THERE is a “massive amount of support” for the new law changes ahead of the 2019 season, according to RFL head of match officials Steve Ganson.
Golden point extra time, shot clocks and a reduction in the number of interchanges from ten to eight are some of the main changes for the new campaign.
Shot clocks will be visible at all 12 Super League stadiums in 2019. Although a physical clock won’t be present at Championship grounds, the process will still be carried out between the timekeeper and referee.
Teams can be penalised if they fail to beat the clock for scrums (35 seconds) and goal-line drop-outs (30 seconds). Players also have 80 seconds to kick at goal.
Advisory notices will be sent to clubs to begin with for any breaches and fines could follow for clubs that consistently breach.
Ganson, who presented the new laws to the media alongside Super League referee Phil Bentham ahead of Jonny Lomax’s testimonial at St Helens on Saturday, insisted it wasn’t about becoming the “RFL police or shot clock police”.
“It’s all about making the game better and I think we’ve achieved that,” he said.
“We met with all 12 coaches before we put these new laws in place and they were all very supportive. Some of the fellas who have just joined the competition from the NRL didn’t see any issues with the changes whatsoever.
“We’ve had a massive amount of support for what’s happening and referees have been out to all clubs individually to talk about the changes.
“All of the data we gather will be put into a system and there’ll be a formal review after ten weeks to see how it’s going.”
He believes the clash between St Helens and Hull FC shows the system works.
“It backs up what we’ve been talking about,” Ganson said.
“The players were there for every scrum, the scrums were really quick and all of the drop-outs were under the time set.
“Most of the drop-outs today were away by about 20 seconds and it’s exactly what the game needs and wants.”
Ganson revealed one of Marc Sneyd’s touchline conversions for Hull against Saints ran over the shot clock by around 20 seconds – and they will be working with players as the system is introduced.
Sneyd said: “If it’s going to make the game quicker, the shot clock can only be a good thing.
“The players who take kicks at goal, drop-outs or feed the scrums are made aware on the field during the game and then it’s up to us to make sure the rest of the players are ready to go in time.
“I didn’t really notice any difference but, if it’s only going to improve our game, I can’t see anything bad to come from it.”