Leeds Rhinos boss Rohan Smith has been outspoken in the past about the six again rule.
Smith frequently questioned the six again rule in the 2023 season. He never criticised an official for their approach but rather the game as a whole’s approach to the rule.
Since the conclusion of the 2023 campaign, the RFL have released a number of statements saying that this aspect of officiating will be different in 2024 and that came to pass as Leeds defeated Wakefield Trinity on Boxing Day.
The Rhinos used the Six Again rule to their advantage as they got a roll on in the second half battling back from 22-6 down to win 41-22.
But what did Smith make of the rule and its application? He said after the game: “Yeah, I went and watched Bradford and Halifax the other day as well and I thought on a small pitch in the mud and the rain coming in sideways, the game actually flowed better than the conditions and the time of year and the surface would have you anticipate.
“And then today I thought there was patches where I may have slipped into old habit, but overall I thought the play-the-ball turnovers were correct, the flops were correct. Like, I think it’s, what they’ve asked the referees to do is just referee.
“It’s not actually new rules and I thought that aspect of the officiating was done well. It’ll take some getting used to and that’ll probably cause some games to be a little stop-start. I thought there was some penalties, actual penalties blown for things that probably shouldn’t have been, but the actual ruck sort of stuff was, I thought the game flowed.
“And you can usually tell in the crowd, the crowd aren’t agitated by how long the wrestle’s going on for or the niggle and the play the ball and it wasn’t a mess. And you can usually tell by the amount of times the referees don’t have to go like that to say play on. It was quite well controlled I thought.”
Smith’s Leeds side take on Bradford Bulls and Hull KR before starting the season against Salford Red Devils.