The NRL is planning a suite of major rule changes as the game prepares for a major shake-up in 2021.
Rugby league is set to look very different next season as ARLC chairman Peter V'landys continues to make waves.
Among the huge overhaul are new rules including:
- Field goals, usually worth one point, will now be worth two points if taken from more than 40m out
— If the ball or a player carrying the ball goes over the sideline, play will be restarted via a play-the-ball, rather than the traditional scrum
— Players who break the 10m offside rule will give away six more tackles, as opposed to a penalty
— Players will be penalised for leaving a scrum early before the referee calls "break"
— Teams will not lose their one captain's challenge when a video review proves inconclusive, even if the on-field decision stands
— An incorrect play-the-ball will result in a handover of possession to the other team
— The Bunker will review replays after the referee awards an on-field try, and a conversion cannot be taken until the video officials give the green light
— A player must be taken off the field for at least two minutes if a trainer asks the referee to stop play because of an injury
The Australian Rugby League Commission ratified the changes on Friday, V'landys saying they have been implemented with the view towards "less stoppages, more unpredictability and increased excitement for our fans".
"The message from the fans and our broadcasters has been clear — the game became too predictable and the balance between attack and defence had gone too far in favour of defence," V'landys said.
"Our changes last year were successful in addressing some of those challenges and the changes announced today will take the element of unpredictability and entertainment a step further."
FANS REACT TO MAJOR SHAKE-UP
NRL supporters were quick to react to the bombshell announcement. AAP sports reporter Scott Bailey tweeted: "Best rule change of the lot is that you don't lose a captain's challenge for inconclusive review footage. Good they've addressed breaking early from scrums.
"Six again worked a treat last year. Field goals could be great or nothing. Who really knows … It'll be exciting."
Plenty were sceptical though, including journalist Chloe-Amanda Bailey, who wrote: "Why?? IMO we just had a ripper season. Why are we tweaking? Just for s***'s sake?"
Nine reporter Michael Atkinson said the two-point field goal is "completely unnecessary" while Fox League commentator Dan Ginnane simply said on Twitter: "What the hell is this."
Joshua Wells isn't a fan of the two-point field goal, writing: "STOP CHANGING THE FUNDAMENTAL SCORING SYSTEMS OF SPORTS — PLEASE! I love the new six-again rule, I do not love two-point field goals."
Sports reporter Sarah Keoghan joked: "Gotta say the NRL bringing back their own version of the Super Shot was not on my 2020 bingo."
Channel 7's Ben Davis said the NRL missed the mark with two-point field goals, replying to it with a face-palm emoji and adding: "@NRL has missed THE MOST NEEDED rule change ... turn golden point into golden TRY."
Channel 9 sports journo Mark Gottlieb said: "You know what no one in rugby league was crying out for? More field goals."