Sharks coach John Morris says the NRL's new six-again rule can revive rugby league's age-old art of one-on-one tackling.
Morris and his NRL coaching counterparts have been coming to grips with the recently announced rule changes to be enforced by one on-field referee, with the six-again call for ruck infringements dictating training sessions across the game.
Several clubs have been practising sustained defensive periods where they are making nine or 10 tackles in a row, the likely scenario when play-on is called instead of a full penalty.
Dragons coach Paul McGregor has also been forwarding training vision to NRL referees' boss Bernard Sutton for feedback with officials unable to attend training under coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
Morris has been poring over vision of games from the first two rounds – which Cronulla lost in part due to penalty goals from ruck infringements against Souths and Melbourne.
He expects the six-again rule to reduce the trend of three and four-man gang tackling across the game, and bring blue-chip defenders like Jake Trbojevic to the fore.
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"I think its going to bring back the good old tackle technique where you need to make your first tackles," Morris said on Friday.
"There's some methods where teams would get numbers in and hold a player up and wait until he had some assistance [from fellow defenders] ...
"You probably won't be able to do that. I think the ability to make good one-on-one tackles is more prevalent now than ever which is a great thing for rugby league.
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"Jake Trbojevic is a great example. His tackle technique is one of the best in the game. Those players who are competent with their one-on-one tackles, it won't hurt them that much, this rule.
"But those who rely on help from teammates, could be in for a bit of a shock."
In analysing Cronulla's round-two loss to the Storm, Morris found 11 instances where a six-again call could have been made against ruck infringements.
He found a similar trend after getting his hands on a copy of the 2012 All Stars game, the only top-level match in which the six-again rule was trialled, to largely positive reviews.
"I think for the game there was 3-2 penalty count in total but I think there was 11 instances where six-again was ruled. Some of those led to tries and multiple back-to-back sets of six so we've tried to get it into our training as best we can," he said.
"If that's six-again, it would've led to something like over 9-10 minutes of extra ball in play. When you break it down like that ... the boys are pretty aware it's going to have a huge impact on the game."
Cronulla restart their season looking for their first win against the Wests Tigers next Saturday.