NRL battlers must adapt to rules: V'landys

·3-min read

Peter V'landys and Wayne Bennett have put the onus back on struggling clubs to adapt and get up to speed after the most lopsided NRL round in 20 years.

The weekend's six one-sided affairs left the average margin in games this weekend at 26.75, the highest since round 18, 2001.

The average margin in games this year has now reached 19, compared to 13 in 2019 and 12 in 2018.

Most of the conversation has centred around the NRL's rules, most notably the introduction of set restarts last year to speed up the game.

But as far as South Sydney coach Bennett is concerned the fault largely lies with clubs and their poor management.

"Clubs have to take a hell of a lot more responsibility for the way the game is being played. It's as simple as that," Bennett said.

"If you look at some of the clubs and decisions that have been made and things that have happened to players, I wouldn't want to be in that club.

"The rules may be part of it but you look at some of the transfers of players in the last month even. It's pretty ordinary stuff."

V'landys meanwhile also won't cop the narrative that it means the six-again rule needs to change.

The ARL Commission boss points to the fact the game was described as more entertaining last year, and that the rule tweaks this year have not created significantly more set restarts.

Instead, he argues it has merely taken away the ability of struggling teams to stifle the better opponents, meaning they must find a way to rise to the top.

"I think there are multiple factors, there is not just one (behind the blowouts)," V'landys told AAP.

"I do concede and acknowledge the six-again has caused a shift in momentum because the teams can no longer slow down the ruck or have a stop-start game.

"Clubs were hiring jujitsu coaches to slow down the ruck and do the wrestle, which is not what rugby league is.

"The good teams have certainly adapted to the new rules. They have adapted to them and the coaches have.

"The ones who were relying on slowing down the ruck, they can't rely on that any more. ... like everything, it will take time for the others to adapt."

Almost two-thirds of games this year have been decided by 13 points or more, while Manly this weekend became just the fourth side in history to hit 50 in three straight games.

Their 66-0 win over Canterbury was the biggest win in their history and the Bulldogs' biggest loss since 1935.

Melbourne's 46-0 win over the Sydney Roosters made them the first side to reach 40 points 10 times in a season.

But V'landys is also adamant that the rules have and will make for a better game once teams catch up.

"We have to take into account this week the Roosters had six or seven players out and the Bulldogs had five players out through biosecurity," V'landys said.

"The rugby league is very exciting in the sense the brilliant players that were being held up before are now coming to the fore."

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