Tackle Count: Is it the right time to tinker with the NRL's rules?

FOCUSED: Referee Grant Atkins will officiate Thursday night's game where the NRL will trial rule changes. Picture: Gregg Porteous/NRL Imagery
FOCUSED: Referee Grant Atkins will officiate Thursday night's game where the NRL will trial rule changes. Picture: Gregg Porteous/NRL Imagery

How will the game look before finals?

While Thursday night's clash between the Broncos and Cowboys will be a dead rubber, there will be plenty of fan interest in the game.

Several experimental rules will be trialed in the NRL's last regular season round in games that won't impact the finals, starting tonight at Suncorp Stadium.

These rule changes include backs being banned from packing into scrums and the NRL Bunker reviewing tries while the goalkicker prepares for a conversion attempt.

So is it the right time to trial new rules? That's up for debate. Tackle Count would argue that the perfect time to trial anything in sport is in a pre-season.

Broncos interim coach Peter Gentle certainly doesn't agree with the NRL's timing.

"They might not see this game as important. We see it as vitally important. From behind our walls here, this is a vitally important game for plenty of reasons," Gentle said.

"It is what it is, we've had to deal with a lot of not ideal situations this year and this is another one."

It has also been a massive week for the women's game, with NRLW squads for the upcoming season being finalised.

While 2020 has been a long year for St George Illawarra, there are plenty of reasons for Red V fans to get excited about their NRLW prospects.

The Dragons will have plenty of attacking firepower, after securing the services of Isabelle Kelly, who will be part of a formidable centre pairing with fellow Test and Origin star Jess Sergis.

It's a move that excites captain Sam Bremner, who will make an NRLW return of her own this season.

"I always try and think how I would feel if I was playing against the team I was in and I definitely wouldn't enjoy having nowhere to run from those two," Bremner said.

"Having Jess and Izzy, they obviously know how score a try but they take on so much more than that. They're both obviously great at what they do but their workload is phenomenal."

Isabelle Kelly and Jess Sergis will form a dynamic centre pairing for the Dragons this NRLW season. Picture: NRL Imagery

Isabelle Kelly and Jess Sergis will form a dynamic centre pairing for the Dragons this NRLW season. Picture: NRL Imagery

Moving back to the NRL, there will be plenty of points of interest in the last round. Can the Rabbitohs find some form ahead of the finals? Will the Titans upset the Knights? And is this the last time we see Benji Marshall on an NRL field?

The round kicks off tonight with the Broncos looking to avoid getting the wooden spoon in Darius Boyd's farewell. Buckle up for around interesting start to the round.

* This edition of Tackle Count was written by Joshua Bartlett.

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This story Is it the right time to tinker with the NRL's rules? first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.