Judiciary changes aim for fairer system
Changes to the NRL judiciary system will see players guilty of committing minor offences hit with fines rather than demerit points, or a possible suspension, from the start of the 2017 season.
Offences including careless high tackles, tripping, contrary conduct and detrimental conduct will now result in a $1500 fine for a grade one offence, while players who accept an early guilty plea will have the fine reduced by 25 per cent.
NRL head of football Brian Canavan said the reform is targeted at creating a fairer and simpler system for both players and fans.
"Many people saw that the [old] system was too complex, it resulted in some unfairnesses and we also had players missing games because of something which was perceived as procedural in nature, rather than being something of intentional in nature," Canavan said.
"It (the new system) is a hybrid model, it's got the financial penalties and it's still got the actual points penalties.
"All NRL players were sent out the survey form… and the vast majority of the players agreed to the fine.
"We are sure [fans] will get it, because we sitting in this room get it.
"The fans I am sure will be very pleased to see players playing games [rather than missing them] for minor procedural type offences."
Under the new system, 30 per cent of the charges which occurred in the NRL Telstra Premiership last year would have instead resulted in fines.
Other more serious offences including dangerous throws, shoulder charges, kicking and striking will still result in points penalties for grade one offences.
All fines must be paid by the player and the revenue generated by the payment of fines will be reinvested in player wellbeing and education related initiatives.
The change was one of several announced at the conclusion of the annual CEO's conference, which was held in Auckland on Thursday.
Offences will now universally carry three grades, although offences which are deemed to be more serious than a grade three offence will be referred directly to the judiciary panel.
There will be a reduction in the number of categories for offences from 17 to 12, and a new Match Review Committee structure which will now include four members rather than five.
"This is the biggest reform we have undergone in many, many years," Canavan said.
"It's much simpler, there's only three categories, there's only 12 offences there, it's a very simple system.
"The fans will understand it, our players have signed off on it.
"It will be a vast improvement."