NRL News

Seibold wants more ball in play in NRL

NRL News.jpg

Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold has welcomed attempts to make rugby league a less stop-start game.

NRL head of football Graeme Annesley has urged referees to use more discretion with penalties in a bid to create greater flow in matches.

Seibold said he'd been training his team to prepare for longer periods of unbroken play, or "arm wrestles", in the 2019 season.

He said the push by the NRL to try to reduce the amount of dead time during a match is a good one.

"Last year I think the average ball in play per game was only around about 53 minutes, that has been a drop of three or four minutes over the last couple of seasons," Seibold said.

"Super Rugby is about 35 minutes or something like that. One of the reasons people enjoy watching rugby league on TV or at the ground is the ball is in play for a lot longer.

"We don't want to keep decreasing that ball in play. If the referees can be subjective there at different times and let the game flow, that'd be ideal."

Annesley's call is manna from heaven for those teams who prefer ad-lib football to a structured game plan.

It also runs in stark contrast to last year's refereeing crackdown on areas such as the play the ball, which led to high penalty counts and stop-start gameplay particularly early in the season.

While a free-flowing game plan doesn't suit all teams, Seibold believes NRL coaches have a responsibility to ensure the game is as open as possible.

"Ultimately we want to have positive performances and good performances but I love to see the ball in play and we've trained here for the ball in play to be extended out this year," he said.

© AAP 2019