The statistic which shows the crackdown on try line infringements is working
The number of tries scored from within the attacking 20-metre zone has increased by more than seven percent this season amid a crackdown from match officials on infringements in that area.
The rise, from 289 tries scored from a play starting inside an opponent's 20-metre zone during the opening nine rounds of the 2017 Telstra Premiership to 310 tries in the corresponding period this season, was among the statistics which convinced the Competition Committee the game was on the right track.
The committee, which includes North Queensland coach Paul Green and his Wests Tigers counterpart Ivan Cleary, were also told that the use of the sin-bin had tripled, from 11 sin-bins during the first nine rounds last season to 33 this season.
Eighteen of those players sent to the sin-bin were for professional fouls and a further 10 were banished for repeated infringements, most of which occurred close to the defending team's try line.
However, the meeting of the Competition Committee was also told that there had been increased compliance in teams not being offside since the start of the season.
"When you have a game where both teams are doing their best to comply with the 10 metres, you get a better game," Green said.
The crackdown on incorrect play-the-balls has also resulted in 25 penalties being awarded this season, compared to none in the opening nine rounds of last season.
While there was criticism of the high penalty counts in some games, particularly the round four Cronulla-Melbourne game which featured 33 penalties, the committee felt the crackdown was having the desired effect.
"Clearly we want to always try to limit occasions when there are a significant number of penalties in a match but as a group it was felt that we needed to go through that period to get to where we want to be. We are certainly on track to reach that position," Green said.
Other members of the committee include NRL CEO Todd Greenberg, ARLC commissioner Wayne Pearce, head of football Brian Canavan, Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga former Australian captain Darren Lockyer and former premiership-winning coach John Lang.
They also discussed the use of the sin-bin for foul play and whether to proceed with a review of the number of interchanges, which was reduced from 10 to 8 at the start of the 2016 season.
The issue is expected to be discussed further at the next meeting of the Competition Committee later in the year.
The interchange was discussed briefly and the committee endorsed a review before the end of the year.
"We will have three years of data by the end of this season and we have always felt that is an appropriate period to judge the impact of the changes," Canavan said.