NRL clubs are set to call for a return to two referees next week when the competition holds a phone hook up with all 16 clubs.
The NRL controversially cut the competition back to one referee per game midway through the 2020 season, partially as a cost-cutting measure when COVID hit.
Upon returning from a three-month shutdown, crowds were unable to attend and broadcast details were reworked, causing a substantial hit to the game's bottom line.
It also came with changed rules designed to speed the game up, including the original advent of the six-again rule.
That has only gone to the next level in 2021, with the six-again rule also brought in for offsides, causing another escalation in speed of play, and as a result more lopsided scorelines.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the NRL are set to hold "feedback sessions" to hash out the game's main issues over the coming weeks, and the clubs will call for a return to two referees.
There is a strongly held belief among clubs reportedly that one referee is simply unable to handle the speed of the game, with the ten-metre rule in particular not being policed.
The belief is that a second referee will enable the referees to pick up more breaches from teams and ensure consistency in officiating.
A Sydney-based coach reportedly told the publication that the ten metres wasn't policed.
“Sure, there were some blowout scores, but the 10 metres was stuffed. Teams just didn’t get on side. The 10 metres has gone to ***t, it’s almost gone back to the 1980s," he said.
“The game is too quick for one referee. You can’t referee our game with one ref. We’re that far behind other sports when it comes to adjudication, it’s ridiculous. They need the head referee on the ruck and second ref at the 10 metres.
“Sides were smothering other teams with line speed because they weren’t onside. They will say there were all those high-scoring games but that was just because some sides were inept defensively.
“And they will say there was the ‘six again’ but they were reduced from 12 to 15 a game earlier in the season down to about six later in the season because they didn’t want blowouts.”
Any decisions by the NRL in changes to rules would likely be announced during the pre-season.