SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 17: Addin Fonua-Blake of the Sea Eagles is sent to the sin bin by referee Jon Stone during the round 23 NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Gold Coast Titans at Lottoland on August 17, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The NRL today announced changes to the rules which will come into effect from the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership season.

Head of Football – Elite Competitions, Graham Annesley said the changes were aimed at increasing “ball in play” time and improving player safety.

The new rules for 2019 will include:

• A reduction of the scrum clock – reducing from 35 to 30 seconds

• A reduction of the drop-out clock – reducing from 30 to 25 seconds

• An increase to dangerous contact neck or head charges – with Grade 2 increasing to 300 points and Grade 3 increasing to 500 points (a Grade 1 charge will remain at 100 points)

• Any player sent to the sin bin or sent off will be required to run from the field of play, taking the most direct route to the dressing room. Failure to do so may lead to Clubs being breached and fined under NRL Rules and/or offending players may be charged with Contrary Conduct under the NRL Judiciary Code

• Allowing the Judiciary Panel to find a player guilty of an alternative charge when charged with a Shoulder Charge (e.g. Dangerous Contact)

Mr Annesley also confirmed that no change would be made to the number of interchange players for season 2019.

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But he said further assessment will be conducted throughout the first half of next season, before a decision is made on any future reductions for 2020 onwards.

Mr Annesley said the amendments were designed to reduce the amount of stoppage time in games, increase the time the ball is in play and simplify operational practices and procedures.

The increased penalties for dangerous contact to neck and head follows a rise in the number of crusher tackles last season.

“There is clearly an unacceptable risk of injury from these tackles and we believe we need to have an adequate deterrent in place to improve player safety,” Mr Annesley said.

“We have a world-class competition, with the 2018 season the closest in more than a decade,” Mr Annesley said.

“But we can always improve and our aim with these rule amendments is to continue to deliver exciting and engaging matches for players, fans, broadcasters and all our stakeholders.”


  1. The first rule change that they should have made was to scrap the 7 tackle rule when a ball is caught in goal, kicked dead or out in goal, a ball is knocked on over the try line.

    • Completely agree it is without a doubt the worst rule in the game. The advantage given is way out of proportion in relation to the error.

  2. I would like to see 2 changes.
    1st- Get backs out of the scrum. Have some attacking plays backs on backs. Instead of a front rower at 1st receiver doing a boring hit up.
    2nd- Put a 10 second time clock on kickers after a team receives a penalty. They stand around and have a team talk for too long.

    • Totally agree with you`re 2nd point jazzman, needs to be the same for goal kickers.

      I timed Johnathon Thurston last year taking a penalty, from the time the penalty was awarded it took him 4 minutes and 7 seconds, Jarrod Crocker isn`t much better, 3 minutes 48 seconds was the longest he took on the day

      They have a chat, drink, let the referee know, have another chat, drink and so on. Why don`t they just signal time off instead of waiting

  3. Good changes overall. But would like to see crusher tackles even more heavily penalised. They are the worst type of tackle. Good to see the billy slater “not a shoulder charge” defence booted out now with the alternative dangerous contact charge.

  4. Not happy that they didn’t reduce the interchange, less fresh players coming on better for the game to open up with the small speedy players coming into their own and less injuries.

  5. for the sin bin, how about however long it takes them to get off the fiield is added to the 10 minutes? Or get off to the nearest sideline? Agree with Jazz – get backs out if the scrum!

    • Nearest sideline would be best and 10 seconds is plenty of time to get there. I know it will never happen and has shortcomings (like favouring the team they play next) but making them play the first 5 minutes of the next game a player short if the sin binned player did not get off the field in time would sure get ’em off the field quick.
      Anyway, whatever the league tries to do will be rorted. What’s the bet that just about every player who gets sinbinned will now feign injury and his coach will say with hand on heart that the poor bloke couldn’t run off the field if he tried – maybe something like counting the sinbin as an interchange if he didn’t get off in time would counter that and might be more realistic.
      The clock times are still overly generous, and it’s a pity they didn’t reduce the interchange to 6. And get the trainers off the field – if you don’t need them in defence, you don’t need them in attack or if they are to be allowed on the field in attack it should be for the first tackle only.

  6. I was just reading that Shane flannigan is about to have his contract de regerstered and a possibility of getting there premiership stripped has anybody else heard that? If so the sharks need to be booted.

    It took pep tides and salary cap cheating to win a premiership and people say they aren’t a grubby club

      • Not at all pal. The alleged, but still unproven peptide farce, was not even in the year preceding 2016. There’s absolutely no risk to the much deserved premiership on the salary cap issue either. And on the coaching front, things could be much worse. We could have a guy like McGregor at the helm who even has his own fickle fans calling for the knife.. You very seldom see Sharks fans bagging their coach and whoever may step in certainly has the cattle on the paddock to go a long way in 2019. Business as usual

        • My money will be on the sharks finishing in the bottom 4, sharks will spend the entire year in the headlines and that will take its toll.

    • What was Shaun Johnson thinking when he signed on??? Only saw the $$$ on offer and not what was actually going on in the club. The club is definitely in trouble….

      • Johnson himself said “if he wanted money he would have stayed at the Warriors” so mute suggestion on your behalf with the $$$ quip. He wants a genuine crack at a premiership and all the fake news and background noise won’t translate to a poor performance for Cronulla again this year. It was supposed to happen in 2017 and again last year according to many after swapping Maloney for Moylan etc yet both years saw comfortable top 8 finishes. The haters and death riders may very well end up with the famous facial omelette yet again. We shall see.

        • I can see what your saying, but 3 board members quit, the major sponcer folds and the coach deregistered by the NRL. How can that not have any affect the club and the players? I’m not a hater by the way…

      • Only positive from this is that it happened now and not mid season. It gives the stand-in time to get involved pre season. The players will be feeling it at this moment but expect things to settle by season start. It’ll be business as usual on the field if not in the front office……

        • We all know what Cronulla consider “business as usual”

          Back to filling there players with peptides and cheating the salary cap.

  7. Rugby league supporters seem to be way too much like the whinging pommies these days. Everyone has been screaming for the changes that have been listed above, and yet nobody has said anything positive about it, only negative comments regarding what is still wrong with the NRL.
    Can’t we just step back, take a look, and see that the NRL is actually listening to it’s fans and are actively trying to make the game better with the changes it has implemented so far? Maybe they won’t all be to our liking, but at least they are doing something to help the game.
    Stop complaining about every little insignificant thing you think is wrong with the game and get behind the game that we all (supposedly) love.

    • Beastie .
      I didnt read any negative comments above.Just things fans think might improve the game.
      The reduced interchange is one. To the NRLs credit they will look at till mid season and then discuss it with a view to 2020 Great.
      Annersley said the new changes were about the reduction of stoppages and increasing the time the ball is in play. Again great, A stop clock on kickers would aid in that.
      I couldnt imagine there would be a fan out who did not like these changes. They are good for the game.
      The NRL is listening your right. They have said in the past that they monitor all league web sites. Thats why the above changes were implemented they listened. I urge all fans on all league web sites to keep posting ideas they think would improve the game. If they dont the NRLwill think the current product is ok and wont change anything.

      • That is true. Sorry, I think I’m just having a bad morning and something just set off my “angry rant” mode.
        I’m loving the changes being made and I hope they keep listening and continue to improve the game.

        • No worries mate we all have those mornings.Given that the sun is over the yard arm get a brown wrestler into ya it might give you a lift.

  8. They have to bring back the sholder charge. An all they have to do is police it hard if they come in contact with the head. Everyone wants to see the big boys hammer each other

  9. A new rule should be included. – Check how the Roosters are able to pay for the most expensive player in the comp and not fault the salary cap rules. Something stinks at Bondi.

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