Smarter Sin-Binning in the NRL

As the Rugby League officials meet today in Sydney to discuss all things League – the group will not only be covering grapple tackle discussion in the NRL forum, but also toying with the idea of bringing back the 5 minute sin bin to our game.

It certainly seems like a smart move, after being scrapped in the 1990’s – the option of the 5 minute sin-bin meant that for a minor offence such as backchat or repeated infringements – referees can send players to cool their heels for 5 minutes instead of 10 minutes. The problem with 10 minute spells is that in many cases it can blow games wide open and ruin any close battle or spectacle that might have been unfolding.

The other modification around the 10 minute sin-bin rule to be discussed today; is the possible adoption of an ‘early return’ by the player in the bin – if the opposing team scores while he is spending time in the bin. Something that happens in NHL hockey and seems to work successfully.

Its a good thing that the sin-binning variations are being discussed, because its an area many of the smarter players take advantage of. Knowing referees are reluctant to send players for 10 miunte spells in the bin unless it’s a serious offence, smarter operators will push the envelope by delaying play during defending periods or repeatedly infringe and play Russian roulette with the referee.

Discussion around a 5 minute sin-bin is a good step to bringing this old favourite back and its something that can help the game stamp out foul play, professional fouls and backchat – without ruining the game or making things hard for the referee.

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