'Over the top': NRL boss slams 'alarmist' rule change critics

Peter V'landys has shot down concerns from coaches such as Des Hasler about NRL rule changes. Pic: Getty

Concerns over proposed rule changes for the restarted NRL competition have been labelled 'alarmist' by ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys.

Leading NRL coaches including Des Hasler, Paul Green and Michael Maguire have questioned whether reverting to one referee and scrapping ruck penalties will impact the integrity of the competition, which is set to get back underway from May 28.

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The ARLC is expected to approve the reduction of referees as a cost-saving measure this week, as well as eliminating ruck penalties in favour of restarting the tackle count to reduce stoppages.

The proposal has drawn questions from some of the game's leading figures, who believe major rule changes could jeopardise the purity of the competition, for which results from the first two rounds in March have been retained despite the lengthy pause in proceedings.

But V'landys insists the rule change will not have an adverse effect.

"That's an alarmist style of rhetoric, again," he told AAP.

"There's two games been played, it's not as though we're halfway through the competition.

"That's a bit over the top really.

"You can exaggerate everything trying to make your point but is it necessary?

"You can make a point about one ref but don't exaggerate it like it's got the integrity of the game on it.

"What happens when the players go from NRL to international? They've only got one referee. Does that affect the integrity of the game? No."

Questions were also raised about whether reverting to one referee would impact the speed of the ruck with fewer eyes to police it.

However, V'landys is confident the addition of six tackles instead of a penalty will deter clubs from slowing down the ruck and reduce the amount of stoppages in games.

"You could be on the fifth and last tackle and get another six tackles if someone is slowing the ruck down," he said.

"That will act as a pretty massive deterrent to the coaches not to slow the ruck down.

""There's no stoppage, the referee says 'six again', so there's no stopping the game. It'll keep the game flowing.

"Everyone says 'oh it's going to slow it down'. Well we think it will speed it up because of this 'six again' and realistically the wrestle hasn't been eradicated with two referees anyway.

"Studies have shown it's actually got worse, so we've got to try something new."

Bunker set to stay amid cost-cutting plans

The NRL will cut costs in their bunker but the video referee system won't become a victim of coronavirus money saving.

Queensland coach Kevin Walters on Monday called for the bunker to be scrapped, claiming it hadn't had the effect promised when it was introduced in 2016.

But while small changes will be made at the high-tech Sydney base, the NRL's head of football Graham Annesley said the system will remain in place.

"We're looking at some cost-cutting measures there, not that they will be noticeable. The bunker will still do its job in matches," Annesley said.

"There are some internal mechanisms where there are potential to cut some costs.

"We are looking at that at the moment but it won't be obvious to the general public when they see games take place."

The bunker comes at a cost of around $2 million per year, after being set up by Todd Greenberg in 2016 as a replacement for having video referees at each ground.

The league has been adamant it has since delivered more accurate decisions, with the multiple screens allowing for far quicker calls to be made.