The NRL said today the shot clock system will be extended in 2018 to give fans more “ball-in-play time” and reduce delays in restarts.
NRL General Manager of Elite Competitions, Jason King said the shot clock had already proved successful in speeding up scrums and drop outs.
He said that in 2018 referees would call time off for 30 seconds immediately following all conversion attempts.
“At the moment, the time taken for players to return to the half way line to restart play is wasted time as far as the fans are concerned,” Mr King said.
“The clock continues to run down (except in the last five minutes of play) but the fans see no football.
“We have decided to extend the shot clock concept to take time off for a set period of 30 seconds after each conversion attempt.
“That will add an average of more than three minutes of game time (where the ball is in play) to each premiership match in 2018.
“An extra three minutes of actual play can have a big bearing on the outcome of a game.
“Over the course of the season, this move will give fans the equivalent of more than 720 minutes – or seven more games – of Rugby League.”
Mr King said the other major directives for 2018 were:
- Referees will be asked to be vigilant on play the balls, requiring players to make a genuine attempt to touch the ball with their foot
- Referees will be reminded they can use the sin bin for foul play, particularly where a player is forced to leave the field through injury after an illegal act
- Players will be allowed to strip the ball in a one on one situation - as long as there is only one player in the tackle at the point of the ball being stolen
Mr King said all clubs had been advised of the changes which also had the approval of the Competition Committee.