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New Super League rule could be implemented to stop players ‘milking’ penalties

Luke Keary down injured. Super League

Following a huge increase in players attempting to win penalties over the past few years, there could be a new Super League rule implemented soon, as a change has been made in NRL.

Super League has long followed its Australian counterpart in rule changes, with a recent change being the implementation of the ‘six-again’ rule, speeding the game up when defenders attempt to slow the attackers down at the play-the-ball.

Another big change in Super League that was originally made in NRL was the introduction of the ‘Bunker‘ – having video referees at a centralised location rather than at the stadiums of games they’re officiating.

This made a difference particularly for games at stadiums with more primitive technology, as video referees now get access to better screens to view every angle available for the decisions they make.

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New Super League rule could be implemented to stop players ‘milking’ penalties

Hull FC half back Ben McNamara 19 leaves the field for a Head Injury Assessment during the Betfred Super League match between Hull FC and Salford Red Devils

Ben McNamara leaves the field for an HIA – something we could be seeing more often going forward. Credit: Imago Images

We often see, in true football style, players staying down after tackles, feigning injury to attempt to make officials hand a penalty their way.

It’s certainly increased in recent years, and there isn’t, currently, really anything in place that would motivate players to stop trying it.

Now, however, the NRL has made a big change that could be making its way to Super League.

The NRL Head of Football, Graham Annesley, has confirmed the ‘remote independent doctor’ will be ensuring that players who are “slow to stand” then undergo 15-minute head injury assessments.

There are free interchanges for HIAs already, meaning teams will not go down a man under this rule, but they will be without a specific player for almost a quarter of the match.

Annesley told The Age Australia: “One of the signs the independent doctor in the bunker looks for is any player who is slow to stand after any kind of head contact, whether it be accidental or as a result of foul play.

“While I’m not suggesting that players may be feigning injury in an attempt to receive a penalty, players who do not regain their feet within 15 seconds after identifiable head contact, will generally find they are removed to undergo a head injury assessment.”

The rule has already been used in NRL in recent weeks, and will continue going forward – meaning it’s likely that Super League will continue the trend and implement it in subsequent years if it turns out to be a success.

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