Cleary urges NRL to scrap 40-20 restart rules

MICHAEL CHAMMAS
Last updated 08:36 18/08/2014
Ivan Cleary
Getty Images
PANTHERS COACH: Ivan Cleary.

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Panthers coach Ivan Cleary has urged the NRL to scrap the rules relating to the 40-20 before the start of the next round.

Cleary warned that the controversial rules would prove problematic after his side were denied a quick-tap restart in round 19 because of a ballboy error.

The incident was similar to the one that denied Parramatta the chance to attempt a try that could have won them the match against the Bulldogs on Friday night.

Cleary insists the NRL need to reintroduce a scrum after a 40-20 for the remainder of the season to avoid a repeat of the drama that may have ruined Parramatta's finals chances.

''I just don't think you can have a quick tap,'' Cleary said.

''The whole reason you have a quick tap in the game is because things happen right there in front of you - the guy already has the ball. But if you have to go and get the ball, there are too many factors that change the way it is tapped.

''I think for the moment, it wouldn't be a bad thing for the game that next round we go back to the scrum. You still get an advantage.

''If there's a better way to do it, then we can discuss it later. But we need to fix this first.

''We had a game against the Roosters a few weeks ago where they got a 40-20 and the ballboy did the right job and we had a man put in the sin bin for it.

''Then we got a 40-20 in the second half and the ball boy didn't do the right job, so we had two different restarts all based on the ballboy, which is wrong.''

Cleary is on the NRL's competition committee, which also includes Wayne Bennett, Trent Robinson, Tim Sheens and Darren Lockyer.

Cleary was at the World Cup in a coaching role with New Zealand when the decision was made to change the rules, but he said he understands the thinking behind the change.

The Panthers coach is open to other ideas but insists the current ruling is chaotic.

''When the rules changed, I'm actually on that committee, but I was away at the World Cup when it went down, so I wasn't privy to the discussions,'' Cleary said.

''I'm not sure if these outcomes were discussed. It's obviously a problem with the rule that's becoming a big problem. It looks unorganised and there are far too many holes in it at the moment.

''I don't think it was designed to speed the game up; I think it was designed to open the game up. If the 40-20 became such a big asset, you might have had wingers sitting back more, which opens the field up. I can see the thinking behind it, and it's not necessarily a bad thing, but at the moment there's a huge hole in it.''

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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