Players considered to be exploiting the NRL’s new "six-again" rule for ruck infringements will be penalised and sent to the sin bin.
NRL head of football Graham Annesley gave clubs details on Friday about the new rule, which is designed to speed up the game through the referee restarting the tackle count instead of awarding a penalty for an offence in the ruck.
The referee will signal "six-again" for any defensive ruck infringement that in the past would have resulted in a penalty, including holding down, hand on the ball, crowding at the play-the-ball and leg pulls.
However, a penalty will be awarded for a professional foul or repeated infringements if a team attempts to slow the play down so their defensive line can get set.
Significantly, any time the referee penalises a player for a professional foul or repeated infringements in the ruck, the offender will be automatically sent to the sin bin.
A repeated infringement scenario may arise where multiple "six-again" restarts have been awarded and, in the opinion of the referee, harsher action is required.
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Teams do not have to be warned about repeated infringements before the referee awards a full penalty and send the offending player to the sin bin as a stronger deterrent.
A penalty will still be awarded for stripping the ball or any other infringement by the defending team which results in a lost ball or an unacceptable play-the-ball necessitating a stoppage.
A marker not standing square at the play-the-ball will be considered offside and will result in a penalty.
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Players will continue to be penalised for foul play, including grapple tackles, facials and chicken wings as the NRL tries to reduce wrestling from the game.
Infringements by the attacking team will still be penalised and if, in the opinion of the referee, the attacking team deliberately breaks down play in an attempt to convert "six-again" to a full penalty, the referee will order a scrum to be packed with the defending team being awarded the feed.
The NRL has also outlined how match officials will police the ruck and 10 metres under the one-referee model to be introduced when the Telstra Premiership resumes on May 28.
The referee will primarily control the 10 metres with the assistance of the open side touch judge, while the touch judge closest to the play-the-ball will assist with the control of the ruck and may step on the field of play to do so.
The Refs' Bunker will monitor the rucks and may assist the referee when the opportunity presents during breaks in play.