Fans fume over 'archaic' rule exposed in NRL grand final

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has reportedly opened the door to changing rules around trainers in the wake of a controversial moment in Sunday night’s grand final.

Fans were outraged after the Roosters were gifted a scrum feed after Canberra’s Sia Soliola charged down a kick, which then ricocheted off the Roosters’ trainer.

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The Raiders were potentially denied the opening try of the game as a result, with Elliot Whitehead missing an opportunity to chase the ball down and score.

The Roosters were correctly awarded the scrum feed despite the ball coming off their own trainer, with the official rule reading, ‘Where play is irregularly affected in the field of play, the referee shall restart play with a scrum with the attacking team to receive the loose head and feed’.

Veteran rugby league journalist Paul Kent was among several high-profile figures to question why the Roosters’ trainer was on the field at all, considering just three minutes had passed.

“The problem with this is that it’s an archaic rule that’s been around since year one and doesn’t really take into account that trainers are always on the field,” Kent said on Fox program NRL 360.

“The problem I have with this is why, two and a half minutes into a game, is a trainer already out?

“The fact is that they’re on there for strategic reasons, not medical reasons.

Sydney's Sam Verrills scored the opening try in the NRL Grand Final, after the Roosters won a scrum feed in controversial circumstances. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

“I spoke to Todd Greenberg today and he said ‘this hopefully is an opportunity over the summer to address trainers being on the field.’

“If there’s one thing that annoys fans very much is the trainers on the field coaching them like they’re under-eights.”

Co-host Ben Ikin agreed, labelling the trainer’s presence on the field ‘a joke’, while former Panthers coach Anthony Griffin argued the extended run of possession for the Roosters was what ultimately cost the Raiders the game.

Fans too, were less than impressed with the Roosters’ trainer, but were mindful that every club uses the same tactics.

Trainers are only supposed to be on the field of play to supply players with water and attend to injured players, or to give instructions to one specific player.