Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V'Landys has confirmed a rule change to protect players jumping to catch a bouncing ball will be considered during the off-season.
As the rules currently stand, players are only off limits to defenders if they have left the ground to catch a ball that is yet to bounce.
On Friday night, the ugly flaw in the rule, as it stands, was shown with Manly Sea Eagles back Reuben Garrick taken out by Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, landing awkwardly on his back and dropping the ball.
V'Landys, speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, confirmed a rule change would be considered during the off-season.
“Changing the rule will certainly be considered at the end of the year as part of our review into the season,” V'landys said.
“If there is a loophole in player safety, we'll correct it. That's our number one objective.
“What's the difference between a bouncing ball or a high ball if you're in the air? That's what we'll need to weigh up when we sit down and review it.”
The incident on Friday night led to Garrick's coach Anthony Seibold launching a scarcely believable tirade in the post-match press conference over the incident, suggesting it should have been a penalty regardless of what the rules state.
“It was ridiculous, it was absolutely ridiculous,” he said during his post-game press conference.
“That's a penalty every day of the week. The rule says it's not because the ball bounced and wasn't a kick but how many times do we pull tackles up for a slight crusher or give the penalty for someone slipping up from chest to jaw?
“Fair dinkum, let's be serious.
“So we go two points in front, they get the ball back, Reuben can't run — we make a poor defensive error — but our fullback can't run and we're saying it's not a dangerous tackle. I reckon it's ridiculous... And it's two weeks in a row.”
Player safety has been of paramount importance to NRL executives throughout the course of the 2023 season, with the game increasing charges from the match review committee, suspensions, fines and sin bins dramatically on last season.
Clamping down on high shots, pressure on kickers, hip drops and other acts of foul play has seen players forced to fork out more than ever before and spend more time out of the game.
It led to Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett last week suggesting all of the game's major stakeholders should have a meeting over the future of the sin bin.
No comments were made over its future by V'Landys.