Some of the other NRL rule 'tweaks' to expect in 2018.
NRL announces shot clock after conversion attempts, tweaks one-on-one strip rule
THE NRL has announced another measure to minimise time wasting and maximise the amount of time the ball is in play for 2018, with the clock to be stopped for 30 seconds immediately after conversion attempts.
In the same announcement the NRL revealed there would be a tweak to the way the one-on-one strip would be adjudicated, with defenders allowed to play at the ball as long as they are the only player involved in the tackle at the time.
Previously one-on-one strips were not allowed if there were initially two or more defenders involved in a tackle — even if all but one defender slipped off before the ball was pinched.
The NRL also confirmed the play-the-ball would be a focus for referees, with the onus on players to rake their foot over the ball.
But it's the latest use of the shot clock that may have the biggest influence on games, stopping teams from milking seconds out of the game to hold onto a lead or break the momentum of an opponent that has just scored a try.
It comes after the successful introduction of a shot clock to ensure scrums are set quickly and to hasten drop outs, stopping the defending team from taking a lengthy breather.
“At the moment, the time taken for players to return to the half way line to restart play is wasted time as far as the fans are concerned,” said the NRL’s General Manager of Elite Competitions Jason King.
“The clock continues to run down (except in the last five minutes of play) but the fans see no football.
“We have decided to extend the shot clock concept to take time off for a set period of 30 seconds after each conversion attempt.
“That will add an average of more than three minutes of game time (where the ball is in play) to each premiership match in 2018.
“An extra three minutes of actual play can have a big bearing on the outcome of a game.
“Over the course of the season, this move will give fans the equivalent of more than 720 minutes — or seven more games — of rugby league.”
King also outlined the NRL’s other major directives for 2018 in a statement released by the NRL.
— Referees will be asked to be vigilant on play the balls, requiring players to make a genuine attempt to touch the ball with their foot.
— Players will be allowed to strip the ball in a one on one situation — as long as there is only one player in the tackle at the point of the ball being stolen.
King said all clubs had been advised of the changes which also had the approval of the NRL’s Competition Committee.