NRL puts an end to sin bin time wasters
NRL players who dawdle from the field after being sin-binned will now face being charged under changes to the judiciary code.
The NRL has moved to stamp out one of rugby league's most annoying habits, where players leave the field slowly to give their teammates time to recover and prepare for 10 minutes of having just 12 players in the line-up.
From next season, sin-binned players will be required to run from the field, taking the most direct route, or face sanctions.
The new edict was included in several rule changes for next season that were approved at an ARL Commission meeting on Tuesday.
"Any player sent to the sin bin or sent off will be required to run from the field of play, taking the most direct route to the dressing room," the NRL said in a statement.
"Failure to do so may lead to clubs being breached and fined under NRL rules and/or offending players may be charged with contrary conduct under the NRL judiciary code."
Other rule alterations include:
• A reduction of the scrum clock from 35 to 30 seconds;
• A reduction of the dropout clock from 30 to 25 seconds;
• An increase to dangerous contact neck or head charges with grade two lifting to 300 points and grade three increasing to 500 points. A grade one charge will remain at 100 points; and
• Permitting the NRL judiciary panel to find a player guilty of an alternative charge when facing a shoulder charge, including dangerous contact.
While retaining the interchange at eight for next season, NRL head of football, elite competitions, Graham Annelsey said the number would be reviewed for the 2020 season.
The interchange number will be assessed throughout the first half of next season.
Most of the rule changes were designed to decrease the amount of stoppages in NRL games and to "increase the time the ball is in play and simplify operational practices and procedures."
Increased penalties for dangerous contact to the neck or head comes after a rise in the amount of crusher tackles committed last season.
"There is clearly an unacceptable risk of injury from these tackles and we believe we need to have an adequate deterrent in place to improve player safety," Annesley said.
"We have a world-class competition, with the 2018 season the closest in more than a decade.
"But we can always improve and our aim with these rule amendments is to continue to deliver exciting and engaging matches for players, fans, broadcasters and all our stakeholders."