St Helens coach Kristian Woolf insists Super League should not increase its substitutions this season, because it would work against previous rule changes and damage the integrity of the competition.
Woolf is against the move for two key reasons, despite match statistics showing there is a clear extra burden on players since they returned from the lockdown.
“The whole idea of six-again was to speed the game up, have the ball in play more, to have more tackles and create fatigue,” said Woolf.
“That then means that the smaller men and playmakers can come into the game more and create more attacking opportunities.
“If we start tampering with the interchanges now, teams will rotate their big men more and keep them fresher on the field, which is a complete contradiction.
“I can’t believe we’re having a discussion about it, to be honest.
“We started with one set of rules this year; we then had the Covid period when the NRL changed their rules.
“The general consensus was that they improved the product and we followed suit.
“But to have three different sets of rules in a professional competition in one year is very difficult and in my opinion it would impact on its integrity.”
Woolf accepts that some research into whether the new rules are creating more injuries to players should be carried out – but only at the end of the campaign.
He has not canvassed the opinion of other coaches, but says his Saints team has relished the extra workload.
Woolf added: “Our players have really enjoyed the new rules.
“They like having fewer stoppages. Previously teams could get bogged down if the opposition was happy to give away penalties and lie in the ruck.
“You could make it an ugly game and stop the flow of an attack and you can’t do that now.”
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