NRL rule tweak targets dodgy markers

Pamela Whaley

NRL referees can now award a 'six again' when markers are not square or break early at the play the ball as the game adjusts to retain its increased ruck speed.

On Tuesday ARLC chairman Peter V'landys announced new powers for referees to deter teams looking to use markers to gain an unfair advantage - and to do so without halting the game's momentum.

Since the NRL season resumed there have been 17 penalties for markers not square and just one for markers split - equating to 18 stoppages across the five weeks.

However, referees could be inclined to rule a 'six again' on the infringements more regularly.

"We have observed an increasing trend of markers either not standing square or breaking early and placing themselves in an off-side position," said ARLC chairman Peter V'landys.

"Rather than direct referees to blow more penalty stoppages we believe this variation will ensure free flowing rugby league continues to the benefit of our fans.

"The introduction of the "six again" rule has added to the spectacle of the game and the commission will continue to be dynamic and agile to ensure we keep the game as entertaining as possible."

Referees will retain the right to blow a penalty and place players in the sin bin for persistent ruck infringements and professional fouls.

The rules will be in place effective immediately.