Sydney Roosters restart play after their trainer gets hit by the ball in the 2019 NRL Grand Final

A Sydney Roosters trainer played an important part in the early minutes of the 2019 NRL Grand Final.

Straight after a charge down the trainer was struck by the ball. Commentators highlighted that he may have stopped the Canberra Raiders from scoring the opening points in the grand final.

What does the rugby league law book say about a rugby league trainer being hit by the ball?

Page 43 of the rugby league law book. Section 16. ‘Duties of Referee and Touch Judges.’ Notes 8.1(e) and (f).

“Where play is irregularly affected in the field of play, the referee shall re-start play with a scrum with the attacking team (i.e. with territorial advantage) to receive the loose head and feed. The Referee is the sole judge of what constitutes a mutual infringement, and whether or not play has been irregularly affected. Contact between a defender and Referee may not constitute a mutual infringement.”

The Sydney Roosters trainer leaves the field after being hit by the ball in the NRL grand final.

NRL referees are like police officers in that they can only operate inside the laws that have been formulated by the game.

Referees Ben Cummins & Gerry Sutton have tonight ruled that a ‘mutual infringement’ occurred when a Roosters trainer was hit by the ball after a kick by Sydney Roosters’ Luke Keary was charged down by Canberra Raiders prop Sia Soliola.

At the time, Canberra’s Elliott Whitehead was in a clear position to pick up the ball, and run to the try line.

The rugby league law book states that the attacking team restarts play by receiving the loose head & feed at the scrum. The attacking team is regarded as the team with territorial advantage. And, in the incident in the NRL Grand Final, that was the Roosters….only by about four metres though.

Imagine how disciplined NRL trainers would become if the game allowed referees to penalise them for interference.

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