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Captain's challenge ready for All Stars debut

The NRL will trial the new “Captain’s Challenge” rule in Saturday night’s Harvey Norman All-Stars match between the Indigenous and Maori teams at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast. 

Head of Football Graham Annesley and General Manager of Elite Officiating Bernard Sutton briefed both captains and coaches this week ahead of the introduction. 

The “Captain’s Challenge” was provisionally approved by the Australian Rugby League Commission earlier this month with the rule to be trialled in the All-Stars game this weekend and the Charity Shield match between South Sydney Rabbitohs and the St George-Illawarra Dragons on February 29. 

The NRL also briefed broadcasters this week and is continuing discussions with clubs about the proposal. 

Mr Annesley said the “Captain’s Challenge” was now ready to be used for the first time. 

“This is an innovation which puts the fans first,’’ he said. 

“At the end of last season we conducted a fan survey, more than 20,000 fans responded, and the biggest issue they raised was the impact of an incorrect call on the game. 

“The challenge system addresses those concerns and takes some pressure off our referees. 

“It also adds an additional element of excitement and tactics to our games. If a team gets a challenge wrong they will have no more challenges so it will need to be used strategically.”

How it works:

  • Only a captain can challenge a decision. Should the captain be off the field, another player can be nominated to take his place.
  • Each team is allowed one unsuccessful challenge per game. 
  • The only decisions that can be challenged are ones which involve a structured restart of play (e.g penalty, scrum, drop-out, etc). 
  • Challenges will not be permitted where the referee allows play to proceed. 

The NRL has today released an explanatory video to give the fans a clear understanding of how the system works. 

“This video provides an overview of how the system works and shows examples from previous seasons. It’s all about explaining the innovation to the fans, our clubs, broadcasters and key stakeholders,’’ he said. 

The “Captain’s Challenge” will be presented to the Commission for final approval prior to Round 1. 

The video can be viewed here: https://www.nrl.com/news/2020/02/20/how-the-captains-challenge-will-work