Cronulla coach John Morris has thrown his support behind the new six-again NRL rule, predicting the radical change will bring back old-school tackle techniques.
Morris this week pored over all the play-the-ball infringements over their opening two games of the season to make the necessary adjustments to their play.
And he calculated that in one game, there would’ve been at least nine extra minutes of ball in play if penalties weren’t awarded.
“And that’s the whole idea behind the real change,” Morris said on Friday.
“(The NRL) want more ball in play, they want more free-flowing rugby league, to get more fatigue into the defensive line.”
The second-year coach even looked at tape from the 2012 All Stars game, which is the only time the controversial rule was implemented in a match.
Several clubs are believed to have contacted the NRL asking for footage of that match.
“That was interesting too because in the game, it was a 3-2 penalty count total but I think there was 11 instances where six-again was ruled,” he said.
“Some of those led to tries on multiple back-to-back sets of six.”
It’s an area Morris, who pointed out that over half of all penalties last year came in the ruck, believes his team could be vulnerable.
The Sharks conceded penalty goals due to play-the-ball infringements this year in both their losses prior to the season’s suspension.
“I’ve felt we lost two games this year because we probably didn’t control the ruck the way we wanted to and it led to penalty goals against,” he said.
“We need to be on our game to make sure that we’re not given six again and burning ourselves with extra tackles.”
Travel restrictions due to the coronavirus mean coaches have been left to learn the new rules without the benefit of referees at training scrimmages.
Most teams have been making up to nine or 10 tackles in a row at training.
But Morris is anticipating exactly what the league is hoping to achieve – less gang tackling and more one-on-one tackles which players like Jake Trbojevic excel in.
“It’s going to bring back the good old tackle technique where you need to make your first tackles,” Morris said.
“Jake Trbojevic is a great example.
“His tackle technique is one of the best in the game. Those players who are competent with their one-on-one tackles, it won’t hurt them that much, this rule.
“But those who rely on help from teammates, could be in for a bit of a shock.”