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Parramatta coach Brad Arthur does not support the idea of scrapping two on-field referees and reverting to one when the season returns on May 28.
He joins a host of other coaches against the idea including Manly’s Des Hasler, North Queensland’s Paul Green and Wests Tigers’ Michael Maguire.
The NRL’s Project Apollo came up with the proposal as an attempt to cut costs and the ARLC is expected to approve it as a cost-saving measure this week, as well as eliminating ruck penalties in favour of restarting the tackle count to reduce stoppages.
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Speaking on 2GB’s Continuous Call Team, Arthur said it will create more “confusion” to the game when 2020 has already seen a number of changes to the game including the introduction to the captain’s challenge.
“I can understand and appreciate the thinking behind it around the expense of having two referees and where it might help the NRL,” Arthur said.
“But I just think two rounds in, it’s pretty hard to change the rules now.
“It might just add confusion, we’re still getting used to the captain’s challenge.
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“Going back to one referee, does that mean there might be more 50/50 calls that they might get wrong and there’s more Captain’s Challenges and then it slows the game down?
“I just think it might be hard this time round, maybe if we need it for next year we’ve got a bit of time in the pre-season to get our heads around it and prepare for it.”
ARLC chair Peter V’landys responded to the coaches’ concerns surrounding the rule changes, labelling them ‘alarmist’ insisting the rule change will not have an adverse effect.
“That’s an alarmist style of rhetoric, again,” he told AAP.
“There’s two games been played, it’s not as though we’re halfway through the competition.
“That’s a bit over the top really.
“You can exaggerate everything trying to make your point but is it necessary?
“You can make a point about one ref but 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.”
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Questions were also raised about whether reverting to one referee would impact the speed of the ruck with fewer eyes to police it.
However, V’landys is confident the addition of six tackles instead of a penalty will deter clubs from slowing down the ruck and reduce the amount of stoppages in games.
“You could be on the fifth and last tackle and get another six tackles if someone is slowing the ruck down,” he said.
“That will act as a pretty massive deterrent to the coaches not to slow the ruck down.
“There’s no stoppage, the referee says ‘six again’, so there’s no stopping the game. It’ll keep the game flowing.
“Everyone says ‘oh it’s going to slow it down’. Well we think it will speed it up because of this ‘six again’ and realistically the wrestle hasn’t been eradicated with two referees anyway.
“Studies have shown it’s actually got worse, so we’ve got to try something new.”