Reduced bunker intrusion, adjusted 18th man concussion threshold for the new season

The NRL has sought to reduce bunker intervention “to ensure fewer unnecessary stoppages” during games and lowered the threshold for failed HIAs to trigger the 18th man substitution in 2023.

A review of last season and consultations with clubs and the RLPA has resulted in a raft of interpretive changes being announced on Thursday, including concussion protocols, captains’ challenges, ground bans on attempts and offside regulations.

The always controversial video referee will now “only intervene in foul play that he deems reportable,” according to an NRL statement.

A team’s 18th substitute can now also be used when two teammates are ruled out of a game due to failed head injury assessments, instead of the three that have been the norm since 2021.

Players and coaches, led by Australia captain James Tedesco in the Roosters’ end-of-season defeat last season, have voiced calls for 18-man protocols to be relaxed after cases of multiple concussion teams with one or no substitutes left behind, were demanded.

“While these changes are relatively minor, they will improve three elements of the game – player safety, game presentation to fans and compliance with offside positions,” said NRL football manager Graham Annesley.

James Tedesco before an HIA eliminated him from the game.

James Tedesco before an HIA eliminated him from the game.Credit:Getty

“We have thoroughly reviewed the 2022 season, including consultations with the NRL clubs, the RLPA and other stakeholders.

“The overwhelming feedback was that the current renditions create a faster and more free-flowing game, but there was a need to fix some minor issues that were encountered.

https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/nrl-reduces-bunker-intervention-18th-man-threshold-among-rule-tweaks-20230112-p5cbz2.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport Reduced bunker intrusion, adjusted 18th man concussion threshold for the new season

Ryan Sederquist

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