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Rugby league’s forward pass issue could soon be over with groundbreaking new technology

The debate of the forward pass has always been an interesting one.

There is, unlike rugby union, no ruling on the forward pass with the video referee nor the bunker in the NRL allowed to rule whether or not a ball has travelled forward, which, on the face of it, looks rather silly.

The NRL have been the pioneers of trying to change that with the Sydney Morning Herald reporting back in May that the NRL received two approaches from different companies, whose inventors believe they can definitively determine whether a pass has been thrown forward or not.

One of those is Sportable who, based in London, uses the method of inserting a microchip into the ball to track whether the ball leaves a players’ hands forwards or backwards.

The other technology uses limb-tracking technology to determine whether the trajectory of the pass goes forward or back.

NRL head of football Graham Annesley confirmed both methods would be trialled last season to see how they fare out on the pitch, though that was later shelved.

“It’s very early stages,” Annesley said.

“All we have agreed to at this stage is a trial of the technology in training matches to determine whether the technology meets our needs. If we’re convinced it is accurate and suitable, we would need to build a business case to take to the commission.”

The developments have been ongoing for the past three months, with excitement growing all the time.”

Now, though, developers are said to have improved their technology ahead of the 2022 NRL season.

Whether or not it gets the green light to be trialled is another question, but it could be the start of the end for the no-rule on the forward pass.

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