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.