Repeat offenders will be sent to the sin bin. The same rule will apply to players who commit a professional foul.
Secondly, the NRL has given touch judges the power to enter the field of play to assist with ruck control. Touch judges are often seen barking orders from the sideline but rarely enter the field of play to do so.
The bunker has also been given additional powers, ordered to monitor rucks and assist the referee when there is a break in play.
But the biggest change of all is the call to give the defending team the ball if the attacking team is seen to be deliberately playing for a six-again infringement.
“If, in the opinion of the referee, the attacking team deliberately breaks down play in an attempt to convert ‘six again’ to a full penalty, the referee will order a scrum with the loose head and feed given to the defending team,” the document reads.
The document also warns clubs they do not have to be warned about repeat infringements before a full penalty and the sin bin is used.
The rule changes will be put to the test for the first time on May 28, when the Broncos face the Eels in a blockbuster restart to the season.
The NRL will next week reveal where that match will be played, along with all the other round three and four fixtures.
Interim chief executive Andrew Abdo on Friday indicated the majority of Sydney matches will be played in two or three central stadiums.
“We are still working through site inspections, we are running through logistics and the security and medical protocols relating to the choice of stadiums,” Abdo said.
“We have always said all along that we will be rationalising where we play, especially while we don’t have crowds.
“The principles for where we will be playing will be driven by security protocols but, also, financial and logistical constraints.”
League Central will reveal the rest of the draw and the State of Origin dates – which are tipped to be November 4, 11 and 18 – next week.
“In terms of where we will play, we won’t be announcing that next week,” Abdo said of Origin. “That’s a factor for consideration around public health orders and whether or not we will be able to have crowds at those games.”
Before the season resumes in just under a fortnight, the NRL will have to reach a resolution with the referees, who took the governing body to the Fair Work Commission on Friday over the decision to revert to a one-referee system for games.
“Obviously we respect the position they have taken,” Abdo said. “We believe we followed the correct process (before making the decision) and we are confident we will be able to resolve that between now and next week.”
Abdo was also “confident” lengthy broadcast deal discussions would be wrapped up by the start of next week.
Sam is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.