The RFL has instructed its Match Officials to penalise players for misconduct if they deliberately throw the ball at a defender caught up in the ruck.
Several instances of this have occurred in the opening two weeks of the season with fans and pundits calling for a rule to be implemented to prevent the unsportsmanlike behaviour.
This has now been acted on by Head of Match Officials Steve Ganson who says that despite the new orders, defenders could still be penalised if they impede or slow down the attacking team.
The RFL statement read: “Following a review of the first two weeks of the Betfred Super League season, it has become clear that some players are deliberately passing a ball into a player with the sole intention of forcing the Match Official to award a penalty for offside.”
“Having reviewed these incidents, Rugby Football League Head of Match Officials, Steve Ganson, has written to all Head Coaches and made it clear that in these situations, Match Officials have now been instructed to consider Section 15 (i) of the Laws of the Game which state that a player is guilty of misconduct if he behaves in any way contrary to the true spirit of the game.
“This does not in any way absolve a defender of his responsibilities to clear the ruck and the defending team will still be penalised should the Match Official deem he is interfering with play.”