Too early to blame routs on new rule: NRL

Matt Encarnacion
Don't blame new regulations for results like the Roosters' 59-0 win over the Broncos, say the NRL

It may have been the second most lopsided round of action in 18 months, but the NRL insists it is too early to blame the routs on their radical six-again rule.

Since the controversial introduction of the new rule, teams have won by an average of a whopping 18 points per game over the past two rounds.

Last week alone teams won by an average of more than 19 points.

The margin is a notable seven points bigger than the figure over the opening two weeks of the competition prior to the coronavirus shutdown.

Some coaches have blamed the blowout scorelines on the rule change, however the idea of a trend developing is a theory to which NRL head of football Graham Annesley is not ready to subscribe.

"There's a period we're going through where teams are adjusting to the changes in the way the game's being played, particularly with the six-again," he said.

"Some teams have adjusted more quickly than others to that. I would expect that as that adjustment starts to bed itself down, that we will see that stuff level off.

"Of course we'll still get some games that will be lopsided - we do in every year.

"But I don't subscribe to the view that there's a trend already and there's a concern about some of the scorelines we've seen. It's too early to tell at this point."

Annesley hailed the implementation of the six-again call as a success, having produced an increase in sets, ball in play, and line breaks.

And while the NRL would undoubtedly prefer margins to remain tighter, Annesley is adamant there has not been a drop in the overall standard of play.

"We'd like to see every game competitive. That maintains interest from fans, broadcasters and it's great for our game to have competitive matches," he said.

"But I'd also have to say that in some of the games (where) the scores were larger and a little more one-sided, we saw some fantastic football and tries being scored."

The NRL has also shied away from committing to more tracking cameras to rule on forward passes, with Annesley explaining the league could explore a number of solutions including limb tracking, which is being looked at overseas.

"That sort of stuff is under development at the moment," he said.

Annesley on Saturday admitted that a sideline official incorrectly called a forward pass that robbed Manly of a potential game-winning try against Parramatta.

It came after a new sideline camera used by Fox Sports showed the ball floating forwards from a regulation pass by Sea Eagles star Tom Trbojevic as he was driven back by the Eels defence.

Trialled for the first time on Saturday, the camera has only been installed at Bankwest Stadium and is yet to be used with fans in the grandstand.