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The impact of rule and playing season changes on time variables in professional in rugby league in the United Kingdom

Eaves, Simon J. and Lamb, Kevin L. and Hughes, Mike D. (2008) The impact of rule and playing season changes on time variables in professional in rugby league in the United Kingdom. International journal of performance analysis in sport, 8 (2). pp. 44-54. ISSN 1474-8185

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Abstract

In Rugby League football several rule changes have been implemented over the past two decades, yet the impact of these rule changes on the playing patterns of the game have yet to be objectively assessed. The aim of this study was to establish whether these rule changes significantly influenced selected time variables in professional rugby league football in the United Kingdom (UK). A specifically designed hand notation system was used to assess the time variables in 48 full game performances over four time Periods (1988-92; 1993-95; 1997-98; 2000-02). Data were analysed using One-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) with Tukey HSD as the post-hoc test. Significant Period main effects were identified for mean ruck time (F3, 22 = 19.62, P < 0.0005) total ruck time (F3, 22 = 7.60, P < 0.002) and continuous possession time (F3, 22 = 7.39, P < 0.002). It was concluded that the introduction of the 10-m offside rule (1993) appears to have resulted in a significant change at the ruck; increasing the speed of the 'play the ball and the rule changes associated with the introduction of the summer playing season (1996) resulted in a further increase in ruck speed.

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