EACH year there is a long debate about the current rules that govern rugby league and Super League in particular.
In recent years, the likes of the six again, shot clocks and the scrapping of scrums for some restarts has seen the game become a lot faster. But is that helping?
Here, we take a look at three potential rule changes that could help Super League.
The captain’s challenge was a rule introduced by the NRL ahead of the 2020 season. It was designed to take some pressure away from referees and onto captains of a team if they strongly disagree with a decision. In doing so, it has led numerous times to the overturning of refereeing decisions that would otherwise have been contentious. If introduced in Super League, it would help officials no end with captains having to rely on the honesty of teammates to decide whether to challenge a ruling. Of course, if they don’t challenge it, it means that the official’s original decision is correct – everyone wins. If a challenge is used unsuccessfully, however, teams will lose their right to challenge for the rest of the game, introducing jeopardy to the ruling.
Scrap the six again
It was brought in to speed up the game, but the six again ruling has gone too far. Teams have now been able to manipulate the ruling by giving away a six again immediately after losing the ball. That has ensured that the rest of the defence has been able to gather itself rather than conceding a penalty and more metres as was previously the outcome. Scrapping the six again would stop players from slowing down the play-the-ball if they knew that it would result in a much more disadvantageous consequence. There is also the confusion of when a referee should award a penalty or a six again. Getting rid of it would make a referee’s job a lot easier.
Draws after 80 minutes
Rugby league is a tough enough sport in 80 minutes without forcing teams to play longer if they are level at the end of a game. Granted, not many fixtures do go to Golden Point, but they often descend into a farce with both sides aiming to slot over a one-pointer. In that respect, it can become a drop-goal-a-thon – something which diminishes the quality of a Super League fixture as well fatiguing players by playing more minutes. If, after 80 minutes, two teams are level then they both deserve to take a point home. That could end up being the point that becomes crucial at the end of a season.