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'A lot faster': Crafty hookers to capitalise on rule change

NRL players believe backpedalling defences will struggle to cope as clever dummy halves take advantage of referees re-starting tackle counts instead of stopping play to award penalties for ruck infringements.

The revolutionary rule change and a return to one referee are on the agenda at Wednesday's ARL Commission meeting with a view to introducing them for the resumption of the Telstra Premiership on May 28.

While there are genuine concerns from players and coaches that the reduction from two referees to one will lead to a slowing of the play-the-ball, the six-to-go call against teams who interfere in the ruck will give momentum to the attacking team.

The rule was trialled in the 2012 All Stars game, won 36-28 by the Wayne Bennett-coached NRL All Stars against a Johnathan Thurston-led Indigenous All Stars team, and it is expected to benefit the likes of Damien Cook, Cameron McInnes and Cameron Smith.

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Manly hooker Danny Levi believes the ability to continue playing with extra tackles rather than having momentum halted when a penalty is awarded for a ruck infringement will suit him and the Sea Eagles.

"It will definitely make the defence a lot tireder, not having that little pause [for a penalty] so I think it will be pretty beneficial for me as a dummy half but at the same time the defence will find it pretty tough," Levi said.

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Former Queensland State of Origin centre Justin O'Neill said the continuation of play would also suit his North Queensland team, which has Jake Granville and Reece Robson sharing the dummy-half duties and a powerful forward pack led by Jason Taumalolo.

"We haven't spoken too much about it but I think having the six to go is probably going to add a bit of speed to the game and it will probably flow a bit more," O'Neill said.

"Instead of having a penalty there and a bit of a stoppage, having six more tackles will add more flow to the game which I think in return will make the game a lot faster.

"As long as I think the referees are keeping track of everything and keeping the game flowing, and all the players are happy with that, I don't think there is going to be too much of a change and I think it is something we can easily adapt to."

New Zealand winger Ken Maumalo is renowned for his strong carries off the Warriors try line at the start of sets and he believes the rule change will benefit teams with good dummy-half runners.

Warriors utility Kodi Nikorima is considered one of the best dummy-half runners in the game, while the club signed Wayde Egan from Penrith and also has highly rated hooker Nathanial Roache in their squad.

"I reckon it will be good for the likes of Cody or Wado," Maumalo said. "Rather than the ref blowing the penalty we could just play on and we have got a lot of crafty guys from dummy half who could really adapt to that role.

"It will be a lot faster, there won’t be a lot of resting. It will be all hands on. We haven’t really spoken about those rules yet but I guess when it comes out we will have to train to adapt to it."

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.