Hookers, locks key under new NRL laws

Tough, skilful ballplayers like Bryce Cartwright and Curtis Sironen are set to benefit most from alterations to the NRL interchange laws for next season, with the game set to witness the return of old style lock-forwards, like Bradley Clyde.

That is the opinion of premiership-winning coach Trent Robinson who believes hookers who can play the entire 80 minutes will also become invaluable to their side.

The NRL announced on Wednesday the number of interchanges each side will be allowed per game for 2016 will fall from the current 10 to eight, with a shot clock, likely to be 30 seconds, set to be introduced at stoppages for scrums and dropouts.

The game’s governing body said the move is aimed at making the game more entertaining and Robinson said it will be a case of back to the future.

“Things for the front-rowers with eight interchanges won’t change significantly but hookers, locks and some back-row will change so that is a good step,” said Robinson, who is on the NRL’s Competition Committee.

“With the shot clock the difference between 30 seconds and a minute, a minute 10 (is significant) so that is going to put more pressure on it.”

“I love the old style lock that used to play, if you think about Tawera Nikau, Langers (Paul Langmack), Scott Hill and Brad Clyde, those style of locks that played big minutes that played short side that player open side.

“I imagine a couple of those young guys coming through like Bryce Cartwright and Curtis Sironen, people are saying are they five-eighths are they back-rows or locks’, they were the old style locks so they are going to come back into the game.”

South Sydney premiership-winning coach Michael Maguire agreed that the changes would reshape the way forwards play the game.

“I think it’s probably going to change a few of the forwards and how they get around on the field,” Maguire said.

“That’s obviously what they are trying to create by having less changes.”

“I think it will open the game up and it will give the smaller man a bit of a go at periods throughout the game.”

“I enjoy the game the way it is, (but) I’m satisfied with what they’ve done. Whatever they put forward, we’ve got to deal with it.”

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