The NRL will introduce a mandatory 11-day stand-down for any player who is concussed, which will ensure they miss at least one game.
- The AFL and World Rugby have similar rules around concussion
- Some players and coaches have spoken out in support of the new guidelines
- It comes after Newcastle star Kalyn Ponga suffered his fourth concussion in 10 months
Its move is similar to that of the AFL, which has a mandatory 12-day stand-down for concussed players.
NRL clubs would be able to apply for exemptions for players to come back early in exceptional circumstances.
At the weekend, the matter came to a head when Newcastle player Kalyn Ponga was concussed for the fourth time in the past 10 months.
On Tuesday, former AFL players launched a class action against the league for damages they suffered through concussion during their playing careers.
The matter was decided by the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) on Tuesday night.
“There is no greater priority for us than player safety. It’s front and centre of everything we do,” ARLC chairman Peter V’landys said.
The move also brings the NRL in line with World Rugby’s 11-day stand-down policy.
Manly coach Anthony Seibold backed the NRL’s move, having experienced the World Rugby system first-hand during his time as an assistant coach with England.
“I have experienced it before and would have no qualms with it,” Seibold said.
“It’s about protecting the players and protecting their health, both in the short term and long term.”
The rules will come into effect immediately, beginning with the round-three opener between Manly and Parramatta.
The changes come days after the latest concussion suffered by Kalyn Ponga, with Newcastle weighing up how to best deal with his fourth brain injury in 10 months.
Wests Tigers second-rower Shaun Blore also said he supported the rule, after sitting out the club’s loss to Newcastle last week following the first concussion of his career.
“It was weird. I felt pretty funny. I didn’t quite feel 100 per cent,” Blore said.
“They’re pretty nasty things and careers can end pretty early.
“I would be sweet with that move. They are nasty and one of my favourite players, Boyd Cordner, had to end his career early with a head knock.”