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Decision By


The N.S.W. Referees' Associa- tion last night decided not to permit bridging while the ball is being played in Rugby League


The association, after a heated debate for one hour and a half, ruled that only two players can be involved in the playing of the ball.


The referees were dis-

cussing a recent ruling of the International Rugby League Board which had been referred to them by the N.S.W. Rugby League     for interpretation.

[Bridging is the linking or binding together of players in

a line in scrum-like formation while the ball is being played.]  

The new play-the-ball rule will come into operation in next Saturday's round of trial


Top Rugby League officials expected that there would be wide differences in interpreta- tion of the International Board's ruling, which elimi- nated the two and five-yard rulings from last year's method of playing the ball.

As a result the Referees' Association was asked to give its interpretation.

The meeting heard five amendments before adopting an interpretation given by in-

ternational referee George Bishop.  

Bishop had drawn up the resolution at a meeting of the Referees' Examination Board, which also comprises A. Ox- ford, C. Pearce, D. Lawler, and J. O'Brien.

This was: "The tackled   player's side must be behind the man playing the ball. The players opposite shall be be- hind the man marking the tackled player. The ball must come clear of the two players in the play-the-ball before the other players can come into the play."

Little Change

Bishop later said this did not change last year's game to any great extent.

"All it does is wipe out the two and five yard rules," he said.

"As long as a player is be- hind the man playing the ball and does not obstruct an opposing player, then he is playing to the rules."

Bishop said that the dummy half could put his hand on the man playing the ball, pro- viding he was not obstructing.

Bishop said during the meeting that there had been no mention of bridging in the new international rule.

However, he said that bridg- ing was really an obstruction and any players who obstruc- ted could be penalised.

Only one delegate, Mr. B. Collins, asked the meeting to approve of bridging.

Mr. Collins said that bridg- ing should be allowed, but any obstructing players should be penalised.

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