NRL Rule Changes for 2007

30th January 2007

Golden Point Remains

The National Rugby League Board has retained the Golden Point rule in its present form, reinstated Sunday semi finals and accepted a number of amendments to refereeing interpretations for the 2007 season. Today's meeting considered outcomes from the Football Operations Conference, the Club's Annual Conference and submissions from both individual clubs and the NRL Executive. While there had been substantial debate in relation to the Golden Point and particularly the option of moving to a Golden Try, there was also acceptance that the existing Golden Point rule had added an exciting dimension to matches and had provided the framework. "if it isn't broken don't fix it" NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said. There were also some real concerns about the consistency between matches during the year and semi finals that would need to be played until a result was reached. Finally there was a fundamental concern that moving away from the current concept would mean that you could win a game one way in the 79th minute (through a field goal) but have to win it another in the 81st minute (through a try). A lot of people point to the Tri Nations Final as a reason for change but in fact that finish occurred under the existing rule. We've implemented a large number of changes on the back of the feedback from coaches, players, referees and club's but will leave the Golden Point in place.

Rule Interpretations

As a result of today's meeting, referees will adjust a number of on field rule interpretations:

  • Off-side (in judging the position of attacking players in relation to offside, both feet must be behind the ball; in the case of defensive players both feet must be behind the either the referees' 10m mark or the goal line.)
  • Play-the-ball (genuine attempt must be made to play with foot)
  • Obstruction

    Notes on amendments to the obstruction interpretation: 
     - Standard "run-around" move is ok. 
     - Passing across the back of decoy runners is ok. 
     - Ball carrier cannot run behind a decoy and gain an advantage regardless of any contact between the decoy and the defence. 
     - Decoy runners must run into space and not interfere with the defensive. 
     - Decoys that interfere with inside-out defenders will be penalised. 

  • Sin Bin (may be used for minor repeated infringements of foul play)
  • Interchange/Foul Play (free interchange when leaving and returning to field)
  • Free kicks 20 metres from touch (RLIF Executive has agreed this can be adopted as an experimental rule in 2007)


    Minor changes were also approved to the NRL Judiciary system.

  • The first change will result in a player's first Careless Grade 1 tackle conviction no longer incurring a "prior offence" loading for those players who have qualified for the 7 year incident free discount. In effect this means a player who has played 7 years without conviction would not lose his "good-record" discount because of his first Careless Grade 1 Tackle offence.
  • Furthermore, if a player who has played 7 years incident free in Grade Football is convicted of an offence other than a Careless Grade 1 High Tackle, the loading period (the length of time the offence remains on his record for the purposes of increasing future penalties) be reduced from two years to one year.

    "It's an incentive for players to retain clean records", Mr Gallop explained. Without lessening any of the deterrents we have against foul play it also rewards players who play the game in the right spirit over an extended period."

    Salary Cap - 2nd tier terminations

    The meeting today also made a minor amendment to the salary cap aimed at providing further opportunities to young players. Players in a Club's 2nd Tier (not part of the top 25), who have not played in the NRL and whose contract with the club is terminated, will not remain in the Club's salary cap calculation after that point.


    On the issue of scheduling, the Board agreed that the 2006 experiment of taking semi finals in weeks two and three to Friday night instead of Sunday night should not be repeated. The semi finals in weeks two and three will now be played on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.

    The Board has confirmed that 2007 will move to a system of Home Finals in week 1, Home Cities in week 2, Home Regions in Week 3, with the Grand Final at Telstra Stadium.

    "We've listened to the fans over the last couple of years in terms of having more flexibility around finals scheduling and last year in terms of their preference Saturday evening and Sunday finals," Mr Gallop said. "The mix of matches in 2007 will get the big games close to fans but keep them in Stadiums that can accommodate semi final crowds."

    NSWRL U18 and U16 Junior Interchanges Standardised

    This year in the U18 and U16 Junior Reps there will only be 4 players that can use 12 interchanges, in a standard national interchange format. This is a change from last year there were 7 replacements could be used in a unlimited interchange.