A Shot Clock will be introduced for conversions and drop-outs as part of a range of innovations for the 2015 Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines.
To maximise playing time, scoring teams will have up to 25 seconds to complete a conversion after a try. If they fail to meet the time limit the conversion will be deemed unsuccessful.
Similarly, defending teams will have 20 seconds to complete a drop-out. If they take any longer they will be penalised.
NRL General Manager of Football Operations, Nathan McGuirk said the aim was to keep the Nines games flowing, with minimal delays to playing time.
“The Nines is already a fast, exciting game which is full of action,” Mr McGuirk said.
“We think the quick restarts will add even more excitement to this year’s tournament.”
The Shot Clock will be visible to both teams and the match officials, and will be activated immediately following the awarding of a try. When the period of time has elapsed, a siren will sound to indicate the expiration of the period.
The Nines will be played at Auckland’s Eden Park, on January 31 and February 1 next year.
Other changes include:
• Clubs will be able to nominate an increased squad of 18 players and rotate them during qualifying matches to ensure they are eligible for the finals.
• Each team will have five interchange players for each match instead of six. Teams will again be able to make unlimited replacements in each game.
Mr McGuirk said the bigger squads mean clubs will effectively have two teams of nine players.
“That will allow them to keep players fresher for later in the tournament,” he said.
“The six interchange players last year did lead to some congestion through the tournament.
“We believe a five-man interchange will be much cleaner and it will allow teams to have fresher players to roll out across the tournament.”
The highly successful Bonus Zone will be retained for this year’s tournament, enabling clubs to earn five points for a try if the ball is grounded between the goal posts.
“The Nines was a huge success last year but we think these innovations will add even more excitement to the 2015 tournament, ” Mr McGuirk said.
The Rabbitohs will take on the Penrith Panthers, Melbourne Storm and reigning Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines champions, the North Queensland Cowboys in next year’s tournament – played between January 31 and Feburary 1st.