Review of NRL Rule Changes for 2014

Zero tackle from 20m restart: The first tackle after a 20m optional kick will be called a zero tackle. The rule change provides an extra tackle to discourage tactical kicks and negative play when the ball is kicked dead to slow down the game and deny wingers and fullbacks the chance to return kicks.

I don’t think I agree with this one. A 20m tap is already a pretty big advantage – and was even more so last year as we saw the game become quicker and more open. There were plenty of times that a team found themselves in a legitimate attacking position after going 60-70m from a 20 tap. Giving an extra tackle here is too much.

40/20 restarts: The team that performs a 40/20 kick will restart play with a tap kick 20m in from the touch at the point it crossed the line instead of at a scrum.

Restarts from kicks out on full: A handover will be awarded when the ball is kicked out on the full on any tackle.

Much of a muchness this one, probably a good thing to keep the game flowing.

Stop the clock: During the last five minutes of a match, the clock will stop following a conversion or penalty kick at goal until play restarts at halfway. The interpretation change will add excitement during close matches, provide consistency across matches and reduce potential time-wasting.

Not a fan of this one, because I don’t like rules changing at different times in the game. If they are going to change it, change it for the whole game – what would be wrong with that?

Quick taps: A quick penalty restart will be permitted on any infringement except 10m penalties, where the referee issues a caution or within 10m of the opposition goal line. The interpretation change encourages more continuous play.

So what exactly is the change in rule here? I thought quick taps were already allowed? Will they allowed to be taken before the ref gives the mark or something along those lines??

Captain communication: Captains will only be able to speak to referees during a stoppage in play (tries, injury break or when referee is issuing a caution). Penalties and scrums are not considered stoppages of play. Captains will be given an opportunity to speak to the referees as players leave the field for half-time.

Thank God for this! The days of watching a Bulldogs game and having to suffer through Michael Ennis’ incessant whinging are OVER! Can I have $10 on him getting binned at some stage during the season for continuously trying to speak out of turn? The change is the best of the lot, not just in terms eliminating annoying complaining, but also in improving the flow of the game.

Goal-kicking time limit: The referee will call time-off at approximately 1min 20sec following the scoring of a try. Fines will still apply to clubs when a player takes longer than 1min 40sec to take a conversion.

Ok whatever, fairly irrelevant when you take into account the other rule about the last 5 minutes.

Cannonball tackles: When a player is being held in an upright position by two defenders, any additional tackler must make initial contact to the player in possession above the knee. In addition, referees will be instructed to call held earlier on upright tackles to deter unnecessary third-man tackles.

So when an attacker has two people hanging off him and he continues to charge forward, another defender isn’t allowed to tackle his legs, which are keeping him going? Sigh. And earlier held calls? Wait so if there is still forward momentum then held will be called? Because I thought as soon as forward progress has stopped, held was meant to be called anyway. Confusion and frustration here we come.

Crusher tackles: The Match Review Committee will be directed to charge crusher tackles at the higher end of the scale to provide a greater deterrent.

Yeah cool.

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