Newcastle coach says he’s happy with the implementation of the new NRL rule changes and expects them to improve the quality of games.
Wayne Bennett has given the thumbs up to the new NRL rule changes and believes they’ll improve the quality of games as the season progresses.
Bennett’s Newcastle side were comfortably beaten 30-8 on Saturday by Penrith after losing Darius Boyd (hamstring) in addition to hooker Kurt Gidley and halfback Tyrone Roberts to concussion during the game.
Gidley and Roberts weren’t able to return to action due to the recently-implemented concussion ruling where players are given 15 minutes to pass a Scat3 cognitive test by a club doctor.
Should players return within that timeframe the team is awarded a free interchange and although he lost two of his key players under the guidelines, Bennett is a fan of the the new procedures.
“I am really happy with the new rules,” Bennett said.
“I don’t think the new concussion rulings really came into play because in any game I have ever coached in those guys would have had to come off today.”
The seven-time premiership-winning coach has been one of the biggest opponents of the third-man-in tackle and was particularly vocal about it last season when Alex McKinnon spent a stint in the sidelines following a cannonball tackle by South Sydney’s Nathan Peats.
This season has seen any challenge below the knee when a player is being held up by two defenders penalised and Bennett is happy the threat of serious injury has been eradicated.
“The game is better because of it and there was some great football played in the second half of our game,” he said.
“The scoreline didn’t reflect it, but there were guys in motion up and down the field from both teams and it’s only round one of the season.
“There’s no guarantees that they’ll be closer games, but the quality of the football will be good for the fans and that is what we want to see – quality defence and good attack.”
Boyd will undergo scans on his hamstring on Monday, but Bennett expects the Queensland start to miss at least next week’s clash with Canberra at Hunter Stadium.