NRL rule ‘hurts’ game: Hunt

St George Illawarra captain Ben Hunt believes the NRL has “hurt” themselves with the new play-the-ball restart rule, declaring it has impacted the speed of the game.

League officials have made several changes for the 2021 season, including a play-the-ball restart if the ball or player with the ball goes over the sideline.

The new rule has been on display in the pre-season trials, including last Saturday’s All-Stars clash in Townsville.

St George Illawarra captain Ben Hunt has question marks over the game’s new play-the-ball restart rule. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Hunt likes the six-again to be called for 10-metre infringements, but isn’t so sure about the play-the-ball restart.

“Personally, I think the NRL have hurt themselves a bit with the play the ball,” Hunt said.

“I think it slows the game down a bit more and doesn’t really give you those freedoms off the scrum to put on some plays.

“That is probably one that is going to take some tinkering.

“But the six to go for off-side has sped the game up a bit, so there will be a few more tired boys in the middle.”

St George Illawarra is yet to win a trial heading into Saturday’s traditional Charity Shield against South Sydney in Mudgee.

The Dragons have lost to Cronulla and Parramatta, but they’ve unearthed a rising talent in playmaker Jayden Sullivan.

Playmaker Jayden Sullivan has a big future, according to captain Ben Hunt. Picture: Brett Hemmings/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Sullivan, 19, has been a standout, according to Hunt.

“Young Sullivan was one of our best in both trials, so I think there is a big future here for him,” he said.

“I thought there were a couple of shining lights in our young fellas that played.”

Hunt is expected to play his first game this season against the Rabbitohs in Mudgee – and he can’t wait.

“I’m pretty excited about the Charity Shield,” he said.

“It is always good to get out there to Mudgee. I always like getting out to the country towns, playing some footy and seeing the fans out there.

“It is always fun.”

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