The NRL has announced that teams must wait until the referee blows his whistle before restarting play from a 40/20 kick. Credit: Brett Crockford. Copyright: NRL Photos.
Referees will blow their whistles to signal when a tap restart can be taken after a 40/20 kick from the commencement of Round 24 games on Thursday.
The NRL’s Competition Committee on Thursday reiterated its support for the rule, introduced this year, which allows teams to take a tap kick after a 40/20, rather than a scrum.
The Committee said the new rule had made 40/20s even more exciting for fans and would be retained.
However, from tonight, the tap kick can only be taken after the referee has blown his whistle.
Referees will give defending teams a reasonable time to get into position before signalling a restart of play.
NRL Head of Football, Todd Greenberg said he was confident the change in the process would eliminate confusion while retaining the excitement of the 40/20 tap restart.
“The tap kick was never designed to allow teams a lightning- fast restart of play,” Mr Greenberg said.
“It was introduced to eliminate time wasting in setting up a scrum which often negated the advantage of kicking a 40/20.
“The clarification of the rule is aimed at keeping the game flowing while giving defending teams a chance to get into position.”
All NRL teams will be sent a circular explaining the new process today and team captains will be reminded of the need to wait for the referee’s whistle for a 40/20 tap restart during the coin toss of each match this weekend.
The Competition Committee comprises former and current coaches, match officials, administrators and broadcast representatives.
Roosters coach, Trent Robinson, who is on the Committee, said the change in procedure would help eliminate confusion about when a tap restart can be taken.
“It will be clear to everyone now that the restart cannot be taken until the referee has blown his whistle,” Mr Robinson said.
Referees boss Tony Archer said referees would welcome the move.
“Teams will still be expected to be ready to restart play quickly but everyone will know when the tap can take place,” he said.