Rugby league rules tweaked for Auckland Nines
The NRL will trial 'golden try' extra-time for the first time in the inaugural Auckland Nines next year.
Golden try will be used to break fulltime deadlocks in a first for an NRL sanctioned competition and if it is well received, it could be introduced into the regular season.
With NRL golden point extra-time periods becoming increasingly stale, predictable and littered with drop-goal attempts, calls have become increasingly louder for golden try to be introduced in matches instead.
Sydney Roosters centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall's golden-point try in the 2010 NRL finals remains one of the competition's most memorable extra-time moments.
And at the launch of the Nines tournament's rules in Auckland today, NRL football operations manager Nathan McGuirk said the game's governing body would keep a close eye on how it was received in the shorter format of the game.
"The fans want to see tries and that is what we want to see too," McGuirk said.
"Obviously we will monitor all of these changes."
McGuirk said golden try was unlikely to be introduced in the 2014 season but that the NRL would take an open-minded approach to using it in the future.
The NRL will trial a number of other innovations at the nines, including a tackle count of five tackles and five-point tries for those scored in the 'bonus zone' under the posts.
Scrums are only to be packed after a double infringement, with a handover ensuing instead.
With the game's governing body becoming increasingly concerned at the reduction in 'ball in play' time and time wasting at scrums, the handover rule is another that could be introduced into the NRL premiership.
"I'm most interested to see how the stoppages will work in terms of the reduction, the quicker changeover of possession in certain parts of the game. That really interests me in terms of what we do going forward with the NRL," McGuirk said.
"There are some specifically designed rules for the nines such as the bonus zone, it is unlikely you will see that in the NRL but [it is] one [rule] that we think will add that extra level of excitement for fans."
The $2.6 million nines tournament will be held at Auckland's Eden Park on February 15-16 with teams required to bring one of their top five players, and 12 of their top 25 players in the 16-man squad.
Robbie Farah, Willie Mason, Greg Bird, Todd Carney, Sam Thaiday, Sam Tomkins and Shaun Johnson are among the NRL stars who have committed to the tournament.