Rule changes for the 2019 season

Queensland Rugby League will this weekend implement some new rules and initiatives for all games played in the Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup, Hastings Deering Colts and Intrust Super Cup competitions. 

QRL competitions manager Dave Maiden said the changes were brought about to incorporate changes made at the National Rugby League level, and after feedback from coaches and CEO's.

"The overwhelming response from coaches was that the amount of stoppage time in our game needs to be reduced, which results in an increased time with the ball in play," Maiden said.

"This has a twofold benefit in that it increases spectator enjoyment and re-introduces an element of fatigue into our game.

"We all wish to see an open and flowing style of rugby league and the modifications are designed to achieve that goal."

Maiden said the first two initiatives - 20-40 kicks and the tackle count restart - would be reviewed after Round 6. 

20/40 kicks

  • As per 40/20 kicks, when a kick in general play and from inside an attacking team's 20-metre zone, which finds touch (other than on the full) in the opposition's 40-metre zone, the resultant tap kick restart will be awarded to the kicking team 20 metres in from where the ball crossed the touch line.

Tackle count restart

  • Play is only to be stopped for serious injuries which necessitate a doctor coming onto the field.
  • Should a doctor be required on the field, the head trainer who performs the initial assessment of the player is to attract the attention of the referee or nearest touch judge, who can electronically communicate with the referee to advise the injury is of a serious nature.
  • If in this instance, or when a trainer signals to the referee to stop play and the player resumes play back in the defensive line after the stoppage, the tackle count will restart with the next play the ball being zero tackle.
  • If the player does not take his place in the defensive line prior to the next play the ball, the team has two options: he can either be interchanged using an interchange card (Standard or HIA if appropriate); OR he goes off the field and the team plays one short until his team gains possession of the ball before he can come back on. 
  • It is important to note that play is not to be stopped for any other reason unless the referee feels the player requiring attention is at risk of interfering with play.
  • If the referee  - and only the referee - stops play on his own accord, the tackle count will continue as normal.
  • It is not a reason to stop play if a player requires trainer administered medical assessment, treatment or assistance that will not interfere with play.
  • Player wellbeing is paramount and should be at the forefront of all considerations.

Sin binned/sent off players

  • Any player sent to the sin bin or permanently dismissed from the field must run, not walk, taking the most direct route to the dressing rooms.
  • Failure to do so may lead to offending player being charged with “Contrary Conduct” by the Match Review Committee.

Dangerous contact - head/neck

  • Judiciary demerit points for Grade 2 and Grade 3 charges to increase to 300 points and 500 points respectively.

Shoulder charge - to amend

  • The Chairman’s directions to the Judiciary Panel are the force needs to be primarily generated by the shoulder and/or upper arm of the charged player when assessing the element of forceful contact under the current interpretation; and
  • The Judiciary Code allows a finding of guilty to an alternative charge when charged with a Shoulder Charge (for example, Dangerous Contact).

Conversion attempts - time off after about one minute and 30 seconds

  • Match officials will work together to call time off when a kicker reaches the 1 minute 30 second mark.

Goal line drop outs - 30-second limit

  • Teams will be only allowed 30 seconds to take any goal line restart.
  • Touch officials will advise referees at the 20-second mark; referees will then advise kicking team that they have 10 seconds.
  • Failure to adhere to the match officials' direction in the time advised will result in a penalty 10 metres out and directly in front to the non-offending team.

Scrums

  • As per current rules, referees will encourage players to pack scrums as soon as possible.
  • As per current rules, no sports trainers are allowed on the field of play once a scrum formation has been indicated.
  • If sports trainers do enter field of play while a scrum is being formed, they will be identified by the match officials by their team and shirt colour.
    • First offence - official warning/breach notice
    • Second and every subsequent offence - $100 fine

Sports trainers

  • As per current rules, sports trainers are only allowed on the field of play to perform their allocated task.
  • If sports trainers remain on the field of play or behind play, they will be identified by the match officials by their team and shirt colour.
    • First offence - official warning/breach notice
    • Second and every subsequent offence - $100 fine

Play on for single infringements

  • Match officials will encourage play on for single infringements rather than pack a scrum.
  • Inside the 10-metre zone, scrums will be generally be packed if play does not get back to or over the 10-metre line (and therefore no advantage).