After various instances in recent rounds Down Under, NRL chiefs have instructed their referees to penalise those throwing dummy half passes into non-active defenders who are offside.
As it stands currently, if a player is struck by a pass following a play the ball and is in an offside position – regardless of intent from the defender to get involved in the play – then the attacking team are awarded a penalty. However, that rule has now been changed in favour of the defenders.
Deeming that the practice is contrary to the spirit of the game, referees are now to penalise attackers who deliberately pass the ball into inactive but offside defenders at the ruck. “What we have seen recently is a bad look for the game, and in simple terms, not in the spirit of the game,” NRL Head of Football Brian Canavan said. “In these instances, if a player deliberately throws the ball into another, the referees will give a penalty to the opposition team.”
This is a practice which is also prevalent in Super League and it will be interesting to see how the RFL – or Super League solely – react to the NRL’s view on this situation and, depending on the alteration’s success, it may soon come into force in Europe.