The RFL have confirmed some huge rule changes heading into 2024 and beyond which will change the sport of rugby league forever.
At lower levels of the game, contact rugby will be outlawed until the age of 10 whilst in Super League tackles above the armpit will be outlawed from 2025 onwards in keeping with the rest of the sport which will move to this rule in 2024.
The RFL say that this is done to achieve the following: “To increase the appeal and accessibility of Rugby League, especially at junior and community levels.”
However, there has been significant hit back with fans calling it “the death of rugby league” whilst others have said “get ready for 300 penalties.” Some even described it as a joke.
Former official Richard Silverwood has said it is “confusing” and that he pities the officials who have to enforce this.
Crucially the players have been against this as well. Former Castleford Tigers, Hull FC and St Helens star Jordan Turner said: “Rest in Peace. Watched a game of the trailed rules last season, worst game of RL I’ve ever seen…well in fact it wasn’t RL. Whoever is responsible for this I hope you understand the magnitude of what’s happening. 2024 might be the end for a lot of players.”
Wigan Warriors star Tyler Dupree added: “Won’t work, only thing this will achieve is killing the sport.”
His former Salford Red Devils teammate Oliver Partington said: “Sad day for the sport, can only guess it was decided by people who don’t actually play the game.”
This was reposted on X by Hull KR star Mikey Lewis.
Tony Sutton, the RFL’s Chief Executive who also chairs the Brain Health Sub-Committee, hosted a media conference at which the recommendations were outlined at Rugby League’s Etihad headquarters on Thursday December 7.
He was joined by a number of other members of the Brain Health Sub-Committee, including the RFL’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Chris Brookes, and other influential voices from the sport and defended the decision.
Sutton heavily defended the rules which it is believed by many in the game had to be done.
Tony Sutton, himself, said: “In stressing the significance of these recommendations which have now been ratified by the RFL’s independent Board of Directors, we acknowledge the challenges they will pose for those at all levels of the sport.”
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