NRL to keep interchange rule at eight per team in 2019

The number of interchanges is set to remain at eight per team next season after the NRL Competition Committee reviewed data on the rule's impact since it was last reduced for the 2016 season.

Dr Kevin Norton, a professor in exercise science at the University of South Australia, presented a range of data from the past three seasons to demonstrate how the reduction from 10 to eight interchanges had affected the game.

The competition committee made the decision to cut the number of interchanges three years ago because they wanted a more fast-paced and free-flowing game.

Some believe the number of interchanges should be further reduced to six but the main issue last season was the decrease in the amount of time the ball was in play.

It is understood the possibility of a shot clock to encourage sin-binned players to leave the field quickly was discussed.

If players took longer than 20 seconds to leave the field after being sent to the sin bin, the additional time could be added to their stint in the dressing room, while fines could also be introduced.  

Fox Sports CEO and sports business futurist Stu Taggart, the CEO and founder of Relevant Innovation, also addressed the competition committee, which comprises current and former coaches and players, ARL commissioner Wayne Pearce, NRL CEO Todd Greenberg and new head of elite football Graham Annesley.

Annesley wants to introduce greater transparency through weekly press conferences each Monday to discuss on field issues from the weekend’s round of matches.

"One of the things I spoke to Todd about was that I felt we needed to be a bit more on the front foot and be in the debate more," Annesley said.

"There is always going to be debate around decisions that are made on and off the field and I felt we needed to be a bit more proactive in that so I suggested to him that in the interests of transparency and leading the debate we should conduct a regular Monday briefing after each round of football.

"He and the commission have agreed to that. If it has been a controversial weekend we will deal with it but it not only gives us an opportunity to address controversial things that are happening in the game but also to get good things out there as well.

"It is limited to on field issues so if there is an incident with a player I won’t be talking about that. That is Todd’s domain."