TEAMS in the Tooheys Cup rugby league premiership can expect a more level playing field next season with the likely axing of the unlimited interchange rule.
The present unlimited interchange rule - which appears to favour clubs with better playing rosters - looks certain to revert to a limited interchange system next season, following a decision at a recent Newcastle Rugby League clubs' meeting.
Most clubs favoured a board of directors' recommendation that the rule be changed to limited interchange, with 12 changes per game suggested.
Macquarie Scorpions president Steve Woodbridge attended the meeting and said club delegates had been given a week to think about the likely change and determine if it was viable.
"What is happening is that some clubs run on two front rowers with another three big men on the bench and rotate them every three to five minutes," Woodbridge said.
"These props are being constantly rotated and do not get as fatigued and maintain strong defences so that the opposition halves and fullback don't get much room to attack."
Scorpions coach Noel Dent said the clubs with the stronger rosters also had the advantage of a greater depth of quality players.
"The stronger clubs may have eight quality interchange replacements whereas the lesser clubs may have only four such players who have to remain on the field longer than their opposition replacements," he said.
Wyong Rugby League Club's football administrator Peter Bryant said the club's first grade coach Paul Stringer - who was recently re-appointed to guide the Roos for the 2013 season - had said if the rule was changed he would coach the team accordingly.
Woodbridge said that if the change was adopted, clubs would need to recruit fitter, more mobile players, and coaches would have to devise replacement tactics.
"It will put the onus on coaches to make sure they get it right with their replacements."
Meanwhile, this Sunday, the Scorpions will support the Anti Domestic Violence Round of the competition in their fixtures against Cessnock at Toronto.
"The Scorpions are leading the support for this particular round and proceeds will go to the Westlakes Women's Refuge," Woodbridge said.