The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) have announced a number of reforms to the judiciary system, including handing out increased fines for stars playing representative fixtures rather than suspensions.
“Under the reforms, players competing in representative matches will receive fines for a greater range of grade one and two offences than in the NRL Telstra premiership,” the ARLC revealed in a statement.
“Fines for offences will be calculated as a percentage portion of the player’s representative match payment, with each player holding a separate ‘representative judiciary record’ which resets each year.”
The changes will aim to reduce the severity of penalties issued in representative games and in the finals series, whilst “maintaining the game’s strong stance against on-field misconduct.”
The loosening of the rules will enable players to get away with low-grade foul play and not have to sit out regular round NRL matches as a consequence of their actions.
However, more serious offences will still be dealt with in the same manner.
“The judiciary code has been revised to reduce the incidence of representative players being unavailable for home club duty following suspensions in representative matches,” the NRL stated.
They have also altered how they treat repeat offenders, with players now able to accept a fine rather than face an automatic ban if they are found guilty three times throughout the season.
This could have a major affect in the finals, as players will no longer be ruled out for repeated minor infringements like in years gone by.
“Players who commit a “third offence” under the judiciary code in a finals series match will be entitled to pay a fine in place of suspension for most offences,” the statement read.
“Reckless high tackles of any grade will not be eligible for a fine, and any subsequent offence in the finals series will attract the prescribed suspension.”
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Finally, the NRL moved to recognise that All-Star games and Test matches would now count as representative football and fall under the same rules for the judiciary system.
This also means that players will be permitted to serve any suspensions they do receive in these games, as well as in the NRL.