AAP Rugby

NRL denies plans for four-quarter games

By AAP Newswire

The NRL has denied a radical competition change to introduce four quarters to increase broadcast revenue has ever been on the agenda.

Despite reports by Nine Media claiming the NRL will consider chopping the game into four quarters, on Friday the NRL's head of elite competitions Graham Annesley said it has never been discussed.

"That hasn't been in the agenda at all, certainly through any discussions that I've had at any level of that process, either competition committee, coaches or (ARL) commission," he said.

"It's not formed any discussions that I've had with any of those bodies."

The report claimed a push for the change has come from new ARLC chairman Peter V'Landys, who will look to increase broadcast revenue for the game once the current TV deal expires in 2022.

More breaks in play would allow broadcasters to sell more advertisements.

However, Annesley, a former referee turned administrator, said he believes more breaks in play would disturb momentum and the role of fatigue in the game.

"I've seen the game played in four quarters, I've been involved in the game when it was played in four quarters in the past in midweek competitions. It does tend to be a different type of game," he said.

"The rules remain the same but a fair bit of our game is about continuity and playing it in two halves builds that continuity and builds the fluidity so breaking it into shorter terms can sometimes break that momentum."

During Thursday's meeting where a number of new rules were approved for 2020, the ARLC looked at making changes to the points system to provide a competition advantage for teams who lose a golden point game.

However, the commission determined it needs another season to gather stakeholder feedback before making a change.

"The rules have been around the game since 1908 about two points for a win, one point for a draw and zero for a loss and they felt a heavy responsibility to take into consideration that fabric of the game and to make sure they consider all stakeholder feedback before they make that decision," Annesley said.

"It's not to say that it won't happen, but it won't be introduced for 2020."

A reduction in interchange and an 18th man for concussion were also considered by the competition committee and coaches but did not go forward for "a variety of reasons".