'Dog's breakfast': NRL great torches controversial plan

Mark Geyer is the latest to hit out at NRL changes being proposed by league bosses. Pic: Getty/Instagram

Rugby League great Mark Geyer has become the latest to criticise the NRL over plans to introduce a major overhaul aimed at cutting costs.

The NRL is considering a return to one referee for the remainder of the season, as well as a rule change that scraps ruck penalties in favour of a repeat set, to ease pressure on a solo whistleblower.

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A number of NRL coaches have vocally opposed the move - which is set to save the NRL $2.5 million this year.

Speaking on Triple M, Panthers and New South Wales legend Geyer said it's a dangerous and outdated plan that threatens to ruin the modern game if implemented.

“We’ve got to really be careful,” Geyer said on Triple M’s The Rush Hour with MG.

“The game has totally outgrown one referee. The ruck area is the area of the game that needs most policing yet we are taking the ‘police’ away.

“The first thing people do when authority is removed is they try and bend or break the rules and I’m just worried the ruck area will become like a dog's breakfast.”

The league great is adamant clubs will immediately try and take advantage of the fact there is one less pair of eyes policing the play-the-ball area.

“What happens with rule changes is that clubs, coaches and captains get together and they say ok how can we manipulate this,” Geyer said.

“I just think taking another pair of eyes away is going to put more pressure on that one referee and on another note you are going to have a lot of refs out of work as well.”

Concerns teams will exploit one ref system

Current NSW and Kangaroos prop David Klemmer said Geyer's concerns were evident in Test rugby league, where there is only one referee officiating play.

"For Test footy once you go back to one (referee) the main focus is on slowing the ruck down because you can do it with one ref - you test the limits there," Klemmer said.

"The reason we got two refs is that they couldn't see everything or control the game so everyone's calling for it to be back to one but the reason we've got two is because one didn't work."

Sydney Roosters supremo Nick Politis was among other high-profile figures to hit out at the potential rule changes, arguing they would jeopardise the integrity of the competition if brought in for the remainder of the season.

"It changes the entire fabric of the game and the way it is played. A six again call is a huge rule change," Politis told Channel Nine on Monday night.

The ARL Commission will meet this week to discuss recommendations out of Monday's meeting where it's expected the new rule and referee reduction will be approved.

It's understood the majority of NRL coaches are opposed to significant rule changes with just 17 days until the competition restarts.

Des Hasler, Paul Green and Maguire have publicly voiced concerns over the move.

Chairman Peter V'landys told AAP on Sunday night that suggestions a rule change after two rounds could impact the integrity of the competition are alarmist.

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

"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."

with AAP