Rule changes intended to bring clarification

Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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THE RFL has moved to clear up controversy over the obstruction law which blighted games in First Utility Super League last season.

Among a series of rule changes designed to “enhance rugby league matches for players, spectators and viewers” is one which will see referees allowed to let play continue unless the defending team has been “materially disadvantaged”.

The change follows a barrage of complaints over apparently good tries being ruled out by video referees in televised fixtures last term.

Another rule amendment could mean the number of players sin-binned increases from 2015, with less use of the controversial on-report system.

Infringements which could lead to a yellow card during the new campaign will include unsportsmanlike conduct – including professional fouls and delaying a quick 20 metre restart – plus dissent, repeated infringements and foul play/dangerous contact.

The RFL are keen for incidents to be dealt with on-field, rather than being passed on for the disciplinary committee to deal with after matches.

Referees will also be given more say when it comes to decisions by the two video officials in televised games.

The RFL are to adopt the Australian system, used in the recent Four Nations series, of referees indicating whether they believe a try has been scored before handing the decision on.

The referee’s ruling will only be overturned if there is clear evidence he had got it wrong.

The change forces the referee to make a decision and is intended to level the playing field between televised matches and those without cameras present.

The laws regarding concussion have also been amended, so a player taken off the field to be assessed by medical staff will not be counted as one of the 10 permitted substitutions during a game.

The changes were proposed by an RFL laws committee, whose members included Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott and Doncaster’s Carl Hall, representing the Championship/League One.