Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V’landys.
Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V’landys.

NRL approves radical rule change

Following heated debate within the rugby league community, the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) has approved the introduction of an 18th man in the NRL premiership.

Round three of the 2021 season was headlined by an tumultuous number of injuries and concussions.

The Canberra Raiders were left with only one substitute on the bench against the Warriors after three players were taken off the ground in the opening 14 minutes.

And the following day, the Cronulla Sharks played the second half of their match against the Parramatta Eels with zero substitutes following three failed HIAs.

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On Tuesday afternoon, the ARLC gave in principle approval for the introduction of an 18th player when three team members fail HIA tests, but the concussion substitute must be an "emerging player".

The ARLC will consult with clubs and players before the rule is implemented from round five, which commences on Thursday, April 8th.

Although the 18th player would have benefited Cronulla on Sunday evening, NRL teams have rarely found themselves in such an unfortunate situation.

As revealed by the NRL Physio, the previous instance of three players failing an HIA in the same team before last weekend was round seven of the 2016 premiership.

 

ARLC Chairman Peter V'landys said in a statement: "This is a dynamic environment. As a Commission we have always said we would be agile in changing rules when it is in the best interests of the game and this is one of those examples.

"We see this as an opportunity to give an emerging player a taste of first grade rugby league in their team's time of need. The 18th player will also have to be rotated weekly so you don't have a young player missing out on playing lower grades every week.

"All fans agree we don't want to see a situation where a club is left with one player on the bench and this rule change will provide insurance for all clubs. It will also only be activated in the most dire of circumstances for a club, so we don't see it having a material impact on games every week."

Speaking on Fox League's NRL 360, The Daily Telegraph's Paul Kent argued NRL coaches will look to "rort" the rule change to gain an upper hand.

"If you have two HIAs - which can be fairly common - there's a chance they will rort the third to get him off," Kent said on Tuesday evening.

"They should also look at this mandatory swandown period, so if you come off to do the rort to get another guy on, you stand them down for seven to eleven days so that they miss next week.

"They'd start faking injuries - that's what will happen.

"We've had unlimited interchange, to some having to play half a game of reserve grade - all these different scenarios.

"And the whole thing that is consistent is that coaches can't be trusted - they're looking for a competitive advantage."

 

MANLY SEA EAGLES VS PENRITH PANTHERS

Thursday, April 1st at 8:05pm - Lottoland

Sea Eagles team: 1. Dylan Walker 2. Jason Saab 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Martin Taupau 11. Jack Gosiewski 12. Josh Schuster 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Cade Cust 15. Morgan Boyle 16. Sean Keppie 17. Josh Aloiai 18. Tevita Funa 19. Morgan Harper 20. Toafofoa Sipley 21. Christian Tuipulotu

Panthers team: 1. Stephen Crichton 2. Charlie Staines 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Matt Burton 5. Brian To'o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Tyrone May 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Matthew Eisenhuth 17. Liam Martin 18. Scott Sorensen 19. Billy Burns 20. J'maine Hopgood 21. Jaeman Salmon

CANTERBURY BULLDOGS VS SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS

Friday, April 2nd at 4:05pm - Stadium Australia

Bulldogs team: 1. Nick Meaney 2. Corey Allan 3. Will Hopoate 4. Nick Cotric 5. Tuipulotu Katoa 6. Lachlan Lewis 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Dylan Napa 9. Sione Katoa 10. Jack Hetherington 11. Adam Elliott 12. Corey Waddell 13. Renouf Atoni 14. Jackson Topine 15. Dean Britt 16. Joe Stimson 17. Ofahiki Ogden 19. Jake Averillo 20. Chris Smith 21. Brandon Wakeham 22. Matt Doorey

Rabbitohs team: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Dane Gagai 4. Campbell Graham 5. Josh Mansour 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Tevita Tatola 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jaydn Su'A 13. Cameron Murray 14. Benji Marshall 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Patrick Mago 17. Jai Arrow 18. Jacob Host 19. Dean Hawkins 20. Troy Dargan 21. Steven Marsters

MELBOURNE STORM VS BRISBANE BRONCOS

Friday, April 2nd at 8:05pm - AAMI Park

Storm team: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. George Jennings 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Brandon Smith 10. Christian Welch 11. Tom Eisenhuth 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 14. Tyson Smoothy 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Chris Lewis 17. Darryn Schonig 18. Aaron Pene 19. Nicholas Hynes 20. Trent Loiero 21. Dean Ieremia

Broncos team: 1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Xavier Coates 3. Herbie Farnworth 4. Tesi Niu 5. David Mead 6. Anthony Milford 7. Brodie Croft 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Alex Glenn 12. Jordan Riki 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. John Asiata 15. Thomas Flegler 16. Tevita Pangai Junior 17. Ben Te'o 18. Tom Dearden 19. Rhys Kennedy 20. Richard Kennar 21. Ethan Bullemor

CRONULLA SHARKS VS NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS

Saturday, April 3rd at 5:30pm - Sunshine Coast Stadium

Sharks team: 1. Will Kennedy 2. Mawene Hiroti 3. Josh Dugan 4. Connor Tracey 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Chad Townsend 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Teig Wilton 12. Wade Graham 13. Toby Rudolf 14. Braydon Trindall 15. Aiden Tolman 16. Jack Williams 17. Billy Magoulias 18. Franklin Pele 19. Nene Macdonald 20. Andrew Fifita 21. Jenson Taumoepeau

Cowboys team: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Murray Taulagi 3. Justin O'Neill 4. Connelly Lemuelu 5. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Ben Hampton 8. Francis Molo 9. Reece Robson 10. Jordan McLean 11. Shane Wright 12. Ben Condon 13. Josh Mcguire 14. Jake Granville 15. Coen Hess 16. Corey Jensen 17. Lachlan Burr 18. Peter Hola 19. Esan Marsters 20. Griffin Neame 21. Jake Clifford

GOLD COAST TITANS VS CANBERRA RAIDERS

Saturday, April 3rd at 7:35pm - Cbus Super Stadium

Titans team: 1. Alexander Brimson 2. Anthony Don 3. Phillip Sami 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Corey Thompson 6. Tanah Boyd 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui 11. Kevin Proctor 12. David Fifita 13. Tyrone Peachey 14. Moeaki Fotuaika 15. Sam Lisone 16. Jaimin Jolliffe 17. Erin Clark 18. Beau Fermor 19. Herman Ese'ese 20. Sam McIntyre 21. Brian Kelly

Raiders team: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papali'i 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Dunamis Lui 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Ryan Sutton 14. Tom Starling 15. Siliva Havili 16. Iosia Soliola 17. Ryan James 18. Sam Williams 19. Semi Valemi 20. Caleb Aekins 21. Emre Guler

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS VS ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS

Sunday, April 4th at 4:05pm - McDonald Jones Stadium

Knights team: 1. Tex Hoy 2. Starford To'a 3. Enari Tuala 4. Gehamat Shibasaki 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Kurt Mann 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Connor Watson 14. Sauaso Sue 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Josh King 17. Blake Green 18. Brodie Jones 19. Dominic Young 20. Simi Sasagi 21. Pasami Saulo

Dragons team: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Cody Ramsey 3. Brayden Wiliame 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Adam Clune 8. Blake Lawrie 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Josh Kerr 12. Tariq Sims 13. Tyrell Fuimaono 14. Poasa Faamausili 15. Trent Merrin 16. Daniel Alvaro 17. Jackson Ford 18. Kaide Ellis 19. Jordan Pereira 20. Max Feagai 21. Eddie Blacker

 

SYDNEY ROOSTERS VS WARRIORS

Sunday, April 4th at 6:15pm - Sydney Cricket Ground

Roosters team: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Josh Morris 4. Joseph Manu 5. Brett Morris 6. Drew Hutchison 7. Sam Walker 8. Isaac Liu 9. Freddy Lussick 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Angus Crichton 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Victor Radley 14. Matt Ikuvalu 15. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 16. Nat Butcher 17. Fletcher Baker 18. Nat Butcher 19. Benjamin Marsce 20. Joseph Suaalii 21. Tukupa Hau Tapuha

Warriors team: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. David Fusitu'a 3. Adam Pompey 4. Marcelo Montoya 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Sean O'Sullivan 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Bunty Afoa 11. Eliesa Katoa 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Tohu Harris 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Ben Murdoch-Masila 16. Leeson Ah Mau 17. Jack Murchie 18. Tom Ale 20. Paul Turner 21. Kane Evans 22. Rocco Berry

WESTS TIGERS VS PARRAMATTA EELS

Monday, April 5th at 4pm - Stadium Australia

Tigers team: 1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Tommy Talau 4. James Roberts 5. Asu Kepaoa 6. Adam Doueihi 7. Luke Brooks 8. Zane Musgrove 9. Jacob Liddle 10. James Tamou 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Alex Twal 14. Moses Mbye 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Stefano Utoikamanu 17. Joe Ofahengaue 18. Russell Packer 19. Joseph Leilua 20. Michael Chee-Kam 21. Alex Seyfarth

Eels team: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Tom Opacic 4. Marata Niukore 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Nathan Brown 14. Oregon Kaufusi 15. Isaiah Papali'i 16. Will Smith 17. Ray Stone 18. Jordan Rankin 19. Haze Dunster 20. Keegan Hipgrave 21. Bryce Cartwright

 

 

 

Originally published as NRL approves radical rule change



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