NRL head of football Graham Annesley has told coaches to adapt or face the consequences of the competition’s new six-again rule.
The new rule means when the league resumes next week, referees will restart the tackle count for ruck infringements rather than awarding penalties.
A penalty can still be awarded, however, after multiple infringements.
Annesley is confident the rule will encourage referees to call out infringements, as they won’t have to worry about stopping the game or rising penalty counts.
“The referees shouldn’t feel the same level of pressure about blowing penalties because the penalty count is starting to mount,” Annesley told AAP.
“It’s about trying to keep the game as continuous as possible and allow the referees to stay out of the game as much as possible.”
A crackdown on ruck infringements at the start of the 2018 season was heavily criticised after it brought about high penalty counts and a fear referees were dominating games and interrupting play.
In response the crackdown was abandoned by the NRL later in the campaign but Annesley said he would be unsympathetic to any such complaints from players and coaches affected by the latest rule change.
“Of course coaches will be unhappy with a lot of things during the course of the year and particularly losing,” he said.
“That’s the thing that makes them the most unhappy but the rules are very clear and the coaches have had plenty of warning about the changes.
“I’m sure they’ve been working very hard on how they’re going to deal with it but the best way to avoid criticism of action taken by referees is not offend in the first place.”