19th January 2019, 12:00 | super_league
Players and spectators will receive further exposure to Rugby League’s new on-field look for 2019 at the pre-season matches being played this weekend.
The amendments to laws and playing conditions that were approved by the Rugby Football League’s Laws Committee over the winter officially came into effect on Friday January 11.
While Golden Point extra-time will only apply in the Betfred Super League and in Cup and Play-Off Matches, the “Shot Clock” changes that will place time limits on teams at drop-outs and scrums, in addition to the special arrangements for the last five minutes (see details below), will also apply in the Betfred Championship and the later rounds of the Challenge Cup – and the reduction to eight interchanges for each team will apply at all levels of the men’s professional game.
The changes are being eased in during the pre-season period. Shot Clock was introduced for drop-outs and scrums at four of last weekend’s games – and this weekend, spectators will get a first glimpse of the countdown clocks to be installed for all Betfred Super League fixtures.
They will be used in Saturday’s match between St Helens and Hull FC – in aid of Jonny Lomax’s Testimonial Year – and then on Sunday for the fixtures at Leeds, Salford and Warrington.
Hull KR will not install the countdown clock at KCOM Craven Park until next week after the issues they have had at the ground during the close season, but the new Shot Clock rules and changes for the final five minutes will still be in operation for their game against Toronto Wolfpack on Saturday – with timings monitored, and penalties enforced, by the combination of the referee on the field and the timekeeper off it, exactly as they will be for the Wolfpack’s fixtures in the Betfred Championship.
And that will also be the case in Sunday’s Yorkshire Cup Final between Batley Bulldogs and Bradford Bulls at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.
For the nine other fixtures being played this weekend – at Newcastle, Hunslet and York on Saturday, and Barrow, Doncaster, Swinton, Oldham, Workington and Featherstone on Sunday – there is no official timekeeper appointed.
But referees will be introducing players to the new Shot Clock rules and interpretations on the field – with timekeepers to be appointed for more fixtures involving Betfred Championship clubs next weekend.
In these pre-season fixtures, clubs have the freedom to decide on the number of interchanges, and whether to have Golden Point available.
But the free play will no longer apply in any matches, as per another of the changes made by the Laws Committee.
Golden Point extra-time will then apply for all of the First Round ties in the Challenge Cup on the weekend of January 26-27 – and all the new rules (Shot Clocks, a maximum of eight interchanges, Golden Point and the special arrangements for the last five minutes) will be in place for the launch fixture of the Betfred Super League season between St Helens and Wigan on Thursday January 31.
Full details of the new rules for 2019, as they apply in the Betfred Championship as well as the Betfred Super League (with the exception of Golden Point extra-time), are explained here https://www.rugby-league.com/superleague/new_beginnings