Queensland State of Origin stars Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and Valentine Holmes have warned the NRL there is no need for a blitz on wrestling, claiming the game’s speed is fine the way it is.
The issue of ruck speed is set to be on the agenda again this weekend, after ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys aired concerns over wrestling and slower play-the-balls shutting down the game’s stars.
The matter was expected to be discussed at Tuesday’s Commission meeting, while the NRL’s head of football Graham Annesley claimed this week teams were now pushing the envelope in defence on their own trylines.
Annesley also admitted referees had not adapted to increased wrestling and offside players on their own line, warning a tweak was coming in the approach of officials.
He added defending teams would need more control to avoid set restarts.
V’landys then denied he was trying to tinker with the rules again but wanted them policed more effectively.
But Gold Coast lock Fa’asuamaleaui joined the likes of Phil Gould, Billy Slater and Ricky Stuart in pushing against any changes to interpretations or increase in set-restart calls.
“No, no way. (The speed) is good the way it is,” Fa’asuamaleaui said on Tuesday.
“It’s a tough game and it’s still fast. Fans are still enjoying it, I don’t think there needs to be a crackdown. It’s still fast.
“It feels the same as last year. Quick-as in our games so far.
“I guess people are just saying that just because of the new penalty inside that 40 but apart from that the game’s still so fast.”
According to data released by the NRL on Monday, ball-in-play time had not dropped from last year despite the addition of penalties for offside and ruck infringements when a team is coming out of their own end.
Margins are also well down to 12.7 points, while 41 per cent of games have been decided by one try or less compared to 23 per cent last year.
Holmes also stated he believed the game’s speed had not changed.
“It’s definitely the same,” the Cowboys centre said.
“Nothing really has changed too much besides penalty coming out of your own end, but now everything seems pretty good.”
The pair’s comments come after Gould claimed any penalty or sin-bin blitz was a “load of rubbish” , with Melbourne, Parramatta, Penrith and Sydney Roosters all scoring big points over the weekend.
But there is little doubt some clubs would like to see the changes, with Manly in particular not finding the same freedom for Dally M Medallist Tom Trbojevic in 2022.
“I do feel like it’s been pushed in favour of defensive systems of teams,” Sea Eagles hooker Lachlan Croker said.
“I wouldn’t mind (the blitz).
“We found a lot of joy in our transition periods of the game last year and the way the rules are now has taken that bit of transition out of the game.”