IRL to change interchange rules
THE RAMPAGING runs of Swifts’ 140kg prop Stanley “big Stan” Fau may not be seen so often this year, with the Ipswich Rugby League to reduce interchanges in their A grade and under-18 divisions.
The move follows on the heels of the Ipswich Junior Rugby League who will join Brisbane and the Gold Coast in trialling a six interchange per match competition this season for under-13 through to under-16 division one grades.
But the A grade IRL competition will only be reduced from 12 interchanges to 10.
The under-18 interchanges will be reduced from unlimited to either 10 or eight.
That decision will depend upon the QRL, who will next week decide what number to reduce interchanges in the Mal Meninga Cup and Cyril Connell Cup competitions.
The impact in the IRL grades will not be as severe as the juniors.
But it could stop the likes of Fau in their tracks.
Fau turned the match for Swifts in last year’s grand final, but a prop who can only last 20 minutes on the field may not be useful with two less interchanges.
IRL operations manager Brendan Rose said the decision was made after the clubs called for it.
“Some clubs do not even use all 12 interchanges during the match,” Rose said.
“It will mean the footy will be a bit more open towards the back end of each half and the halfbacks may have a greater say once the big guys get tired.
“You won’t be able to have a team full of really big guys anymore but in the case of Fau – Swifts always had a lot of 80-minute players there to support him.
“You will still be able to carry one really big guy but maybe not two or three as some teams have in the past.”
There has been rumours that the under-18 Mal Meninga Cup and under-16 Cyril Connell Cup will be reduced to six interchanges to mirror the juniors.
Rose said he hoped that was not the case.