Players will risk being sent to the sin bin if they slap an opponent from this weekend.
The NRL Competition Committee said on Wednesday the recent trend of players slapping others, following the banning of the punch, was a poor look for the game.
As a result, referees will be encouraged to use the sin bin for open-handed slaps to the face.
“Slapping is not a good look for the game and I support any efforts to ensure that it is not a part of Rugby League,” Sydney Roosters Coach Trent Robinson said.
“The game has worked hard for a long time on its image for all people, but particularly for children and mothers, and this sends the right message to them.”
South Sydney coach Michael Maguire said the sin bin would be an effective way of deterring open handed slapping.
“We have seen instances of punching reduce significantly and we hope to now see a similar trend with slapping.”
Today’s meeting included Robinson, Maguire, Kangaroos Coach Mal Meninga, ARLC Chairman John Grant, Commissioner Wayne Pearce, NRL CEO Todd Greenberg, NRL Head of Football Brian Canavan, RLPA General Manager – Player Relations Clint Newton, former Jillaroos Captain Karyn Murphy, as well as Greg Inglis (alternate for Kangaroos Captain Cameron Smith).
Mr Canavan said players, coaches and officials were embarrassed by slapping incidents.
“Slapping may not always hurt physically but it is a poor look for the game and a bad example to juniors,” he said.
“Referees will now be empowered to deal with slapping incidents as they would with punches – by using the sin bin.”
Based on the current Laws and Interpretations, the Bunker can intervene in instances where a player should be sent to the sin bin.