Shot Clock Must Be Tightened

Shot Clock Must Be Tightened
Wayne Bennet and Cameron Smith © NRLPhotos – NRL Indigenous All Stars V NRL World All Stars @ Suncorp Stadium, Saturday, 13 February 2016

Shot Clock Must Be Tightened

Shot Clock Must Be Tightened

Shot Clock Must Be Tightened

Shot Clock Must Be Tightened

Shot Clock Must Be Tightened

World All Stars and Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has raised concerns about the newly-introduced shot clock rule. 

The rule, trialled at Saturday's Harvey Norman All Stars fixture, gives teams a 35 second shot clock for scrums and a 30 second shot clock for dropouts.  

Although the rule was introduced to reduce time wasting, it appears it may have had the opposite effect.

There were a number of times during the World All Stars 12-8 win over the Indigenous All Stars that scrums weren't packed and balls weren't kicked because the shot clock had not reached zero. 

Players instead used the remaining time on the clock as a time waster – half a minute of rest – some even using the time to chat and have a laugh with the opposition. 

Bennett believes the rule may need some tweaking if it's to improve the speed of the game. 

"Players shouldn't be allowed to exploit it," Bennett said.

"Once the scrum is ready to be packed that's what should happen. It's not about the time that's left, that's not the point of the rule. The rule is to get the scrum packed and get on with the game. 

"The referees may have to change their interpretation of it. It's not mandatory that you have to have 35 seconds. Teams won't be able to take advantage if we police the rule properly. 35 seconds is the limit – no one says you have to wait the whole 35 seconds before you can pack the scrum – it's ridiculous. 

"I was sitting there watching them thinking this isn't what we want. They were all sitting around waiting for the time clock to come down - that's not what the idea of the rule was."

It may be harsh to criticise at this early stage but the signs are players will do their best to exploit the new rule.

Time wasting will become a tactic for coaches and players alike so it's now up to the referees to take control of the game. 

The average time to pack a scrum in the 2015 season was 50 seconds. 

Although 35 seconds is a vast improvement, perhaps an even shorter time span is possible.

All Stars captain Cameron Smith admitted to exploiting the shot clock. 

"I'll be honest with you, I think it gives us players a chance to have a rest," said Smith. 

"There were a few times there early on where we were at the scrum with about 25 seconds left on the clock. I used my brains a bit and told the boys to wait another 20 seconds. 

"It might change a little bit when we don't have the unlimited interchange like we did tonight and there's a few more tired bodies running around but that's just the way it panned out tonight."

 

This article first appeared on NRL.com.

 

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