introduced for 2019, Super League has lowered the interchanges permitted in a game from ten to eight – a move also implemented in the lower-leagues.

Paul Sculthorpe and Ellery Hanley, both heavily involved in the newly-revamped `Man of Steel’ process, with Hanley acting as chairman, think that THE number could be lowered even further, to produce more ‘warriors’.

“What Robert (Elstone) has done,” Hanley told TotalRL, “by changing the game in terms of speeding it up, is brilliant. We are talking about very strong, athletic guys, most of whom have the ability to play for 80 minutes, so it’s fantastic to see them being put at the centre of it all again.

“To reduce the substitutes is a fantastic idea and I’d like to see it reduced even further. Potentially I think you could go down to six subs. I’d like to see that. I like to see warriors on the field, staying on there for long periods of time and being tested – aerobically and anaerobically. That’s the test of a real player for me.”

Sculthorpe, who twice won the Man of Steel award throughout his illustrious playing career – only beaten by Hanley’s three victories – echoed Hanley’s comments, suggesting that lowering the interchanges further could be a shrewd move for the sport moving forward.

“I’m a big fan of the interchanges going down; I think that was needed, and as far as I’m concerned let’s keep it going down,” he said.

When asked if he agreed with Hanley’s suggestion of six subs, Sculthorpe said: “Yeah, I think that’s right. “It gets away from players coming on and playing seven minutes at a time, and that static one-up, one-out rugby.

“You see a bit more flair, a bit more athleticism and it’s all a bit quicker. The action is non-stop.”