NRL flags end-of-season rules overhaul

NRL head of football Graham Annesley has flagged some potenntial rule changes.
NRL head of football Graham Annesley has flagged some potenntial rule changes.

NRL head of football Graham Annesley has flagged a potential end-of-season rules overhaul in a bid to simplify the laws of the game.

Over the last three weeks the referees have found themselves in the spotlight for mostly all the wrong reasons after a string of contentious and incorrect decisions.

Annesley has been willing to admit when his men get it wrong and recently labelled their performances "sloppy" and "not good enough" after a number of mistakes.

The powerful competition committee will meet at the end of the year and Annesley said it would investigate any potential changes before getting rubberstamped by the ARL Commission.

"One of the things I think we need to spend a fair bit of time on is examining our current rules and whether we can make the game easier to officiate," Annesley said.

"I'll give you a classic example - one of the rule changes we made a couple of years ago was taking the corner post out of play (in the act of scoring a try) ... And it's been a great addition to the game and the way the game is presented.

"There are some other rules which are difficult to adjudicate on the field."

He said he would investigate whether to simplify some rules, such as the knock-on while contesting bombs and the double movement.

While he did not commit to reviewing those specific rules, he said both had large grey areas which led to fan unrest.

He pointed to a contentious decision during Canterbury's 20-14 win over Newcastle on Friday night in which Dogs winger Reimis Smith bobbled the ball before coming down with it and being awarded a try by the bunker.

For minutes the video referees pored over slow motion footage trying to establish whether Smith touched it and if it bounced into a Knights opposition player, which would have constituted a knock on.

"Both players go up for the ball and it becomes a game of millimetres and frame by frame trying to distil whether a ball touches one hand and goes into another hand and that constitutes a knock on or not," Annesley said.

"I think there's a case for us to say 'does that really matter in a contest for the ball?'

"If two players go up for the ball and someone comes down with the ball, whether it be a defender or an attacker, does it really matter?"

Australian Associated Press