Manly Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler hits out at proposed NRL rule changes

“I don’t think we should do anything which changes the structure of the season so far,” he said. “We’ve been very respectful of not going to two conferences and making these changes.

“Let’s liken it to a couple of years ago where they were giving two or three penalties on the try line and then someone goes to the bin. That didn’t work, I thought that was disastrous.

Trent Robinson is on the Project Apollo committee.Credit:Peter Rae

“Decisions like that need to be really thought out and they need to be systemised and they need to be not made on the run, let’s call it making policy on the run.”

Hasler said reverting to one referee would affect how the ruck is controlled if they are marking the 10 metres and warned against using touch judges to help police it.

“And please, no touch judges. I don’t think touch judges do a great job as it is now,” he said.

“I certainly don’t want to see touch judges running in or marking the 10. We see what a touch judge called in the Nines. We saw that touch judge’s call and what they did to Penrith.”

On Friday, NRL coaches Paul Green, Paul McGregor and Justin Holbrook also voiced their concerns about changes to the rules with just 19 days until the season restarts.

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson is on the Project Apollo committee and said there should be healthy debate before introducing new rules.

His personal opinion is to keep two referees with one dominant referee, and says any rule change made to the ruck would have a significant impact on the game.


He said the integrity of the competition was also worth considering given two games have already been played under one set of rules.

“You need to weigh out the positives and the negatives about it, and that’s a negative about it,” he said. “The positives of it are definitely a financial one, possibly, people have talked about the purity of the game coming back with one referee.

“The reason not to do it will be the ruck will have less eyes on it, more exploitation of the wrestle in the ruck. I could go on for the next 10 minutes about the for and against, and that’s what we should be doing.

“We should be having that debate and having it quickly because we’ve got a competition to start in three weeks.”

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