Anomaly found in league law

  • by TVNZ
  • July 23 2004 12:00AM

The National Rugby League Referees Coach, Robert Finch, has sought a ruling from both the ARL and RFL in the UK after his referees' exposed an anomaly in the existing laws of the game.

The ruling was sought following Sunday's Newcastle v Brisbane match in which a try was disallowed when the attacking player's elbow made contact with the ball before grounding, thus 'knocking-on' in goal.

Had this not been the case, the try could also have been disallowed under the existing rules which define "Grounding the Ball" as: "...dropping on the ball and covering it with the part of the body above the waist and below the neck, the ball itself being on the ground."

"The interpretation was correct but the anomaly the referees point out is that if the ball hasn't been 'knocked-on', yet the try has still not been scored because of the fact the ball was bouncing at the time, then, what is the correct re-start procedure?" Mr Finch said.

"A 'knock-on' from the attacking team would be a 22m restart, an infringement by the defending team would be a line drop out but the rules contained no re-start procedure if the ball was fairly grounded by an attacking team in a way that did not constitute a try."

Subsequent correspondence with the ARL and RFL has agreed on the following rule interpretation being applied immediately:

"The ball may be brought to ground by the 'upper torso' of a player and provided that the ball is on the ground at the same time as it is covered by that part of the player's body, the ball will be deemed to have been correctly grounded."

In effect this means that were the Newcastle scenario to be repeated this weekend, a player would be able to ground a 'bouncing' ball with his torso and be awarded a try, provided that he has not 'knocked-on' beforehand.

All clubs have been notified in writing of this clarification.

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