NRL crackdown sidelines Alfie’s runners
BRONCOS legend Allan Langer and his horde of blue-shirted NRL trainers have been muzzled.
Blindside can reveal the NRL will launch a crackdown this season on trainers, with clubs to face fines of up to $10,000 if they don't follow new rules for the 2020 premiership.
In recent years, fans have become sick of the sight of NRL trainers in blue and orange shirts constantly racing on to the field of play. The issue reached a flashpoint in last year's NRL grand final when a charge-down from the boot of Luke Keary hit a Sydney Roosters trainer who was loitering behind his side's attacking line.
Langer is among 16 blue-shirted NRL trainers, and the Origin legend is a familiar face to viewers when he runs on to aid players and administer tactical advice.
But the NRL has had enough. This season, Langer and his colleagues will be restricted to three "tactical opportunities" per half to enter the field of play. The blue-shirted trainers will still be granted access at stoppages of play if a player is injured, for example, but the days of unlimited stints on the field are over.
NRL head of football Graham Annesley confirmed the beefed-up law and said heavy fines would be in place for breaches.
"The days of the blue trainers constantly on the field relaying messages will be significantly curtailed," he said.
"The fans hate it. In our fan survey, the trainer issue received the highest percentage of agreement among NRL fans.
"Of more than 20,000 survey responses, 90 per cent of fans wanted to see less of the trainers on the field so we have to take heed of that response and listen to the people.
"In recent seasons we've seen trainers spending more and more time on the field running messages. No sooner had the game kicked off than a trainer was on the field in players' ears.
"We understand that coaches want to get messages out there whenever they feel the need, but we have to find a better balance.
"We intend to strictly enforce the new rules. If there is a breach, there will be fines in place with penalties increasing for repeat offenders."