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Experimental rules to be trialled in Round 20

The Australian Rugby League Commission has today approved a number of experimental rule changes to be trialled in two matches during the final round of the Telstra Premiership.

The Commission has approved the following experimental rules to be trialled in the Brisbane Broncos v North Queensland Cowboys game on Thursday night and the New Zealand Warriors v Manly Sea Eagles game on Sunday afternoon. Neither match will have an impact on the Top 8. 

  • Use of the “Six Again” rule for 10 metre infringements.
  • Handover for kicks into touch rather than a scrum.
  • Nominated Forwards only in the scrum.
  • Change in Bunker referral process to reduce stoppages.

NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said the decision to trial experimental rules provided a practical opportunity for the Commission to test the impact such rules would have on matches in the future.

“The Commission’s focus is to ensure our games are as entertaining and free flowing as possible for our fans. Like we have in previous seasons, we will use games which will have no impact on the top eight to test the potential rule changes. We will obviously also take on board feedback from the players and clubs involved and report back to the Commission during the off-season,’’ he said. 

“We are a sports entertainment business. It is important to continuously test innovative ideas, aimed at a better fan experience. This weekend is a great opportunity to test the practical application of some of the refinements which have been raised during the year.”

Mr Abdo said the Commission had listened to strong feedback from fans and clubs about issues relating to scrums and the Bunker this season. 

“It is clear the current process around scrums and the Bunker could potentially be better. We are also looking at ways in which we can reduce stoppages without compromising the accuracy of the Bunker.”

Mr Abdo said all rules would be reviewed by NRL management for consideration by the Commission at the end of the season.