26 Jan 2014

Sweeping NRL rule changes

4:29 pm on 26 January 2014

Australia's National Rugby League has announced a number of rule changes for the 2014 season.

They include a strong focus on stamping out time-wasting, as well as attempts to deter crusher and cannonball tackles

The changes include structured times when a captain can speak to a referee during a match and stopping the clock during the last five minutes of a game following a conversion or penalty shot at goal.

Crusher tackles will be graded at the higher end of charges, and referees have also been instructed to call "held" earlier when a player is trapped in an upright position, in order to prevent a third defender coming in late and making a cannonball tackle.

Under the captain's rule, a skipper can only talk to a referee during a stoppage in play and as players leave the field for the half-time break.

But penalties and scrums are not deemed to be considered breaks in play.

Under a new goal-kicking time limit, the referee will call time off at approximately one minute and 20 seconds following a try.

Fines will still apply to clubs when a player takes longer than one minute and 40 seconds to take a conversion.