Penrith coach Ivan Cleary (L).
Penrith coach Ivan Cleary (L). Hannah Johnston / Getty Images

Pressure from coaches leads to amended obstruction rule

NRL officials yesterday reacted to a torrent of criticism by amending the obstruction rule, with immediate effect.

Just last week Referees Elite Performance Manager Daniel Anderson defended the rule.

But with Penrith coach Ivan Cleary joining the chorus of discontent after his side was disallowed what appeared to be a legitimate try against the Titans on Sunday, the league was forced to act.

The essence of the change is that from round five, video referees will be able to "determine the significance of any contact initiated by an attacking player (who does not have the ball) in impeding a defender's involvement in a try-scoring play."

Much of the criticism has arisen when tries were denied because decoy runners came into contact with players in the defensive line, despite the fact the contact had no impact on the try.

The classic example was a try to Storm halfback Cooper Cronk in the round three match against the Bulldogs.

NRL general manager of football operations Nathan McGuirk said the change would not give the green light for decoy runners to start contacting defenders with no consequences.

"It simply provides the video referee with the discretion to rule on the significance of any contact," he said.

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