Veteran coach Wayne Bennett has hailed ARLC Commission chair Peter V’landys for having the foresight to introduce the radical six-again rule.
All eyes will be on the NRL this weekend when it becomes the first professional sport in Australia to emerge out of the coronavirus lockdown.
There will also be plenty of emphasis on the rule changes hastily brought in by V’landys, including the controversial return to a one-referee system.
But it is the six-again rule in particular, where referees will restart the penalty count for ruck infringements, that could have an enormous impact on the game.
“It’s certainly going to impact (the game),” Bennett, the South Sydney coach, said.
“I believe it will be for the betterment of the game. I’ve got no problems with it. I just don’t want my players to be giving them too many of them away, that’s all.”
The only time the rule was trialled was during an exhibition match between an All Stars and Indigenous All Stars team eight years ago.
Bennett, who was coach of the All Stars team, predicted at the time that the change would eventually be brought in to reduce the wrestle.
Such was his support that, when the rule-change was announced two weeks ago, rival clubs questioned Bennett’s role in its implementation.
Bennett has endured a tumultuous lead-up to Friday’s clash against Sydney Roosters, including a two-game ban for star five-eighth Cody Walker.
Bennett has been accused of being aware of the street fight Walker was involved in late last year, but opted not to inform the club of the NRL integrity unit.
South Sydney have since been fined $20,000 for failing to report the matter, and Bennett on Thursday refused to answer questions over the matter.
But that didn’t stop him from praising V’landys for pushing ahead with the rule.
“We all realised that you can’t be giving 20 penalties out there anymore because it’s going to detract from the quality of the game we want,” Bennett said.
“Peter V’landys has got enough vision to see that and talk about that. None of our administrators have talked about that for a long time.
“The great administrators have got to have the vision for the way the game needs to be played. When they can see it, they can bring people along with that.
“And they can make rule changes.
“I’ve lived through a lot of eras of administrators and the greatest administrators I’ve seen are the people that can have the vision for the game.”