Updated January 22, 2019 12:20:50The NRL has announced a number of changes to the 2018 season, with the top four teams earning the right to face the Brisbane Broncos in the semi-finals of the Grand Final.
A total of 30 players will be available for selection in the finals and will face a Brisbane Broncos squad that will have been boosted by the addition of the Dragons’ new players to their list.
New players to the Dragons roster include:Anthony Tupou, Jake Trbojevic, Nathan Peats, Jesse Bromwich, Ben Matulino, Jordan Rapana, Josh Aloiai, Nathan Brown, Josh Mansour, James Maloney, Matt Ballin, David Mead and James Tedesco.
“I think it’s going to be a very exciting tournament for Queensland, and I’m really excited about it,” Blues coach Justin Hodges said.
“It’s a big, big game, so there’s a lot of big things that go on in this game, and hopefully we’ll have a lot more to celebrate than just winning a premiership.”
New rules for 2018 have come into effect, which are expected to have an impact on the game.
For starters, there will be an eight-man bench, and players will not be permitted to wear any headwear during the game, unless the player is wearing a jersey or shorts.
New rules also mean that the player with the most tries during the season will automatically be rewarded for the best try in the competition.
In other words, the top six players on the all-time tries list will automatically go up to the premiership.
The other changes are as follows:New players will also be required to wear headgear during the match, but will not wear helmets, unless they are wearing a full face mask or full face cover.
A player will be able to wear one helmet during the course of the match.
Players will not receive any compensation if they are injured during the competition, or play with a concussion.
“This year we’ve gone ahead and had a lot less players playing this year,” Hodges told Sky Sport.
“We’ve been able to reduce the number of injuries in the game and make sure the players who get injured get a full medical assessment and that’s something we’ve been very, very careful about.”
“I’ve seen a number players come out of the game last year who were absolutely fit and healthy and were out there on the field.
I don’t think there was a single one that didn’t get back to a game before the next season, so I think it’ll be a really exciting tournament and it’ll provide great entertainment for the fans.”