Shot clock an NRL formality

Teams will cost themselves an almost certain two points when they dilly-dally prior to a line drop-out under new rules set to be introduced into the NRL next year.

A shot clock for drop outs and scrums and a reduction of the current interchange from 10 to eight are among the key proposed rule changes that will come before the NRL commission when it meets at the end of the month.

Time wasting has become a key issue in the game, and the NRL is keen to reduce instances of teams burning up the clock ahead of the 2016 season.

The NRL has spent much of the year conducting research into the shot clock and interchange, and the proposed changes are set to be rubber stamped at the commission meeting in a fortnight’s time.

Under the new shot clock rules, teams will be given a set time period, likely to be 30 seconds, in which they are required to re-start the game. If they fail to beat the clock a penalty will be awarded in front of the posts, 10m out.

NRL head of football Todd Greenberg said the initiative was aimed at giving fans more football to watch.

“Instead of players standing around and the referee trying to marshal them to get on with the game, the moment the ball goes dead, up on the screen would come a shot clock for a designated time,” Greenberg told AAP.

“It would count its way down and it would also be on the broadcast, that way fans understand, players understand and match officials understand when the game is going to restart.”

“At the moment the things we are looking at are scrums and drops outs.”

However Greenberg said the aim was not to artificially create a faster game of rugby league.

“People get confused. People think we are trying to make the game faster, we are not, we are trying to make the game more continuous,” he said.

“We are trying to ensure the ball is in play for longer because ultimately that is what fans want to see, they want to see football being played and not players standing around.”

The interchange will likely be cut by two changes per team per game.

“We want to make sure that the game is inclusive for all body shapes, not just big and strong but for agile and small and skilful players to still play a part in the modern game,” Greenberg said.

“We have to make sure we maintain a balance between attack and defence in the game and to do that we have to ensure that fatigue still remains relevant in the modern game.”

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