North Queensland Cowboys coach Paul Green has warned the NRL of catering too much to the offensive side of the game after the latest amendment to the six-again rule.
The new ARLC approved amendment will allow referees to immediately re-start a tackle count when markers are not square or break early at the play-the-ball.
The rule change was enshrined on Tuesday and has been implemented in a bid to prevent teams from using markers to gain an unfair advantage.
However, by making the rule more punitive towards defenders, Green says the NRL is playing a dangerous game.
“I think they’ve got to be really careful because you can’t change the fabric of the game too much so that you’re rewarding one side of the footy more than the other. Defence is also an equally important part of the game,” he told 2GB’s Wide World of Sports Radio.
“I’m scratching my head at some of the set-piece stuff. We’ve got to be careful that some of the players don’t feel like they’re not allowed to tackle hard anymore otherwise they get a set restart.”
Green also accused NRL referees of being too “trigger-happy” with their adjudication of ruck infringements, saying the impact has been counter-intuitive.
“They were trying to clean up the ruck and if you look on averages, before this new rule came in there was roughly around six ruck infringement penalties per game, and I think we’re up to about 11-12 set restarts,” he said.
“I think the bar for that ruck infringement is getting lower and lower. They’re really looking for them now and I think they do have a massive impact. Remember when the seven-tackle rule came in, that had a huge impact.
“This is not a seven-tackle set, these are often eight-nine-10 tackle sets, so it does have a huge impact and we just need to be careful.
“They’re a little bit trigger-happy with it at the moment and because the game flows on too, you don’t get the chance to stop and at least ask what we’re doing wrong.
“The problem is, you move on so you don’t get to actually talk about what you did wrong and try and fix it.”
Despite Green’s criticism of the rule change, ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys explained why the amendment was introduced.
“We have observed an increasing trend of markers either not standing square or breaking early and placing themselves in an offside position,” he said.
“Rather than direct referees to blow more penalty stoppages, we believe this variation will ensure free flowing rugby league continues to the benefit of our fans.
“The introduction of the six-again rule has added to the spectacle of the game and the Commission will continue to be dynamic and agile to ensure we keep the game as entertaining as possible.”