The Australia Rugby League Commission (ARLC) is meeting today to discuss a number of significant rule changes to the NRL, including potentially splitting the game from halves to quarters.
The change is reportedly in an effort to maximise broadcast revenue for the NRL’s next TV broadcast deal and makes up part of new chairman Peter V’landys plan to increase broadcast revenue beyond $1.8 billion following the end of 2022.
V’landys said the ARLC board has a lot of work to do in the next 12 months to prepare for the new broadcast deal.
“There are a lot of decisions to be made in the next 12 months in relation to broadcast, but we will have it in a package that will maximise the return to the game,” V’landys said.
“To me, that is the most important aspect, to ensure the game stays viable.
“If you’re not viable, you’re nowhere.
“It’s critical we continue to get the revenues we’re getting,” he said.
The ARLC has not yet revealed the full discussion topics and every change to be considered at the meeting, however it is known the changes include to golden point, the possibility of a captain’s challenge, the introduction of a 20-40 rule and the limiting of on-field support staff during matches.
The lack of confirmation of meeting discussion topics comes after V’landys read the riot act to the NRL executive and the rest of the staff about the leaking of organisational information to the media, citing their Code of Conduct on his arrival to the commission.
The 20-40 rule to be proposed, would enable the attacking team to win a scrum feed inside their opponents’ 40-metre zone by kicking the ball into touch from behind their own 20-metre line.
Also, the changes to the golden point scenario will likely mean teams that lose in golden point will still receive one competition point for their troubles.
However, the main draw to the rule changes is the shift from playing halves to quarters, as this will likely have the biggest impact on the future broadcast deal, as broadcasters would then use the extra breaks in play to sell more advertising.
This change would likely mean NRL matches would have a reduction to the number of interchanges as players would get more breaks in play, opposed to only half-time.
This structure has already been seen in pre-season NRL matches because of the concerns surrounding heat stress outside the winter season.