Talking Rugby League: Let’s change card rules to keep more games 13-a-side

ARE we going to see a spate of red and yellow cards early in the new season that will cut offending teams down to twelve players?

If we do, then we are likely to see some one-sided encounters. And with every Super League match now being televised, that is surely not what our spectators and TV viewers want to see.

But that is certainly what the crackdown on high tackles could lead to, even though it will not be applied in full until the 2025 season.

There is no doubt that making the game safer for players is the right thing to do and I fully support the changes the RFL is proposing.

Having said that, I hope I’m wrong, but I do fear a big switch-off if we see too many matches involving thirteen players against twelve, or even eleven.

And that leads me to suggest an amendment to the laws of the game that I have proposed previously.

At the moment, when a player is dismissed from the field, either by a red or yellow card, the team is reduced to twelve men.

But why not consider the alternative of a team being reduced from 17 to 16 players.

In other words, punish the player by not letting him take part in the game, but don’t punish the fans by reducing a team to twelve men.

It would be perfectly feasible to dismiss a player from the field and have him play no further part in the game, meaning that his team was reduced to having only three players on the bench but doesn’t have to be depleted on the field.