SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 16: Channel nine commentator Matthew Johns addresses the television audience before the round 10 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the Sydney Roosters at Parramatta Stadium on May 16, 2008 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Former NRL greats Matty Johns and Brett Finch have called for the NRL to discuss reducing the interchange down to eight to improve the spectacle of the game.

Fox Sports journalist Paul Kent believes that clubs and coaches are wanting to keep the interchange at its current number is self-serving and doesn't improve the on-field product.

“The head of the RLPA Clint Newton has pushed that the interchange stay at eight and there are reasons around it that I don’t agree with,” Kent told the Matty Johns podcast.

“You have coaches in there that have an agenda to keep fresh players on the field because a fresh player gives coaches control.

“The one thing coaches can’t coach against is fatigue. A tired player does things that a fresh player won’t do and the coach has no control, but that’s the greatness of the game.”

Finch supported a reduction of the interchange as it brought the element of fatigue back into the game. He cited that "[fatigue] evens the playing field.”

Matty Johns recalled numerous reasons why it should change:

“There is a number of things reducing the interchange does and one of them is that it eliminates a lot of the wrestling,” he said.

“If they know they have got to conserve gas they won’t do that and there is less wrestling and the rucks get faster.

“When the rucks get faster there is not enough time to organise structures because the game is so quick and all of a sudden you’ve got the game that we used to love again. The flowing game, it is a no-brainer."

The general argument that coaches present is that they want to keep their players fresh and healthy, citing the number of injuries sustained when fatigue is in play.

There are currently no changes in the works for the interchange of NRL matches.

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  1. We talk about reduction, but to be honest i don’t think it really has done much to improve the ‘spectacle’ of the game. It is possible that it could cause even more blowouts in the score due to even more fatigue being placed on bottom teams such as the Titans or Bulldogs. I think that a reduction of the bench would only improve the spectacle of the game if every team was close to each other in terms of quality. Reduction at this point will just cause more one-sided contests and a clearer top 8 and bottom 8

  2. I disagree, but at the same remain open minded.
    The concept (of less interchanges) seems at odds with the bigger picture. The game is getting faster, more professional, and at the same time (rightly so) more protective of the players welfare, and then there’s a call for “more fatigue”.
    Maybe, and I don’t know hence the open mind aspect, but maybe there is an arguememt that “fresher” players are more prone to injury etc, but on the surface it just seems contradictor, and potentially very prone to “it’s a HIA”

  3. How about the coaches really earn their money, what if say the bench had 8 players and once on cannot come off , once they replace a player he cannot come back, same has union, that would be interesting.

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