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Law Changes To Be Considered by
The Rugby Football League are to propose a change to the Laws of the Game at next month's meeting of the Rugby League International Federation, and they will second another alteration in Sydney.
The RFL is proposing that in Section Eleven, Law 13 that if a player in possession is held up over their opponent's goal-line without being able to ground the ball that the game should be re-started with a play-the ball ten metres back in field adjacent to the point where they were unable to ground the ball.
The tackle count would continue from that point in play.
The only occasion when this would not apply is after the fifth tackle when, following a hand over, play would resume with the opposing team playing the ball ten metres in the field of play adjacent to the failed grounding.
In Section Five, Law Two the RFL will second the Australian National Rugby League's proposal that, prior to the start of the game, the captains shall toss a coin in the presence of the referee.
The winning captain shall then be able to choose whether to kick off or select which way his team will play in the first half.
In a letter to the clubs, Rugby Football League technical executive Stuart Cummings said "The second change is very straightforward, as it would replace the original Law that states that the captain winning the toss can only choose which way he plays.
"The first Law change is a good compromise to the debate as to who shall be rewarded when an attacking player is held up over the line.
"Neither team really gains from this proposed law change and, certainly, neither team suffers.
"When an attacking player is held up over the line and unable to ground the ball, the referee will blow his whistle and order the player in possession to play the ball on the ten metre line opposite where they were held up.
"If they are within 20 metres of the touch line, the players will still play the ball opposite where they were held up. The tackle count will continue.
"For example, if a player were held up on the third tackle, the tackle following the play the ball would be the fourth.
"The only exception to this will be when the player is held up over the line after the fifth play the ball. In this case the referee will award a hand over.
"That hand over will take place ten metres in the field of play opposite the point where the player was held up; unless it is within 20 metres of the touch line when the hand over will be awarded 10 metres out from the goal line and 20 metres out from the touch line.
"The referee will control the transition from the failed grounding to play being re-started with a play the ball ten metres in the field of play.
"He will blow his whistle, use the appropriate signal for a player being held up in goal and then point to the ten metre line where the next play the ball take place.
"An amount of time will be allowed for re-adjustment by the players but referees will not allow defensive players to use this is a way of slowing down the restart.
"These new laws will be played as experimental laws in all pre season friendly fixtures until formally ratified by the Rugby League International Federation."
The proposed amendment to the Section Eleven, Law 13 has been constructed by the RFL and was marginally amended when the Australian National Rugby League considered it at their Laws meeting.
The NRL, together with New Zealand Rugby League, now support the amendment and it is now expected to be ratified the Federation meeting.
The proposal to clean up the Law concerning the pre-match toss of a coin was made by the NRL and Cummings added: "We're happy to second that motion."