New Rules

Date published: Wednesday, December 14, 2011

THE Rugby League has announced rule changes which start on Boxing Day and which will apply across all domestic competitions in the 2012 season.

They will be seen by Oldham fans for the first time when derby rivals Rochdale Hornets come to Whitebank in the pre-season Law Cup game on Monday, January 2 (3pm kick off).

Hornets, who have signed former Roughyeds’  forward Chris Baines from Keighley, will be having their second run-out after playing Rochdale’s amateur town team at Mayfield on Wednesday, December 28.

Commenting on the rule changes, RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said: “We will continue to look at how we can make rugby league the most entertaining spectacle it can be. I am confident the new season will be one of the most exciting to date.”

Main changes are as follows:

+ Maximum number of substitutions will drop from 12 to 10.

+ A player who hits a corner flag while in possession will no longer be ruled to be in touch.

+ Instead of being penalised, players who carry on playing after the referee has called ‘held’ will be instructed to go back and play the ball.

+ Players converting a try or kicking a penalty goal will have the option of using a drop-kick method..

+ New interpretations of touch-in-goal and dead-in-goal scenarios will be implemented.

Oldham’s Extended Scholarship squad (under-18s) will play six games in the coming season — two more than in the competition’s 2011 inaugural campaign.

“I’m delighted at that, it’s definitely a step in the right direction,” said coach Phil Costin.

Six clubs had under-18s squads last season, but Roughyeds played only four of them once —- Workington and Leigh at home and Hunslet and Keighley away.

Workington have dropped out to be replaced by Halifax.

This time Roughyeds will play the other five once — Hunslet,  Keighley, Leigh, York and Halifax — plus one extra game to make six in total.