Graham Ponders Interchange Tweaks
Hard-working Bulldogs prop James Graham says he wouldn't mind seeing an adjustment to the interchange rules to stop players from having to play out of position when a key playmaker gets injured.
Graham suggested increasing the number of bench players available, such that not all could be used and one or two would be there as cover for playmakers or outside backs who coaches don't usually plan on replacing during a game barring injury.
Famously able to produce massive minutes in a position where plenty of players are on the field for less than half a game per week, Graham is the sort of player who becomes even more valuable the fewer interchanges there are available to coaches.
Once the unlimited interchange rule was scrapped in 2001 shortly after the NRL was formed, it was trimmed further from 12 to 10 in 1998, and Graham joked if it was reduced any further "we'll probably have to train harder and I don't know if I'm too keen for doing that!"
Instead, he was a fan of increasing the size of the bench.
"I don't like seeing players who go off injured not being able to come back into the game so I'd look at the mooted 18th man or whether you have five players on the bench but you can only use four, or six on the bench and you can only use five, like they do in football or 'soccer' back at home – I think there's five on the bench and you can only use three," Graham said.
"Personally I don't like it when the fullback goes off and then you've got to put a winger there and it can really disjoint the team, or if a half goes off you've got to have someone to change roles – I really don't like seeing that.
"If some of the boys move position then they don't have the best games because they're playing out of position. It's a problem easily fixed.
"There are a lot of examples, teams would argue they take a utility on the bench, I'd rather you have six players and you only use four."
This article first appeared on NRL.com