Coronavirus: Roosters' Crichton insists business as usual despite NRL rule change, but feels for cut referees

Omnisport

Sydney Roosters' Angus Crichton does not feel the NRL's new "six again" rule will change the way his side play, while the second-row forward expressed sympathy with officials after the Australian Rugby League's (ARL) move to a one-referee format.

The ARL announced significant changes to the sport in Australia on Wednesday, with chairman Peter V'landys confirming Project Apollo's implementation to save money and cut stoppages in matches.

There will no longer be two referees on the pitch, returning to a solitary decision-maker system, with two touch judges.

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And the "six again" rule will allow attacking teams another full set instead of halting play for a penalty, a move that is hoped will improve the flow of contests.

NRL is set to resume on May 28, a little more than two months after it was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, and although Crichton sympathised with the referees who will be impacted, he believes sacrifices were necessary to get the sport moving again.

"For me, personally, anything we can do to get the sport up and running again is good for us as players," he told a news conference on Thursday.

"I feel for everyone affected through losing jobs or not being able to go into work at the moment, and I feel for referees out of a job, but us as a game we need to pull together to get it back on the road."

With regards to the "six again" rule, he said: "To be honest, if you're on your line and tired, you're just going play your regular footy.

"A rule change like this, there's a lot of speculation a lot of media talk and a lot for players to think about, but if you're defending your line, you're just going to be doing what we have since 1908, trying to stop people scoring tries and protecting the line, that's what it'll come down to for us.

"You never want to concede points. As a defensive side we want to hold teams to zero, we never want to concede points.

"Even for a penalty goal, that's two points we don't want to concede, so for us it doesn't change anything. We'll be doing what we've been doing for years."

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