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Experts view: Who'll benefit from six-again rule

It's the new rule which has caused plenty of debate during the past few weeks but who will benefit most from the six-again substitute for ruck penalties?

Whenever the one referee on field believes a defending team has infringed in the play-the-ball area, they will wave six-again and the attacking team will be off and running.

The NRL.com experts have their say on who will cash in on this new rule.

Experts view

Jamie Soward (former Blues five-eighth)

Forward packs that can use an interchange of passing should be able to create one-on-one tackles, therefore creating a quick play-the-ball or chance to get a six-again. Look for Melbourne, Canberra and the Roosters to excel early on while the competition takes shape.

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Brad Walter (NRL.com senior reporter)

The Raiders, Rabbitohs, Dragons, Panthers and Storm are likely to be the big winners from the new rule. All have experienced hookers who can control play from dummy half, clever playmakers able to take advantage of a six-again call and mobile forwards to generate momentum against tiring defences.

Paul Suttor (NRL.com editor)

This new rule should be a gold mine for big forwards who can "find the ground" at pace and get quick play-the-balls, the likes of Panthers second-rower Viliame Kikau and Brisbane international David Fifita.

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Teams should be wary about holding on in the ruck, which will only enhance the impact of these players in getting their team on a roll with a pacy play-the-ball or six more plays if the referee thinks defenders are holding them down too long to negate their physical advantages.

Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League)

The Brisbane Broncos should be a team that benefits from the rule change as their forward pack is one of the youngest and most dynamic in the competition.  The Broncos have plenty of fast, big forwards who look for quick play-the-balls like David Fifita, Payne Haas and Tevita Pangai jnr and are very hard for oppositions to contain. 

Given their size and strength, no doubt other teams will be looking to hold on to these players in the ruck which will only lead to more defensive work for the opposition.

Margie McDonald (NRL.com senior reporter)

The hooker-halfback combo can really ignite attack under these new rules – but you need a No.9 with some real nous and speed. You need a runner, a quick-thinker, and not just good service from dummy-half.

If there’s good communication then your No.7 will size-up pretty quickly the fatiguing forwards or those prone to hanging on too long at the breakdown. Look to Damien Cook-Adam Reynolds; Cameron McInnes-Ben Hunt; Harry Grant-Luke Brooks; Reed Mahoney-Mitchell Moses to show us all how good six-again can be.

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Kenny Scott (NRL.com podcaster)

Some may argue the new rules are all an attempt to loosen Melbourne’s grapple, sorry, stranglehold on the game. But like most things, they’ll be ready. What they lose in the wrestling crackdown, they’ll more than makeup for with managing the ruck and any potential infringements.

From then on it’s all about giving quick service to the player out wide than can make a difference. Arise, OK, stay upright, Cameron Smith.

Chris Kennedy (NRL.com reporter)

The new interpretation will likely benefit teams with: a) big mobile forward packs who can create the ruck pressure to earn those calls, b) teams with livewire dummy-half runners who can take advantage, and c) the fittest teams who can cope with the faster rules as the game wears on.

The Brisbane pack, Damien Cook and the Roosters respectively seem to fit the bill but the fearsome Broncos pack will generate the most advantage from the new rule.

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Troy Whittaker (NRL.com reporter)

This rule seems like a big win for teams with a quick and smart hooker. The likes of the Rabbitohs international Damien Cook, Roosters rake Sam Verrills, Brisbane's Jake Turpin and Dragons captain Cameron McInnes will relish the faster play-the-balls. They'll be able to constantly play over the advantage line and exploit defences on the back foot.

Martin Lenehan (NRL.com senior journalist)

The Parramatta Eels will thrive under the new rules with Reed Mahoney probing out of dummy half and Mitchell Moses challenging the line with his brilliant footwork and speed. As defenders tire and attrition returns to the game we'll see instinctive playmakers like Moses become even more dangerous.

Lone Scout (NRL Fantasy guru)

It’s hardly a bold statement to say “James Tedesco will be good this year” but against tiring middle forwards who are back-tracking for repeat sets a player like Tedesco can be deadly.

The play immediately following a six-again call won’t be where the damage is done (as it’ll obviously come after a slow play-the-ball), it’ll be a couple of tackles later when fatigue starts to take its toll and make defenders ripe for the picking for the game’s most elusive ball-runner.

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Jonathan Healy (NRL.com reporter)

Ricky Stuart always seems to be ahead of the curve with new rules and finding ways to exploit them, so don't be surprised to see the Raiders find ways to take advantage of the six-again rule.

Alicia Newton (NRL.com reporter)

The six-again rule should be a fullback’s dream if teams have got specific runners who lurk around the middle of the ruck. The Sea Eagles should be able to benefit most with Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans constantly on the attack and behind a big forward pack, while James Tedesco and Ryan Papenhuyzen are among others.

Joel Gould (NRL.com reporter)

The new rule has already been welcomed by Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold and with good reason. The Broncos boast young and mobile forwards such as Payne Haas, Tom Flegler and Pat Carrigan who like to get to their feet quickly and play up-tempo football. Nimble backs such as Anthony Milford will then be on the lookout to make the most of ‘six again’ against a tiring defence. 

Tanisha Stanton (NRL.com reporter)

I think the Bunnies will have the most success with this new rule. Speeding up the ruck caters to Damien Cooks’ style of game. Plus having the likes of Adam Reynolds, Cody Walker, when he returns from his two-game suspension, and Latrell Mitchell running off the quick play-the-balls will be lethal. 

Zac Bailey (NRL.com journalist)

The game’s cleverest hookers. The likes of Cameron Smith, Josh Hodgson and especially Damien Cook due to his lightning speed around the ruck. These players are already an extremely important piece to their team’s play and the new six-again rule will see them have even more impact in 2020.

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARL Commission, NRL clubs or state associations.