Coaches and players endorse two referees

A meeting of NRL coaches and players has backed the continuation of two referees and given a vote of confidence in the way the game is being played in the Telstra Premiership.

Rather than propose changes, the annual NRL Football Conference took a positive view on the existing rules and interpretations.

There was general support for the McIntyre finals system despite some discussion over the actual venue allocation.

The meeting did endorse a proposal that players who are sent off in a game are able to count a portion of that game within any penalty they may receive if charged.

“Previously a player when sent off has not been able to count time missed in that match as part of any penalty he may face when charged,” NRL Chief Operating Officer, Mr Graham Annesley, said today.

“We will ask the Board to consider a fixed scale that allows points to be taken into consideration depending upon what time in the game the send off occurred.”

A look at judiciary statistics showed the extent to which the game is reducing foul play with the total number of weeks served in 2009 being 61 weeks, down from 196 weeks in 2004.

“Each year we are seeing the number of weeks served dropping yet players remain under as much scrutiny as ever,” Mr Annesley said.

Today’s meeting did canvass a number of proposals including one that would have seen the penalty ‘touch finder’ eliminated for off-side offences and replaced instead with the referee signaling six more tackles.

“It was a suggestion that had been put forward for consideration based on the impact penalties can have in the game,” Mr Annesley said.

“There is a big advantage gained today from a team kicking for touch and re-starting the tackle count.

“The thought behind the idea is that it could reduce some of the impact a penalty has on the game, reduce stoppages and still discourage players from encroaching on the ten.

“That said, after discussion it was decided not to pursue the matter further at this time.”

The coaches have agreed to discuss issues further with their Chief Executives in advance of next week’s Chief Executives’ Conference.