THREE new potential rugby league rule changes have been welcomed by the Kirklees coaches involved in their trial.
And if they prove successful, they could become Super League law sooner rather than later.
The trio of changes were enforced for the first time during the traditional Heavy Woollen derby clash between Batley and Dewsbury at Mount Pleasant, which the Bulldogs won 28-18.
They could also be tested during the Giants’ two warm-up games in January.
The rules being trialled were:
Attacking teams can choose to have five men in the scrum, rather than the traditional six. It should increase attacking options for the back line. (And could it be the beginning of the end of scrums in rugby league?)
When a kick is charged down, the tackle count is no longer wiped clean, it will continue. This will help reward positive defence.
A kick from a player from inside his own half that goes dead behind the in-goal area will now result in a tap restart for the opposition on the 40m line and NOT the 20m line. This will make what has long been regarded as a negative tactic less attractive.
The changes made little impact on this particular occasion, but Batley boss John Kear is confident they will make the rugby league spectacle even more positive.
“I was delighted we were chosen to trial the rules, because I’m a big fan of them,” said Kear, whose club has now has an official link-up with the Super League Giants. “I’m convinced they’ll make play far more positive, and anything that does that has to be applauded.
“I’ve always be a great believer that we should always be striving to make our fantastic game even better.”
The potential rule changes were also welcomed by new Dewsbury had coach Glenn Morrison, who feels they will come to the fore the longer the trial continues.
“It’s too early to make a judgement after one game, but the trial should certainly continue.
“The new rule at the scrum, in particular, could really come into it’s own when we’re playing on drier tracks.
“In the game at Batley, the pitch was heavy, so it was difficult to put on effective plays with an extra man switched to the back line.
“But when the pitch is firm and fast, we could see some very exciting new attacking options coming into play, and that’s obviously what the fans like to see.”
The trials are expected to continue in a number of pre-season games, including those involving the Giants.
Huddersfield head to St Helens on Friday, January 11 and host Widnes at the John Smith’s Stadium nine days later.
A decision by the Rugby Football League has yet to be made.
When the season gets under way, the trial will continue at the level below Super League and the two Championship tiers.
And if they prove a big hit, the rules could be implemented in the professional game by the middle of the 2013 season.