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National Rugby League OKs 2-point field goals over 40 meters

December 11, 2020 GMT

SYDNEY (AP) — The National Rugby League is set to reward field goals of more than 40 meters (about 44 yards) with two points instead of one.

It’s an effort to increase the chance of a result changing in the final stages of the game.

Australian Rugby League commission chairman Peter V’landys on Friday said the rule change would take effect for the 2021 season and would lead to faster games.

“These innovations will lead to less stoppages, more unpredictability and increased excitement for our fans,″ he said. “The message from the fans and our broadcasters has been clear: the game became too predictable and the balance between attack and defense had gone too far in favor of defense.”

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The NRL currently plays a “golden-point” overtime in games which are tied after the regulation 80 minutes. There are two five-minute halves of golden point, where any score will be the match-deciding one, be it a field goal, try, or penalty goal. The match immediately ends at that stage.

If the two teams play out scoreless golden-point periods, the match is drawn and both teams earn one competition point.

Under NRL rules, a try is worth 4 points, a penalty goal or conversion of a try is worth 2 points and a field goal of less than 40 meters is 1 point.

Last year, the NRL made a host of changes, including a “six again” rule to award six more tackles for 10-meter and ruck infringements by the defending team, tweaks to the scrum, a captain’s challenge, play-the-ball and trainer protocols designed to speed up the game.

V’landys hopes the field goal tweak encourages teams to attack until the final siren in each half and came after a survey of NRL account holder and club members.

“Our changes last year were successful in addressing some of those challenges and the changes announced today will take the element of unpredictability and entertainment a step further,” he said.

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