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Keen to capitalise on cricket’s newest format The Hundred, the NRL will launch a fresh pre-season competition from 2022.
Called The FortyFour, the modified version of rugby league features many exciting changes, including:
- 40 minute games: four 10-minute quarters and a five-minute break in-between quarters
- four tackles per set
- Two-minute Powerplay: each team has one two-minute period with unlimited possession, only interrupted if they throw a forward pass or knock on
- No set restarts. Any infringements will see play restart with a penalty kick for touch
- No scrums, with tap restarts after an error
- No conversions. A drop goal will taken by the designated kicker within 60 seconds of the try being scored
- Unlimited interchange
- A five-point try if a team scores it from inside their half.
The FortyFour begins with a 20-team competition in February 2022.
Four extra clubs – the Brisbane Bombers, West Coast Pirates, NSW Country, and QLD Country – will join the 16 NRL clubs.
The 20 teams will be allocated into four pools of five teams. Each team will play four pool games, with the top two from each pool moving onto the knockout quarter finals.
“Finals Day” will be played at Lang Park, with the four quarter finals, two semi finals, and the grand final.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo is looking forward to the new competition.
“The Nines haven’t really worked, so we decided to innovate. While it’s still a shorter form, it’s long enough for teams to take it seriously. With each game taking about an hour, we can hold day-long events and build an inclusive, festive vibe, similar to Magic Round. Our goal is to include The FortyFour in the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.”
Buzz Rothfield began to rail against the new format, calling it a blight on over a century of rugby league tradition, but everyone remembered that he’s a dinosaur and refused to listen to him.
The Forward Pass is a fictional and deliberately ridiculous look at the NRL. References to real people is for satirical purposes only. Check it out on Twitter @thefwdpass