Greg Bird of the Indigenous All Stars (centre) is tackled during their annual clash with the World All Stars at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Greg Bird of the Indigenous All Stars (centre) is tackled during their annual clash with the World All Stars at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY DAN PELED

BEHIND THE DESK: Will new NRL laws speed up the game?

Bill North - DEX digital producer

THE last thing the NRL needs is something else to slow it down.

The over-analysis of video replays - and time wasting at scrums - are fast making the game like the NFL in its stop-start nature.

The new NRL rules implemented by the NRL - which sees players penalised if they haven't packed into the scrum within 35 seconds or taken a goal-line drop-out within 30 seconds - are intended to speed the game up.

Players, coaches and sports commentators have claimed the contrary. In the All Stars game on Saturday night, players from both sides appeared to be standing around waiting for the time to run down on the clock before packing the scrum - which clearly defeats the purpose.

Even Indigenous All Stars coach Laurie Daley admitted it looked "a little weird at times".

However, reports have suggested that overall scrum times in matches played during the past week were indeed faster on average compared with similar games in 2015.

In any case, it is imperative the NRL ensures the new shot-clock rule is not abused. It must police it effectively, and that means an onus on the referee to take control of the issue.

As World All Stars coach Wayne Bennett stated on the issue: "Once they are there then just pack the scrum and get on with the game."

Matthew Elkerton - DEX sports journalist

THERE is an understandable reason they call the matches before the NRL regular season trials: because that is what they are used for. To trial innovations.

And the idea of the shot clock while it appears to have slowed down procedures in the All Star game, it could become very useful as the NRL season drags on, especially after the Origin period.

The main concern raised by Cameron Smith and Wayne Bennett was players were ready before the allotted 30 seconds was up but still continued to wait it out.

Smith admitted to telling his players to use the entire 30 seconds to catch their breath.

While this almost appears ludicrous in a match where there is unlimited substitutions and no player is out of breath - when the season starts and we are down to only eight substitutions a match it becomes a very different story.

With the new interchange laws, front row forwards who can play close to a full 80 minutes will be a requirement for teams looking to win. Any efforts to assist these players to do that (including a full 30 second breather before every scrum) will be welcomed by the clubs.

Yes, discretion should be used in the early stages of the game where players are fresh and ready to go and that discretion must remain with the referee.

But come the 70th minute in a match fans will be glad its set at 30s.



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