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NRL reduces interchange for 2016

NRL Head of Football Todd Greenberg has announced that the number of interchanges will be reduced from ten to eight, and a shot clock will be introduced to reduce stoppages for the 2016 season.

The changes have been made to complement skill instead of size, with an aim to bring the game back to the little man.

The revisions will give fans a free-flowing game, with smaller players able to exploit the tiring big men.

Four players will remain on the bench to complement these changes, which could be revised further in the future, following an analysis of performance next season.

“We think these changes are a significant first step because they will reward endurance and fitness and open up the game,” said Greenberg.

“As a result of these changes, there will be a greater emphasis on skill to complement power and size.

“We believe that, unless we take action now, the game will become more structured, defensive and predictable in years to come.

“So these changes are designed to ensure we stay ahead of the curve – it is about shaping how the game will look in ten years and beyond.

“We want the best football being played by the best footballers, and all our research points to these changes having a significant impact on the quality of games that our supporters deserve every week.

The exact timings of the shot clock in each situation of play are yet to be confirmed, however it is accepted that they would make the game more continuous and minimise time wasting and stoppages.

The Rugby Football League collaborated with the research, and as such will make its own recommendation for the Super League.

The NSWRL and the QRL have suggested that they will follow suit by reducing the number of interchanges in the VB NSW Cup and Intrust Super Cup competitions.

The Holden Cup will also be reducing the interchange, which will be interesting – some players may really struggle to hold down a spot.

The change from ten to eight, as opposed to changing from ten to six, ensures that there is still a place for size and power in the game’s immediate future.

But the big men will be forced to play more minutes, which will leave a little window for the smaller, more skilful players to run rampant.

The sizeable players may not have the energy to make that cover tackle on Billy Slater coming off Cooper Cronk’s inside hip, which points to a much more exciting, and much less predictable, game of footy.

(PHOTO: Getty Images)

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