Castleford Tigers captain Michael Shenton says rule changes are hurting rugby league

Veteran Castleford Tigers captain Michael Shenton has praised Betfred Super League players for their “incredible” efforts over recent weeks - but feels some rule changes are “hurting the game”.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 6:00 am
Michael Shenton at Wembley during Tigers' captain's run ahead of this year's Challenge Cup final. Picture by Allan McKenzie/

Shenton, 35, yesterday (Tuesday) confirmed he will hang up his boots at the end of the current season.

Capped 12 times by England, the centre has been a first team player since 2004 and hopes to remain in the sport. Looking at the current state of the game, Shenton said: “Getting our crowds back in has been a difficult task, but some of the games on the field, the players have really stepped up.

“What the lads across the league have been asked to put their bodies through in the last two months has been incredible, but look at the Magic Weekend and as a spectacle, I thought it was outstanding.

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Michael Shenton. Picture by Alex Whitehead/

“The games were entertaining and some of the skills were class. People have really stood up.”

But Shenton admitted he is concerned about some innovations introduced since last year’s Covid shutdown.

“I think some of the rule changes are hurting the game,” he said. “I think the whole rugby game looks very similar at the moment, with fewer penalties and no scrums.

“There’s bits like that that need to come back to make the game the exciting spectacle it was, for me.”

Shenton stressed: “I don’t know why we keep thinking it has to be super fast.

“Some of the technical and tactical elements of the game were exciting for me as a player, I enjoyed that - we get a penalty, we can build a set and entertain the crowd with some set moves we’ve worked on in training and break teams down in a tactical sense.

“There’s sports all over the world that work like that.

“We still are powerful and athletic, but I think they are taking some of that out of the game with some of the rule changes they’ve made.

“It looks messy at times, one-on-one steals and things like that.

“There are areas there I think we can tidy up on the field and obviously we need people to keep driving the off-field stuff and keep pushing our sport the best they can.”

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