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NRL fans get 10 more hours of play in 2016

NZN 30/08/2016 Matt Encarnacion

Fewer referrals, slashed decision times and a saving of more than 10 hours of live play.

These are the major positives put in front of the NRL competition committee on Tuesday following the raft of rule changes made to the game in 2016.

Among them was video referral decisions taking an average of 12 seconds less time compared to last year, as a result of the introduction of the $2 million bunker this season.

Surprisingly, only 41 per cent of try attempts have been sent to the bunker this season, after 44 per cent were referred in 2015.

However, stats did show a five per cent rise in live decisions overturned by the men in Eveleigh compared to video officials who were at the ground last year.

Whether most of them were correct calls is up for debate.

But in a big coup for the game, fans have been treated to more live play, with more than 10 hours saved as a result of the scrum clock and drop-out clock in 2016.

Competition committee member Trent Robinson admitted just last week that the maligned bunker would be set for a review at the end of the season following a coach's meeting in May.

But NRL Head of Football Brian Canavan said it was critical the committee be shown the early results before discussing more changes over the summer.

"This is an incredibly important group and today's meeting was a great opportunity to put some early results from some of the major changes in the game to them," he said.

"The group will now go back and digest a lot of the information so they can look at the way some of those key changes are shaping the game."

Robinson and South Sydney counterpart Michael Maguire are the two coaches elected into the committee, which includes Rugby League Players Association representative Clint Newton, and NRL boss Todd Greenberg.

Australian Rugby League Commission chairman John Grant and commissioner Wayne Pearce are also in the group.

The state-of-the-game update also showed 34 per cent of games this year have been decided by six points or fewer, a record 15 games have been decided by golden point, and there has been an increase in tries.

Television audiences are also up 16 per cent compared to last season.

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