NRL coaches say 18th man concussion rule doesn’t add up

NRL coaches have labelled the game’s new 18th man concussion rule useless in its current form.

On Tuesday, the Australian Rugby League Commission gave approval for an 18th man to be used by clubs, but only when three players from a team have failed HIA tests. The substitute must also be considered an “emerging player”. The rule will be in place from round five.

Raiders players Ryan James and Sebastian Kris were concussed in the same tackle last week, but that wouldn’t have been enough for the Raiders to use their 18th man.Credit:NRL Photos

Manly coach Des Hasler was also not happy with the implementation of the rule due to the three head knock policy.

Many within the game were unhappy NRL doctors failed to be consulted about the change. The NRL say they will be consulting with the RLPA, clubs and coaches in the coming week before the rule is put in place. The consultation will also seek to clarify the definition of an emerging player.

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys said the commission had listened to players and clubs who were concerned about the issue of concussion.

“This is a dynamic environment. As a commission we have always said we would be agile in changing rules when it is in the best interests of the game and this is one of those examples,” he said.

“We see this as an opportunity to give an emerging player a taste of first grade rugby league in their team’s time of need. The 18th player will also have to be rotated weekly so you don’t have a young player missing out on playing lower grades every week.”

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