Wakefield Wildcats: Agar has mixed views on new RFL advantage rule

editorial image

WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats head coach Richard Agar says he has mixed views on the new advantage rule brought in by the Rugby Football League (RFL) for the new season.

The rule will come into play when teams gain possession from a forward pass or knock on and they will only be deemed to have taken advantage if they keep the ball until the next tackle is complete.

If possession is lost before the tackle the referee will take play back to the point of the original infringement and award a scrum against the team that infringed first- essentially giving the team a ‘free play’.

Wildcats have experienced the rule in both of their trial games so far. Danny Cowling used it to Wakefield’s advantage in the Boxing Day match at Leeds Rhinos, kicking through for Richie Mathers to score a try.

Agar admitted he saw the “messy” side of the rule in Sunday’s game against Featherstone Rovers, however, and is eager to see how it works over the course of the campaign.

“When we played on Boxing Day I said Danny Cowling was a great example of how it was going to work, but I did say it could get a bit messy and I think we saw the messy side of it [on Sunday],” said the ’Cats boss.

“Speaking to the referee [Robert Hicks] after he had some doubts about it. In principle it’s a great idea that should open up some entertaining rugby and some trick shots and things like that.

“But what you can find is the play ends up 70 metres down the field in a very non-threatening way which means everybody gets back. It could actually be utilised in a more cynical way for teams that are in front that need a bit of a rest, they’ll just hoof the ball 70 metres downfield, not bother chasing and the other team’s got to run after it which burns energy.

“In principle I like it but I think we need to monitor it and see how it goes because it could get messy and could get perhaps used for the wrong reasons.”

Agar was well aware of the “moaning and groaning” in the Rapid Solicitors Stadium stands when the rule was used on Sunday but believed it was down to a lack of knowledge that the rule had been introduced.

And he believes the RFL could have got the thoughts of the supporters before putting the rule into play.

“I think we saw a bit of moaning and groaning from the crowd today and you can see why,” he said.

“We think perhaps it should have been explained a little bit more to them, They could have had a part in deciding, they’re stakeholders in the game and this is what I was saying on Boxing Day. Let us all know, let us have a good look at them and see how they go and let everybody decide.

“They’ve come in fairly late and people aren’t quite sure what’s happening. I think there’s some real positives for it but I think there are some potential minor pitfalls with it as well.

See this week’s Wakefield Express for all the latest Wakefield Trinity Wildcats news.