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Which NRL rule would you change if you were V’Landys for a day?


Rugby league fans are always frustrated by one rule or another in the NRL.

Upset about this, disagreeing about that, wanting it to go back to the good old days, or begging for it to catch up with the times. We have all said, “If I was Peter V’Landys for a day, I would bring that in for sure,” or “If I was in charge, I would scrap that stupid rule in a heartbeat.”

For a moment, just close your eyes and pretend that you were PVL. By some freak chance, like, you prayed to the heavens just as a bolt of lightning struck, or made a wish to an antique fortune-teller machine called Zolta, or whatever else happens in Hollywood movies.

As a result, you woke up the next day and realised you were the head honcho of the NRL for a whole day?

And after you rang everyone you knew and took a million selfies sitting in the big chair, you looked at the calendar to see what was on the agenda for today.

Change, implement, or remove one rule (just one).

Oh yes! So, what would it be? Let’s look at the main contenders.

The repeat sets
The ‘six again rule’ was introduced a couple of seasons ago to speed-up the game and minimise penalties for ruck infringements.

Teams quickly worked out how to exploit the rule, as they would purposely hold down an opponent to allow the rest of their teammates to get on side, early on the happy to cop another tackle or two rather than give away a penalty.

So, the rule was amended at the start of this year, with the NRL stating that “instead of a set-restart, a penalty will be awarded if a team commits a ruck infringement or has a player or players inside the 10 metres while inside the 40-metre zone of the team in possession”.

But as we have seen, it still causes a headache. Would you get rid of this one and go back to just awarding penalties?

ARLC Chairman Peter V’landys

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Two referees
I take my hat off to referees, it is a tough and thankless gig. For over a decade we had two officials in the middle. With the growing speed of the game, having two sets of eyes across it all seemed to work well.

Then before the Covid affected 2020 season resumed, the NRL changed it back to one.

Everyone hated the change, especially the officials.

With growing scrutiny surrounding the number of incorrect calls, would you bring back the two referees?

Eligibility rules
Didn’t this topic cause a stir this week? NSW star Brian To’o has declared his allegiance to Samoa over Australia for the upcoming World Cup, and some people have lost their minds!

As Samoa is a Tier 2 nation, this is all above board according to the rule book.

Fans seem to be divided on this one. Many believe that Origin is a stepping stone to a Kangaroo jersey, and by allowing Origin players to represent other nations it could ‘weaken’ Australia’s stance.

Then we have the other side who believe Origin and national allegiance are two separate things, and you should be able to play for the state that you were born in, as well as represent the nation that you come from, and this will only continue to grow the international game.

Would you use your one rule change to amend the guidelines on representing a country? Or maybe even widen the eligibility for who could play State of Origin?

Brian To'o runs the ball for NSW

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The Bunker
Ahh yes. The bunker with all its amazing technology and camera angles was introduced to help the on-field referees never miss a thing. (Insert crickets).

This hasn’t always gone to plan, with many seeing it as a hinderance.

Sometimes it works beautifully, and other times we slow the replays down that often to check a problem, we start looking for things that don’t exist.

Many want it gone, while others love it and even want the Bunker to be able to start ruling on forward passes. What would you do? Do you scrap it, keep it, or give it even more power?

The Captain’s Challenge
This one always makes me laugh. The captain’s challenge was brought in so the skipper (and only the skipper, thanks Chad Townsend for confirming that) can query an on-field call and have the bunker review it. Again, this is one that divides fans.

Some love the idea of the captain being able to get something checked if he thinks the wrong decision has been made, while others believe ‘you win some, you lose some’ and you just have to go with what the referee says.

Many hate all the stoppages in play that it causes, but we all have a good laugh when the captain listens to a player that swears black and blue that he didn’t knock on, only for the big screen to show he is a big old fibber.

Would you keep it or scrap it?

The five-minute sinbin
We have dangerous tackles, professional fouls and repeat penalties that result in players getting put in the naughty corner for ten minutes.

Losing a teammate for that long can be detrimental to a side’s chances, with many fans feeling some offences aren’t as bad as others, so they shouldn’t cop the same punishment.

The idea of a five-minute sin bin has been floated around for just this reason. The player and his side still get punished, but for not as long as a more serious violation. Would you bring this one in?

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 21: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves of the Roosters is sent to the sin bin by referee Gerard Sutton during the round 11 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Penrith Panthers at Sydney Cricket Ground, on May 21, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Obstruction
You know the one. Your team has just scored the perfect try, and it gets sent upstairs because one of your decoy’s bumps into an opposition player that is nowhere near the action.

He has hit them with the wrong shoulder, and the defender dropped to the ground like he has been shot by a sniper in the crowd.

NO TRY flashes across the screen and everyone looks at each other like ‘are you kidding?’ What do you think? Keep or scrap?

Golden point or draw
Instead of each team walking away with one point when the game ended in a tie, the NRL introduced Golden Point in 2003. An extra five minutes each way allows a chance for the deadlock to be broken and someone to be declared the winner.

There are those who love the match ending with an actual result, and there are others who hate that a team who didn’t technically lose in normal time walks away with nothing. Leave it or change it?

All Penrith players should have to play with one hand tied behind their back
No? It’s just me who thinks this? OK.

What would your ONE change be to the NRL rulebook if you were PVL for a day? Anything from the above, or maybe something different?

Scrapping seven tackle sets, changing one man strip rule, allowing diving on the ball if the opposing dummy half is too slow, moving the contract signing window, bringing back the shoulder charge……

We may need to spend more than one day at the top.





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