A two-point field goal for successful shots beyond 40m will be introduced in the next NRL season as one of multiple rule changes endorsed by the Australian Rugby League Commission on Friday. The radical rule will be introduced in an effort to increase the chance of a result changing in the final stages of a game.
It comes alongside the retention of the controversial six-again rule for 10m and ruck infringements, tweaks to the scrum, captain’s challenge, play-the-ball and trainer protocols designed to speed up the game. ARLC chairman Peter V’landys said the innovative rule changes would lead to faster games and more unpredictability.
“These innovations will lead to less stoppages, more unpredictability and increased excitement for our fans,” he said. “The message from the fans and our broadcasters has been clear; the game became too predictable and the balance between attack and defence had gone too far in favour of defence.
“Our changes last year were successful in addressing some of those challenges and the changes announced today will take the element of unpredictability and entertainment a step further.”
V’landys hopes the field goal tweak encourages teams to attack until the final siren in each half and came after a survey of NRL account holder and club members. “You’ve got to give the customer what they want,” he said. “It is clear the new innovations last season were a success … the six again rule has addressed the biggest issue that was in the game and that was the wrestle.
“The changes have sped up the ruck and made the game more free flowing which is exactly what the Commission wanted to see.”
Rule changes for 2021 season
Two points for field goals outside the 40m line
Six again for 10 metre infringements and professional fouls in ruck
Penalty if players break from scrum before referee calls “break” when satisfied the ball is out of the scrum
Play the ball restart when the ball is kicked or carried into touch.
Handover for incorrect play the ball
Review retained, but on-field decision stands, where a captain’s challenge is inconclusive
Bunker reviews done in background after on-field try is awarded, with conversion attempt not permitted until bunker is satisfied a try has been scored
Injured players must be interchanged or taken off for two minutes before they can return if trainer asks a match official to stop a game for injury