A recent RFL meeting has discussed major and minor rule changes for the upcoming season with the focus again on speeding up the game.
Rugby league’s best selling point for many is the intensity and speed of the game and it’s what makes it such an edge-of-your-seat watch during every game regardless of the matchup, and the RFL seem keen to maintain that.
For the upcoming season they will be removing differential penalties that occur in and around the scrum with just one exception, that being one that was introduced a year ago.
Dave Rotherham who is the Chief on-field Officer outlined the adjustments.
“We’re keeping it clean, infringement at the scrum becomes a full penalty whether that be foot up, feeding, whether backs are offside as well. There will be a penalty at the point where they were offside.
“We brought a law in last year, only early detachment from the scrum will allow the team with the penalty the option to reset the scrum. The offside law doesn’t apply in that situation, it should be a lot cleaner and easier to understand.”
With the scrum issues cleared up and a more clear punishment established for when teams try to gain that small advantage by committing fouls, it’s a case of then further speeding the game up and that comes down to the green card.
The green card is aimed at speeding the game up, or more to the point it’s about preventing the game from being slowed down.
Rotherham further explained: “Back in 2022 we introduced a green card which was aimed at keeping the match flowing. We felt that at times games were taking too long with halves lasting 50 minutes or more so we wanted to keep the game flowing.
“It’s just a reiteration of this though, it’s been reviewed by the laws committee and the clinical advisory group, so should the referee call time off either by themselves or by the request of a physio or head trainer asking for the game to be stopped then the player in question must either; leave the field for a concussion assessment if it’s a head injury, be interchanged, leave the field of play and then only come back when an interchange card is handed over, or in the case where the green card is shown they’re able to leave the field for two minutes of elapsed playing time but they must re-enter from an onside position as placed back on by the reserve referee. We keep the game moving that way and it’s been communicated to the clubs.”