Following a review of 2020 rules and the recent release of NRL rule changes, the Queensland Rugby League will implement a number of rule changes and adoptions for QRL statewide competitions in season 2021.
The on-field rule changes which were implemented in 2020 and will remain for this upcoming season are as follows:
- 20/40 kick
- Mutual infringement restart when the ball strikes a trainer or the referee.
- Ban on mid-air tackles
- Trainers stopping play: players are to be interchanged or removed from the field until their team regains possession. Note, this is slightly different to NRL where it is timed at two minutes of active match time.
In addition to retaining these rules, the proposed new on-field rule changes for the 2021 season for all statewide competitions are listed below:
- Lateral position of scrums: on-field captain selects either the 10m, 20m or mid-field and the scrum must still be packed within the required 30 seconds or a penalty will be awarded to the non-offending team.
- Message runners: restricting access for blue trainers during play. Each blue trainer will only be allowed to enter the field of play three (3) times per half to deliver messages. They will be issued with three (3) cards at the beginning of each half for this purpose. They can still enter the field of play at all stoppages or tries but as per NRL On-Field Policy, not at scrums.
- Play the ball restart: play the ball restart after ball, or player carrying the ball, finds touch. The play the ball restart can be taken at either the 10m, 20m or mid-field within the required time frame.
- Incorrect play the ball: a ‘handover’ (rather than a penalty) is to be ordered where players do not make a genuine attempt to play the ball with their foot.
- Early scrum break: the referee will call “break” when they are satisfied that the ball is out of the scrum. Where players break early before the call of “break”, the referee will award a full penalty. The team receiving the penalty will have the option of re-packing the scrum. If the scrum is re-packed and the players again break early, a further penalty will be awarded and one of the offending players will be sent to the sin-bin.
- Field goals: field goals kicked from outside the 40 metre line to be worth two (2) points.
The following rule will apply in the Intrust Super Cup, BHP Premiership and Hastings Deering Colts competitions only:
- Six-again rule: introduced to the NRL in the 2020 season, the six-again rule will apply to ruck infringements and 10-metre infringements. The sin-bin can be used for repeated infringements at the discretion of the match official.
As well as the introduction of new rules, another has been removed for next season.
- Mandatory six (6) players in each scrum.
Coaches will be provided with more information early in 2021 at the upcoming coaches forum being conducted by statewide competitions staff.