The ARL Commission has ticked off on a significant change to the NRL, with an 18th man to be used as a concussion sub.
An 18th player will be added to NRL game day squads from Round 5 after the ARL Commission this afternoon approved of the change in playing conditions.
The 18th man will be used as a concussion substitute but will only be allowed to come into the game if three of his teammates fail HIAs (head injury assessments).
In a twist to the new addition to the benches, the 18th man must be an ’emerging player’, with the definition of an ’emerging player’ still to be determined by the NRL.
Before introducing the new measure, the ARLC will consult with the RLPA, clubs and coaches, with the ’emerging player’ definition to be crafted within this consultation process.
The NRL will meet the travel costs of the 18th player.
As he unveiled the new playing condition in a media statement, ARL Commission boss Peter V’landys made no apologies for adding the new system with the season already well underway.
“This is a dynamic environment. As a Commission we have always said we would be agile in changing rules when it is in the best interests of the game and this is one of those examples,” he said.
“We see this as an opportunity to give an emerging player a taste of first grade rugby league in their team’s time of need. The 18th player will also have to be rotated weekly so you don’t have a young player missing out on playing lower grades every week.
“All fans agree we don’t want to see a situation where a club is left with one player on the bench and this rule change will provide insurance for all clubs. It will also only be activated in the most dire of circumstances for a club, so we don’t see it having a material impact on games every week.”
The ARL Commission also gave its approval for the Good Friday clash between the Storm and the Broncos to go ahead at AAMI Park as scheduled, pending a ruling from the Victorian government that will be made by midday tomorrow.
The venue for the clash has become contentious after the Victorian government made Greater Brisbane a red zone, which could prevent Broncos players, who are currently in camp in Sydney, from playing in Melbourne.
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