NRL NRL Rules

Thread for games rules, interpretation and regulations.

What changes would we like to see for the 2024 season?

My pet hate 1 on 1 strips. Messy and doesn’t make the game better, especially when players peel away. As soon as 2 are in the tackle you shouldn’t be able to strip the ball.
 
Interesting HIA information for a union study that’s positive for League:

Head knocks and rugby: Study reveals real impact on head forces at community and elite level​

Forces on the head of community rugby players are often on par with or even lower than those experienced during general exercise, independent, peer-reviewed studies have found.

The findings, described as a game-changer for player safety in a World Rugby press release, provide a comprehensive perspective on the impact of head forces in both elite and community rugby.

It comes after it was announced in April that several former players from rugby union, rugby league and football were taking legal action against sports governing bodies on claims they suffered brain injuries during their careers. And in 2020, it was revealed ACC had shelled out almost $100 million for the treatment of sports-related concussion injuries over the past five years - with rugby by far the biggest contributor to the cost.

Using Prevent Biometrics instrumented mouthguards, the study measured more than 17,000 head acceleration events from 328 male community rugby players involved in Under 13s through to Premier grades. The mouthguards measure the g-forces on the head which are experienced by players in both training and games.

The Otago Community Head Impact Detection study (Orchid), a collaborative project between World Rugby, Prevent Biometrics, New Zealand Rugby, Otago Rugby, and the University of Otago, embarked on a nearly two-year-long research journey.

It was followed by the Elite Extension of the Orchid study in partnership with Ulster University and Premiership Rugby. Further updates into the women’s community game are being prepared for peer review and publication.

The results from the Orchid study have shattered some preconceived notions about rugby’s impact on players’ heads. According to the research:

  • 86 per cent of forces experienced in the men’s community game are comparable to or less than those encountered during everyday activities like running, jumping, or skipping;
  • 94 per cent of forces are lower than what was previously recorded on individuals riding a rollercoaster;
  • Most events with the highest measured forces are the result of poor tackling techniques and breakdown situations.
These findings have the potential to revolutionise how rugby is perceived, emphasising that the community game poses minimal risks to players’ heads, challenging common misconceptions about the sport.

Moreover, the Elite Extension of the Orchid study highlighted the following key points:

  • The majority of contact events in elite rugby do not result in significant head forces;
  • When high-, medium- and low-force events do occur, they are most frequently seen in tackles and carries, followed by rucks;
  • Forwards, both men and women, are more likely to experience force events than backs.
World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont lauded the results as a significant step forward in ensuring player welfare. “Using the latest research and technology is at the heart of our six-point plan to make rugby the most progressive sport in the world on player welfare. These studies are concrete proof that World Rugby is putting our time, energy, and efforts into backing up our words and the insights gained are already helping us make evidence-led moves to make the sport even safer. We will never stand still on player welfare.”

Dr Melanie Bussey, associate professor in biomechanics at the University of Otago, emphasised the value of the research and its potential to improve player safety. “Our ultimate goal as researchers is to make a meaningful impact through our work. We appreciate World Rugby’s approach, which granted us the time to ensure robustness in our analysis and the autonomy to let the data speak for itself.”

Dr Gregory Tierney, assistant professor in biomechanics at Ulster University, said, “These studies put in the groundwork so that we can now monitor player head impact exposure in rugby and develop strategies to ensure the game is played in the safest possible manner.”

The research has already influenced changes in rugby practices. Preliminary findings from the Orchid study were used to implement trials of a lower tackle height in the community game. In an international first, smart mouthguards will be integrated into the Head Injury Assessment (HIA) protocols from January 2024, further enhancing player safety measures.

Recent World Rugby-commissioned research has also revealed significant healthcare savings, reduced childhood obesity, lower heart disease rates, and decreased rates of mental illness among adults associated with playing rugby.

Head acceleration events​

HAE events occur from the rapid acceleration or deceleration of the head that may occur in three different ways:
  • Voluntary: Where the head accelerates or decelerates from running, changing direction or jumping, no contact is made to the head or the player’s body.
  • Indirect: Generation when contact is made with the player’s body and the force travels up to the player’s head, resulting in movement of the head.
  • Direct: Caused by direct contact to the head from another player or the ground.
 
Interesting HIA information for a union study that’s positive for League:

Head knocks and rugby: Study reveals real impact on head forces at community and elite level​

Forces on the head of community rugby players are often on par with or even lower than those experienced during general exercise, independent, peer-reviewed studies have found.

The findings, described as a game-changer for player safety in a World Rugby press release, provide a comprehensive perspective on the impact of head forces in both elite and community rugby.

It comes after it was announced in April that several former players from rugby union, rugby league and football were taking legal action against sports governing bodies on claims they suffered brain injuries during their careers. And in 2020, it was revealed ACC had shelled out almost $100 million for the treatment of sports-related concussion injuries over the past five years - with rugby by far the biggest contributor to the cost.

Using Prevent Biometrics instrumented mouthguards, the study measured more than 17,000 head acceleration events from 328 male community rugby players involved in Under 13s through to Premier grades. The mouthguards measure the g-forces on the head which are experienced by players in both training and games.

The Otago Community Head Impact Detection study (Orchid), a collaborative project between World Rugby, Prevent Biometrics, New Zealand Rugby, Otago Rugby, and the University of Otago, embarked on a nearly two-year-long research journey.

It was followed by the Elite Extension of the Orchid study in partnership with Ulster University and Premiership Rugby. Further updates into the women’s community game are being prepared for peer review and publication.

The results from the Orchid study have shattered some preconceived notions about rugby’s impact on players’ heads. According to the research:

  • 86 per cent of forces experienced in the men’s community game are comparable to or less than those encountered during everyday activities like running, jumping, or skipping;
  • 94 per cent of forces are lower than what was previously recorded on individuals riding a rollercoaster;
  • Most events with the highest measured forces are the result of poor tackling techniques and breakdown situations.
These findings have the potential to revolutionise how rugby is perceived, emphasising that the community game poses minimal risks to players’ heads, challenging common misconceptions about the sport.

Moreover, the Elite Extension of the Orchid study highlighted the following key points:

  • The majority of contact events in elite rugby do not result in significant head forces;
  • When high-, medium- and low-force events do occur, they are most frequently seen in tackles and carries, followed by rucks;
  • Forwards, both men and women, are more likely to experience force events than backs.
World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont lauded the results as a significant step forward in ensuring player welfare. “Using the latest research and technology is at the heart of our six-point plan to make rugby the most progressive sport in the world on player welfare. These studies are concrete proof that World Rugby is putting our time, energy, and efforts into backing up our words and the insights gained are already helping us make evidence-led moves to make the sport even safer. We will never stand still on player welfare.”

Dr Melanie Bussey, associate professor in biomechanics at the University of Otago, emphasised the value of the research and its potential to improve player safety. “Our ultimate goal as researchers is to make a meaningful impact through our work. We appreciate World Rugby’s approach, which granted us the time to ensure robustness in our analysis and the autonomy to let the data speak for itself.”

Dr Gregory Tierney, assistant professor in biomechanics at Ulster University, said, “These studies put in the groundwork so that we can now monitor player head impact exposure in rugby and develop strategies to ensure the game is played in the safest possible manner.”

The research has already influenced changes in rugby practices. Preliminary findings from the Orchid study were used to implement trials of a lower tackle height in the community game. In an international first, smart mouthguards will be integrated into the Head Injury Assessment (HIA) protocols from January 2024, further enhancing player safety measures.

Recent World Rugby-commissioned research has also revealed significant healthcare savings, reduced childhood obesity, lower heart disease rates, and decreased rates of mental illness among adults associated with playing rugby.

Head acceleration events​

HAE events occur from the rapid acceleration or deceleration of the head that may occur in three different ways:
  • Voluntary: Where the head accelerates or decelerates from running, changing direction or jumping, no contact is made to the head or the player’s body.
  • Indirect: Generation when contact is made with the player’s body and the force travels up to the player’s head, resulting in movement of the head.
  • Direct: Caused by direct contact to the head from another player or the ground.
This stood out:

In an international first, smart mouthguards will be integrated into the Head Injury Assessment (HIA) protocols from January 2024, further enhancing player safety measures.

Imagine in the future if they medical staff have live data on collision impacts by player and you were automatically pulled off without needing a visual assessment!
 
One of the issues that may need to be resolved is who owns the data from these mouthguards.

I can see the RLPA getting involved heavily in this
The NRL could get around that by saying they have an obligation under health and safety to get the best data possible.

Not allowing the data could negate any future legal action from the players?

Who is ultimately responsible for H and S of the players?
 
It's usually the English RFL following NRL rule changes, but I'm not aware of anything of this nature being considered in the NRL;


Have I missed something?
Union is extending this into club Rugby in Aus this upcoming season- theirs is essentially “below sternum” which is a little vague but got it explained as essentially below the nipple line. So assume League is probably heading in the same direction- make it hard to wrap up the ball and prevent offloads though.
Get that they’re trying to mitigate future injury/lawsuits but most of the concussions actually come from the tacklers poor technique
 
I'd like to see a breakdown of % of tackles that resulted in concussion from above the sternum vs. below the sternum..

How bad could the potential lawsuit(s) be? From my monkey-brained POV, just take any there are from former players on the chin, and start putting waivers in contracts, so that players understand they are turning their brains to mush, and that it isn't on the NRL, to prevent any from future players.

Go with League Tag for kids until Under 9s, Below the sternum tackling can go up to Under 15s, and from then on just play rugby league as Rocco Berry intended
 
It's probably really easy to go on a rant about rules, so I'll try not to.

* 5 tackle sets, not 6
* Missed penalty kicks that go dead result in a 20m tap not drop out. Why should a team then have a chance to score a try?
* Stop referees coaching at scrums. What's the point of a scrum clock then?
* & Only props can challenge :ROFLMAO:
 
What does everyone make of this rule change?
Not sure it’s a good thing for us tbh.
Sj is arguably the best at short drop outs so we could afford to go for them where a lot of other teams who’s strike rates are low were forced to go long- now everyone will be going short.
He’s also the best at getting repeat sets which aren’t going to have the same reward anymore.
Would’ve liked to see them trial it in reserve grade first.

IMG_4086.jpeg
 
What does everyone make of this rule change?
Not sure it’s a good thing for us tbh.
Sj is arguably the best at short drop outs so we could afford to go for them where a lot of other teams who’s strike rates are low were forced to go long- now everyone will be going short.
He’s also the best at getting repeat sets which aren’t going to have the same reward anymore.
Would’ve liked to see them trial it in reserve grade first.

View attachment 4900
I only have one question.

Why?

It wasn't broken. Don't change the rule. Players and teams just need to get better at it.
 
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Not a fan of this change. The short drop out should be a high risk low to medium reward move saved for desperate times.
If any changes, I would possibly make the penalty for kick off not going 10 metres where the ball ended up so you don't get an automatic 2 points from kicking for goal right in front.
 
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Am I crazy, or was it us in 2018 that really went hard on the short dropouts, and then it became mainstream? You still saw short dropouts before then, of course, but I feel like that was the first time a team really went hard on it.

I don't like the rule change, it always looks silly when a short drop-off doesn't come off- both sides just staring at the ball waiting to see if it might roll past the 10, and now we are just going to see more of it.

Plus, it was the risk-reward of going short, now the team receiving the kick will just get the ball at the 10 as if the kicking team didn't kick it out/inside 10?

Dumb rule, and not one anyone wanted changed either. I guess some people need to do something every 12 months to warrant their 6-figure salary though..
 
Unless it is player safety related I'd be happy for them to keep the rules as is. They don't need to be adjusted every year.

Better to keep things stable, assess the style of play and then make a few changes every few years.
 
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