The NRL is on the verge of introducing extra time for finals games, after the powerful competition committee on Tuesday approved the move.
Under the proposal, a 10-minute period of extra time will be played to decide drawn matches, with the game only then going to golden point if necessary to find a winner.
It will replace the current immediate move to golden point when games are drawn after regular time.
After being approved by the game’s coaches at last month’s coaches’ conference, it was also supported by two out of very three fans polled by the NRL.
The recommendation is expected to be rubber-stamped at the next meeting of the ARL Commission and introduced in time for this year’s finals.
The NRL considered other options, including implementing a golden try to decide finals, however extra time was considered the most attractive option.
“Not only will it mean a more expansive style of football in the extra time period but it will lessen the prospect of a team being knocked out by a field goal in golden point,” South Sydney coach Michael Maguire said.
The golden point system came under scrutiny after last year’s grand final in which North Queensland defeated Brisbane after a field goal by Johnathan Thurston in golden point decided the game.
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett criticised the system being used to decide finals matches, maintaining his long-standing opposition to golden point.
Maguire and Sydney Roosters counterpart Trent Robinson represent the coaches on the competition committee which also features NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg, ARL Commission chairman John Grant, head of football Brian Canavan and Australian captain Cameron Smith.
The competition committee was also presented with data which showed the implementation of the bunker and shot clock were having positive effects on the game.
This season, the amount of time the ball is in play is up by 44 seconds, while scrums are taking 28.4 seconds per match (down from an average of 43 seconds), while line dropouts are taking an average of 26.4 seconds (down from 37 seconds).
As well crowds, crowds are up six per cent on last season while TV audiences are up 17 per cent.