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Increased game time, six-again rule on agenda for NRLW

The six-again rule and an increase of game time are set to come under consideration for the NRLW when officials meet to discuss possible changes next month. understands confirmation around the possible rule changes will first be discussed by a committee prior to the competition kicking off in October but coaches within the women's game will begin preparing their players for all scenarios.

NRLW matches have been played in 30-minute halves over the past two seasons but that number could be increased by five minutes per half in the third edition.

An increase of game time was floated last year but the player workload for part-time athletes was taken into consideration after a busy schedule leading into the competition that included Origin and the National Championships.

However, the cancellation of both events in June due to the COVID-19 pandemic has spared players physically this year with club football also only returning over the past month – dismissing any player burnout fears in 2020.

NSW women's coach Andrew Patmore.
NSW women's coach Andrew Patmore. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

NSW coach Andrew Patmore expects any chances made in the NRLW will flow into the Origin arena but welcomed the prospect of increased minutes across the game.

Previously, the 2017 interstate challenge between NSW and Queensland was played for 80 minutes before it was officially recognised as State of Origin in 2018 and reduced to 60 minutes.

In the same season, the NSW Harvey Norman Premiership was an 80-minute contest after three rounds until some blowout scores and injuries forced the NSWRL to cut the time back to 60 minutes per game.

"I think we all agree there should be some middle ground with internationals still played over 80 minutes we could bump up to 35 minutes for the NRLW and Origin," Patmore told

"Playing 30 minutes at Origin level just goes far too quick. Some of the girls could barely get on the field and some of the kicks at goal would chew up a bit of time, if there are a few tries scored you could lose 8-10 minutes alone."

NRLW coaches will also have just a month to mentor their players around a possible six-again rule change, which has reaped some rewards in the NRL but took time for teams to adjust.

The general consensus is NRLW players would benefit from the six-again rule change with teams often choosing to take the tap instead of kicking for touch once a penalty is blown anyway.

Likewise, the additional six tackles for a set restart is also likely to generate further points through fatigue after the competition's tries and overall points scored were down last year on 2018 numbers.

"It's certainly going to change the game but it comes down to education," Patmore said.

"When you get the momentum you encourage to play forward but the girls like structure and are getting better at playing outside of that.

Blues winger Jessica Sergis during last year's Origin against Queensland.
Blues winger Jessica Sergis during last year's Origin against Queensland. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

"An unstructured rolling ruck will be a whole new level. The really good players will get it straight away but the rest will just have to jump on board if it goes ahead.

"I think there was a good balance last year with some of the rules and we don't have to change too much and turn it into a tag game.

"That's my only concern, going another step with girls who aren't quite there yet."

Giving a team the option on where to position a scrum has already begun in the state competitions and is almost certain to follow into the NRLW with feedback positive across the game.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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