Running down the clock and the game
THE NRL has warned clubs it will consider implementing fines or introducing a shot clock as frustration grows over the time players are taking to leave the field after they are sin-binned.
The NRL’s head of football, Brian Canavan, fired off a letter to club bosses, coaches and football managers last week lamenting the amount of “dead time” in matches, which has increased by five minutes and 30 seconds per game.
The Sunday Telegraph has obtained a copy of the letter, which was a result of recent findings by the competition committee.
Canavan wrote that the amount of dead time was twofold — the time taken for players leaving the field when sinbinned and the time taken for conversion attempts.
He wrote that heading into round 11, 35 players — 21 more than this time last year — had been sin-binned.
“The average time sinbinned players are taking to leave the field of play is 32 seconds, with the longest time being 57 seconds,” Canavan wrote.
“Albeit that there is no mandated time for players to leave the field after being sinbinned, the committee agreed that the 32-second average is too long and is negatively impacting the delivery of a freeflowing product.
“At this stage, the committee is not minded to recommend that a time be mandated for players to leave the field but strongly urges clubs to encourage their players to leave the field more quickly after being sin-binned and take the most direct route to the tunnel area.”
Canavan said the committee would monitor the trend and if things did not improve, a maximum time might be imposed and further penalties applied against clubs whose players took too long.
An average of 11 minutes and 20 seconds per game has been spent on conversions this year. Clubs have been told they must adhere to the one minute and 40 seconds allocated.