With the recent updates to the rules of the game, many rugby league writers and followers have found themselves embroiled in heated debate as to what is best for the game, asking why these changes have been made and what they will bring to the game. Here is a brief discussion as to just that, and if the ongoing changes to the rules and regulations are good for the game, or do they simply add to the confusion?
Updating the Game
Many would argue that the changes in rules are to keep the game current, keeping players safer as well as making the game more exciting. Rules and regulations are expected to change with the times, as has been shown by the recent scrapping of scrums and the new penalty rule brought out most recently. However, there is also uncertainty as to where the rules are being implemented, and with the World cup coming up in 2021, it will be critical for players and fans alike to be as informed as possible about the new rules and what they mean for the game. Yes, the game may need updating, but updates should be a clear universal set of rules that are easy to follow and implement to avoid the current confusion.
Keeping it Fast-Paced for the Fans
It should be remembered that, yes, the sport is professional, but it is also a form of entertainment. As the sports industry grows and demand for teams to earn more becomes paramount, there is a need for further drawcards to keep fan numbers growing. The scrum may have been removed for several health reasons, and the backline players may feel a bit aggrieved as they have less space for set play from the base of a scrum, but with the ball in play for longer periods of time, the game is going to be more exciting for fans. It speeds the game up and makes it more in tune with what fans want to see.
Non-universal Acceptance of all Rules Creates Confusion
These changes or updates mean that there is now a lot more to understand for fans and players alike. Do the rules that have been approved apply for all games, international games, or just games in the Northern Hemisphere? The Southern hemisphere teams, through the NRL, have implemented additional rules, and this has led to some confusion in the game. Understanding how an international game can have different rules depending on where it is played is as difficult as understanding the latest NRL rugby odds. Get help and ensure that you have a quick guide to the rules where you are.
Know your Rules
The easiest way to know the rules is to read and engage as much as possible online. Get to know the rule changes, and it will make watching the game a great deal more enjoyable. Furthermore, the online forums and discussion panels allow for you to engage with others around the rules and share opinions around whether you think the new rules are working.
It is clear that regardless of whether you agree with the rule changes, the game is evolving, and there are likely to be more rule changes on the way. The rules committee has noted that the removal of scrums may only be for the current context, but given the response from fans and the fact that the game has sped up immensely, it will be a difficult U-turn to make.
In total, 6 law changes have been approved for 2021, and it looks like you should prepare to see a much faster, more exciting game. Indeed, the NRL has made more changes than other unions in the game, and although there is a need to have the laws uniform on both hemispheres, the NRL has been more proactive and more prepared to change the game to suit the needs of its players, medical advisors, and fans. Keep an eye on the games and see which version has your vote.