Bunker has made footy better: NRL

The much-maligned bunker has significantly improved officiating decision times, the NRL says.

At a meeting of all club chief executives on Thursday at Moore Park’s Rugby League Central, NRL powerbrokers were told the bunker had brought about a notable reduction in decision times in 2016.

According to the NRL, on the back of the introduction of the bunker this season, decision times for video referrals are down 14 per cent on 2015, from 77 seconds to 66 seconds per decision.

The introduction of the shot clock has sped up the game, chief executives were also informed.

Average scrum times have been reduced by more than 14 seconds, while average line drop-out times have dropped by more than 10 seconds.

The chief executives’ meeting also discussed possible changes to the match review committee in the wake of Wade Graham’s suspension from State of Origin II.

Some of the options being considered are a fines system, increasing the carryover points’ reduction per match (players currently lose five demerit points for each game they play without incident), as well as increasing the demerit points required to miss marquee matches, such as finals series games, the grand final and Origin fixtures.

One possible scenario is that regular-season fixtures continue to be worth 100 demerit points, but for finals matches to attract a ban if players accrue 150 points, and State of Origin matches and the grand final to be worth 200 demerit points.

CEOs also heard interest in rugby league has noticeably increased this season. According to the NRL, crowd figures are up four per cent on last year and TV viewing figures are up a whopping 20 per cent on 2015.

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