Billy Slater on the wrestle, Peter V’landys, speed of game, rules

Rugby league great Billy Slater says the current NRL product is good and shouldn’t be altered amid suggestions the wrestle is slowing down the speed of the game.

Slater’s comments come after Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys confirmed the league was concerned the wrestle was holding back the competition’s most exciting players.

“We are noticing that the wrestle is working its way back into the game,” V’landys told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“The Commission has previously given an edict to eradicate the wrestle and make sure players aren’t slowing down the ruck, but it’s sneaking back in.”

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In another report by the Herald, one NRL coach prepared a document of statistics outlining how the game had slowed down since last season, which included data such as runs made. During the opening three rounds of 2021, 319 more runs were made than in the first three rounds of 2022.

“The wrestle has always been in the game. I don’t know what game we’ve been watching if we think teams aren’t supposed to slow the ruck down,” Slater said on 2GB’s Wide World of Sports radio.

“That’s their job. Defensive teams want to play slow, attacking teams want to play fast. That’s been happening ever since I’ve watched rugby league.

“If you’re going to do it, then do it. Don’t worry about saying it. Just police it.

“I think it’s been good. I don’t even know what we’re talking about.

“We’re looking at data and stats. The product is good, just leave it.”

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Slater also highlighted that referees had more infringements to look out for this season following a tweak of the rules during the off-season.

“One that has been policed ‚Äč‚Äčthis year is leaving early, the 10m, and leaving early. We’ve seen a whole heap of penalties around that,” Slater said.

“When you’re concentrating on that, you’re taking the focus away from the play-the-ball.

“It’s really hard for one referee to see both.

“I haven’t seen a huge issue with it.

“I think it’s been fast. We’ve seen plenty of points and plenty of linebreaks.”

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