The interval between NRL Premiership competitions never lacks for interest of one sort or another and the ARL commission has declared that beginning in the Telstra 2019 NRL Premiership competition, players sent to the sin bin will be required to run directly to the dressing room, not passing Go, not collecting $200 and taking the most direct route.
No sauntering, no swaggering, no tripping the Light Fantastique.
Imagine the most threatening Darth Vader voice possible, and then read the statement from the NRL.
“Failure to do so may lead to clubs being breached and fined under NRL rules and/or offending players may be charged with contrary conduct under the NRL Judiciary Code,” the statement read.
That contrary conduct has been our demise on more than one occasion, but the details have escaped us, akin to the memory lapses suffered by politicians and Thoroughbred trainers.
The chorus is already practicing a refrain related to the vagueness of the new rule. That could be eliminated entirely by the clock on the 10 not starting until the player was back in the dressing room.
The NRL may have been pandering to the proletariat, who expressed frustration at the staged scenes involving players engaging in theatrics demonstrating their innocence of all crimes and all sins.
Another change to the code is the addition of the “Dangerous Contact” clause. The theory is to have something for which to require penance when Shoulder Charge is not suitable.
Head of Football and holder of other impressive titles Graham Annesley told the NRL website, “Yes, players will still continue to face shoulder charges, and yes, they will continue to be found guilty of shoulder charges. But if there’s any doubt whether it meets all the criteria of that offence, it can still give them [judiciary panel] scope to consider it ‘dangerous contact’.”
That last bit should be read with a Yoda voice.