Big bodies struggling with NRL speed: Egan

Daniel Gilhooly
Warriors' Wayde Egan (third from right) says the sped-up NRL could spell the end for some forwards

Warriors hooker Wayde Egan warns the NRL's post-lockdown rule changes could sound the death knell for forwards packing extra bulk in the middle of the park.

Egan believes big-bodied props may struggle to hold down their place if the first two rounds played under the "six-again" rule are any indication.

A lack of stoppages and multiple sets in favour of one team was hellish for middle defenders who struggle to turn and get back in the line, Egan said

"We've only had a couple of games with the new rules but it's going to get rid of the really big fellas in the long run, especially if they cut down the interchange," Egan said.

"Talking to a few of our middles, it's tough as and they're mostly all fit, pretty mobile guys. I can just imagine what it would be like for the 120kg fellas that are all-power athletes.

"It could have a real big effect on how teams are lining up, how big they want their pack, and the more mobile players will come into their own."

Several teams have already tweaked their pack setup in light of the rule tweaks, fielding smaller bodies at prop.

Bulky front-rower Agnatius Paasi was a first-choice starter for the Warriors last year but has only made the extended bench on return from suspension ahead of Friday's match against North Queensland at Gosford.

Coach Stephen Kearney said Paasi impressed in the win over St George Illawarra two weeks ago but he will start with the much lighter Lachlan Burr at prop, while three mobile forwards are on the bench.

"It makes it more challenging, no doubt, with the new rules if you're a bigger body," Kearney said.

While the future may be lighter, teams including Newcastle have impressed with a big pack over the past fortnight, Kearney added.

He said some big players will stand out whatever the rules, such as Cowboys star lock Jason Taumalolo, who Kearney expects to play on Friday even though he is named on an extended bench as he takes the next step on the comeback trail from a knee niggle.