NRL to announce interchange changes

A reduction in the number of interchanges in NRL matches is expected to be announced next month, according to NRL head of football Todd Greenberg.

On the same day the governing body released a proposal to scrap the June 30 deadline for players reneging on deals, Greenberg admitted the NRL is also on the verge of making changes to the interchange system.

Teams are currently allowed 10 interchanges per game but after recent talks with sports professor Kevin Norton, Greenberg said that could be reduced to six or eight.

“We’re not far away. We’re collating our final reports at the moment,” Greenberg said on 2UE.

“(Norton is) an expert in his field on the impact, the collisions, across sports and measuring fatigue.

“It’s a fascinating piece of work that is a first for our sport in rugby league.”

The NRL moved from an unlimited interchange to 12 substitutes in 2001 before lowering the number to 10 in 2008.

But now with the aerobic capacity of players at the highest level it has ever been, there has been a growing push for the smaller, more creative players to be brought back into the game.

Greenberg said the game wanted to keep the balance between entertaining fans and looking after the welfare of the players.

“So we’re looking at that at the moment and I’d expect something next month that we can come out and definitively talk about our future for interchange,” he said.

The mooted changes to the contract system are currently before the Rugby League Players Association but could be just a temporary solution, with head of strategy Shane Richardson also looking at ways to improve the game.

“There is a much broader piece of work underway under Shane Richardson’s leadership here at the NRL at the moment, and that brings into discussion a whole range of things,” Greenberg said.

“Whether we look at a draft, a trade window, a whole range of things in relation to our competition structures… that’s a much broader piece of work.

“But where we need to make decisions in a more immediate terms, we’ll change them. And that’s why we’ve made this change today.”

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