NRL consider drastic measures to end scourge of loitering trainers

They will have unrestricted access for stoppages such as when a try is scored, to facilitate an interchange of players as well as during a video referee decision and injury timeouts.

Orange shirt trainers will have no limitations on treating injured players, but can’t stand behind play to monitor players. They will have to observe from the sideline.

NRL trainers will be threatened with deregistration for repeatedly flouting new rules determining how long they can spend on the field.Credit:AAP

The NRL was forced to deal with the fallout from last year’s grand final when Roosters trainer Travis Touma was struck with the ball after a ricochet, returning possession to the tricolours.

The Roosters scored on the next set and eventually beat the Raiders by six points in a dramatic decider, which was also plagued by the late “six again” controversy.

And senior NRL officials are adamant in the most drastic of circumstances they will have no hesitation forbidding trainers from returning if they continually flout the rules.


The crackdown on trainers is one of several changes to the game this season with NRL officials also threatening to alter the new scrum rule already after it was exploited during pre-season.

The NRL saw vision from at least one trial where the second-rowers were not even placing their heads in scrums in a bid to break quickly.

Teams now have the option to pack scrums from the middle of the field, 20 metres in from touch or the nearest 10-metre line.

Coaches are favouring setting up their attack from the middle of the field, which is being countered by plans for defensive players to break quickly from scrums to cover both sides without risking immediate points.

Differential penalties don’t allow teams to kick for goal.

NRL head of football Graham Annesley has written to clubs and vowed to change the differential rule mid-year with the Australian Rugby League Commission if clubs keep exploiting it.

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