NRL Mailbox: Trainers on the field
The NRL often receives feedback from fans about club trainers on the field during matches – the length of time they stay on the field, the messages they give to players, etc.
Here is what club trainers can and can’t do during play…
In all cases, when trainers enter the field of play to either attend to an injured player, carry water, or deliver individual messages, they must immediately leave the field once their assigned task has been completed and return to the player's bench.
Trainers have strict guidelines to adhere to as to when they can enter the field during play and what they can/can't do while on the field. The rules around trainers are as follows:
Each team can use a maximum of three trainers during matches.
The blue trainer's duties are limited to interchange of players, provision of water, and carrying messages to individual team members. They are not allowed to give general messages to the team or provide any coaching (except to provide messages to individual team members) during play. They can only be on the field when their team is in possession, a try has been scored, while waiting for a video referee decision in relation to a try, during a time-out called by the referee for an injury.
Orange trainers can't carry any messages at all. Their role is to attend to injured players, provide water (only when their team is in possession), and they can also be involved in the on-field interchange process.
Yellow trainers can only go on the field during play at the direction of the head trainer, to help carry an injured player off the field or to treat an injured player if the head trainer is occupied with another injured player. They cannot carry any messages and cannot provide water unless a try is scored. The only time when you will see yellow trainers as water carriers during play is if BOTH club doctors agree that the weather conditions warrant additional water carriers and if both clubs do not agree, then the NRL Ground Manager makes the final decision.
The NRL's guidelines clearly states that their presence on the field cannot in any way constitute a disadvantage to the opposing team. Trainers face close scrutiny during the game and those who don't adhere to these rules are ordered from the field during play by the referee and clubs can also be issued with a fine and breach notice after the game.
Already this season the NRL has issued $12,000 in fines to several clubs.