Fans can expect to see even more action in Telstra Premiership matches with the NRL today announcing new guidelines that will reduce time-wasting.
The introduction of a maximum time limit for the forming of scrums follows recommendations from the NRL Competition Committee, with statistics showing that an average of eight minutes per match was being lost packing scrums.
The Committee also found that the 40-second time limit for drop-outs was excessive with the limit to be reduced to 30 seconds.
Under the new scrum guidelines for the Telstra Premiership and Holden Cup:
Both competing teams must be properly bound and be ready to pack into the scrum 30 seconds after the head referee has blown his whistle to indicate that play is to restart with a scrum;
After the expiration of 30 seconds, and in the event that only one side is bound and ready to pack into the scrum, they will be awarded a penalty (not a differential) at the centre where the scrum was to have packed;
In the event that no side is bound and ready to pack into the scrum, the side with the loose head and feed will receive the penalty (not a differential);
If, in the opinion of the referee, the restart is being delayed due to the circumstances of the game the referee may call time off.
While Match Officials will begin to instruct players as to the new guidelines starting this week, penalties in matches for breaches will start being awarded from Round 15.
“This is a great example of the Competition Committee identifying an issue in the game and acting quickly to address it,” NRL General Manager of Football Operations, Mr Nathan McGuirk, said today.
“Due to the fact these changes are to be introduced a third of the way through a season, we believe that a period of adjustment for players and officials to this amendment is required, which is why penalties will not be enforced until the start of Round 15.
“We hope this period will allow the players and officials to familiarise themselves with the changes.”