THE six-again rule; it was brought in to speed up the game back in 2020, first in the NRL and then in Super League.
The ruling allows a referee to award an attacking side six more tackles for ruck infringements rather than a penalty.
Since then, the rule has been criticised and praised with supporters arguing that the ball is in play for longer whilst opponents feel defensive sides exploit the rule knowing they will not be penalised.
Retired Super League referee, previously told League Express: “From a referee’s perspective we were conscious that teams were willing to concede a penalty on their goal line to reset their goal line defence.
“Six agains were introduced in part to combat teams deploying that tactic. It was also designed to create continuity. To be fair, I think it’s worked very well.”
It’s a difficult one because rugby league often tinkers with rules each year with some people wanting things left alone, but then there are others who believe the sport is actually becoming too fast.
That there is emphasis on fitness and structure rather than flair and creativity. Especially with the reduction in interchanges from ten to eight, more load is placed on the stars of the show.
Player welfare is a pertinent issue in the modern era and it has a major part to play here as well, because, as before with penalties allowing teams a breather, that is no longer a possibility.
With a gruelling season schedule ahead of teams, the stress on players is great. Would it be helped by reverting back to penalties instead of a six again? Would it stop defensive teams from slowing down the ruck if they knew they would get penalised instead of producing a six again?
The rule itself is a good way of stopping teams from completely resetting their line of defence and allowing momentum to continue.
It’s likely a debate that will continue into the new season, but the rule is here to stay.