League: Punching to be treated differently in Four Nations

In the NRL, punching leads to an obligatory 10 minutes on the sidelines. Photo /Getty
In the NRL, punching leads to an obligatory 10 minutes on the sidelines. Photo /Getty

NRL players in the upcoming Four Nations and next year's rugby league World Cup will be in unfamiliar territory when throwing a punch won't automatically be punished by being sent to the sin-bin.

Both tournaments are played under international rules, rather than NRL stipulations which lead to an obligatory 10 minutes on the sidelines if fists start to fly.

"(Under international rules) it's up to the referee to decide whether it's a sin bin offence or it's a penalty. It's not mandatory, no," Four Nations boss Jon Dutton told Fairfax Media. International rules outlined by the Rugby League International Federation do not mention penalties for misconduct, meaning repeated infringements, professional fouls and dissent - all sin-binnable offences in the NRL - may be punished less harshly.

Dutton said work was being done to bring the two sets of rules into line.

"We've done some work with Andrew Hill, the CEO of the World Cup, to ensure what's played here is as close to possible to the NRL and Super League with a view to them rolling forwards in 2017," he said.

"The differences now are small."

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