Super League spurred on by success of shot clock

Rugby league shot clock.Rugby league shot clock.
Rugby league shot clock.
Super League officials are promising faster and more intense matches in 2020 after deciding to amend the shot clock.

Organisers are knocking five seconds off the time allowed for scrums and drop-outs next season after being encouraged by the success of the changes introduced at the start of 2019.

Super League says matches lasted on average five minutes less following the introduction of the shot clock and it expects that to drop further after announcing that from now teams will have just 30 seconds to form a scrum and 25 seconds to drop out from their posts.

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Statistics showed the average game time in 2019 fell by more than five per cent from 95 minutes and 59 seconds to 90 minutes and 47 seconds because of the shot clock, which was also responsible for more passes, tackles, off-loads, line breaks and tries.

It was among the innovations brought in by new chief executive Robert Elstone which also included a reduction in the number of interchanges from 10 to eight and the introduction of golden point extra-time.

Elstone said: “Three things give us the confidence to make changes and speed things up even more.

“Firstly, in 2019, the facts tell us the introduction of the shot clock was the right thing to do.

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“It has made a significant, positive impact on the game, adding to intensity and providing our players with an even better platform to showcase their outstanding athleticism and skill. Secondly, fans tell us repeatedly that pace of play sets our sport apart and is a major factor in their enjoyment of the game.

“Finally, backed up by evidence from the NRL, and after watching our players watch the shot clock in action in 2019, it confirmed to us there was the scope to shorten times further.

“We’re confident these changes will build on the progress made in 2019.

“The action will get even quicker, the drama more intense and the unrelenting excitement of Super League will reach even greater heights.”

The new shot clock restrictions will also operate in the Betfred Championship and the Coral Challenge Cup, while referees will continue to manage time-keeping in League 1.