New referees chief Daniel Anderson says the 2013 NRL campaign will put more onus on his charges to adjudicate on controversial decisions before referring them to video officials.
The former Parramatta and Warriors coach, who has replaced Bill Harrigan, made a presentation on Wednesday of new rules for the season, which will be the first since the outlawing of the shoulder charge.
The obstruction law has also been amended, in addition to the introduction of protocols in which referees will make a call on try decisions before referring them.
However, it was the new interpretations on obstruction that caused the most debate.
The subject caused much consternation last year and Anderson explained that, under the new rulings, Justin Hodges' controversial try in the State of Origin decider in Brisbane for Queensland would be chalked off.
Hodges scored for the Maroons after Ben Hannant impeded Beau Scott as the centre darted underneath the posts.
"Now you can't run at defenders and initiate contact and the defensive line cannot be disadvantaged," Anderson said.
Anderson admitted he expected there to be some initial issues with the interpretation of the rule, but the onus would be on coaches to encourage players not to run into players.
Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens, who was also present, said he felt the new rules could potentially unfairly disadvantage the attacking team if a try was scored out wide and a penalty was given for an infringement at the ruck.
However, Anderson said that an attacking team would not be penalised if a defending player initiated contact on an attacker.
Under the new rules, contact to the head - like the actions demonstrated by South Sydney's Greg Inglis on St George Illawarra's Dean Young and Brisbane's Ben Te'o on West Tigers prop Matt Groat - would almost certainly result in a send off.
Anderson said he expected some teething problems, as players get used to not using the tackle but felt it would ease off over the course of the season.
"There have been some in the trials, and George Rose did one in the All Stars game," said Anderson.
"It will be considered misconduct if any player affects a tackle by rotating the hips and shoulders or when a defender has his arms tucked into his body."
Referees will make an on-field call on controversial try decisions before referring them to the video box.
In previous years, the decision was sent to the box but, now, a call will be made on the field.
"There was too much going upstairs last year," said Anderson.
"Referees have an instinct and are usually in the best position to make a call and we want them to have the confidence to do that."
Veteran whistleblower Tony Archer and Russell Smith are the technical coaches for the referees list.
Archer denied the new video system would affect referees' confidence if their decisions were continually overturned.
"They won't want to get them wrong, and it will make them work harder to ensure they are in the right position to make the right calls," he said.
Anderson also announced they would trial a captain's challenge in the under-20s Holden Cup competition. Each team will have one unsuccessful call per half.
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