Last year NRL headlines were dominated by the competition’s decision to crank down on contact with the head leading to a record number of suspensions throughout the 2021 campaign.
Grade one sanctions increased at an astronomical rate rising from 39 fines handed out in 2020 to total of 187 in 2021 according to Zero Tackle. Some fines are reportedly as steep as $1500.
This has put a lot of pressure on players financially as accidental contact with the head again and again could lead to players losing out on a huge chunk of their wage – a major issue for some of the lower paid players in the competition.
Although the stricter stance is undoubtedly good for the game as it could help prevent head injuries like the one we all saw plaguing former Leeds captain Stevie Ward in the documentary on Sky Sports this week, but perhaps on field punishment is enough when you consider the regularity at which these offences are sited and how often it could lead to players losing a chunk of their wage.
Thus, the heads of the RLPA Daly Cherry-Evans, Wade Graham and Kurt Capewell are looking to persuade the league to adjust their judiciary code ahead of 2022 according to the Daily Telegraph.
They’ve also urged against any further rule changes in 2022 after wild changes over the last two seasons. A survey was sent out to every club over the off-season regarding any changes to the rules and the ARL are set to discuss the feedback in early December with players hoping the NRL will change their penalty structure for 2022.