NRL move to abolish field goal wall

The NRL has moved to abolish the controversial “field goal wall” following Monday’s coaches’ conference despite the governing body deeming it legal just five months ago.

The controversial tactic was employed by the Warriors in their round 14 loss to Sydney Roosters when they lined up five players beside the play the ball in an attempt to shield halfback Shaun Johnson from on-rushing defence as he slotted a one-pointer.

It earned the ire of commentators and fans, after Roosters co-captain Jake Friend was impeded by Warriors back-rower Simon Mannering.

However the NRL deemed it legal under the rules of the games because the Warriors defenders were level with the ruck and therefore onside.

“As long as they line up behind the point of the play the ball and they don’t obstruct any of the players coming through to defend, it is a legal tactic under the current rules,” NRL referee boss Tony Archer said at the time.

However the wall was one of several issues tackled at a meeting attended by 14 of the NRL’s 16 coaches at the game’s headquarters in Sydney on Monday.

Other rule changes on the agenda were a 30 second shot clock for dropouts and 35 second limit for scrums to be packed and the introduction of golden try for finals and grand finals instead of golden point.

The NRL has already announced a shot clock for the 2016 season with the time limits still to be finalised.

“Shot clock will be an important change to the game next season and we have put a lot of work into ensuring we have the appropriate timings and rules,” NRL head of football Todd Greenberg said.

“The Competition Committee considered the recommended timings and the coaches also assessed those timings, as well as the trends which may occur as a result of the introduction of the shot clock.”

A report into the accuracy of the game’s referees last season and an update on the implementation of the video referee bunker system were also given to the coaches.

The game’s clipboard holders are also considering forming a coaches’ association similar to their AFL counterparts to give them a greater voice in the game.

AFL Coaches Association chief executive Mark Brayshaw gave a presentation at Monday’s meeting and the concept is under consideration.

“It’s an opportunity to use a collaborative approach for the betterment of coaches, through education, but also the betterment of the game,” Roosters coach Trent Robinson said.

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