In its drive to speed up the sport with its new rules, league risks losing some of its essence. Big forwards could become extinct as the moves to speed up the game may mean smaller, more mobile players are preferred.
The game is already incredibly fast — how much quicker does it need to get? There still need to be some breaks in play and some room for defence to play its part.
Creating more gaps through exhaustion is not a good long-term strategy for player or sport. The quick taps are a promising initiative but players seem uncertain of when and where they are able to take them.
No one wants the NRL to become similar to Super Rugby, with big scorelines every other week. Keep the underlying ethos that tries are to be earned; some of the most riveting matches of recent times have been low scoring affairs (remember Manly's 4-0 win over Souths last year or the Warriors' 12-6 victory at Penrith in 2010).
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It's also hard to justify the new laws that apply during the last five minutes of games. You can understand the rationale — increase the chances of a late, late comeback — but it is unusual to have different rules in different segments of the match. In theory, teams can waste time with impunity for the first 75 minutes, then the referees clamp down during the final period. Why not leave it up to the refs' discretion?
The zero tackle from a 20m tap is a good initiative, discouraging deliberate long range kicks over the deadball line that threatened to take players like Billy Slater, Greg Inglis and Ben Barba out of the game. However, seven tackles from the 20m line is a big price to pay when a grubber rolls a metre too long.
Meanwhile, the tap restart after a 40/20 kick has been a change too far. It has led to confusion — teams are unable to take a quick restart anyway, until the defensive line is in place. What was wrong with the scrum? It took defenders out of the play. Even though the scrum is barely contested, it still has its place — as long as it is the forwards in the scrum and not backs.