NEW concussion protocols set to be enforced for the 2020 Group 3 rugby league season have been met with a mixed response.
All junior and senior matches will feature an 18th man concussion substitution and a mandatory stand-down period of 14 days, in the interests of player welfare and safety.
Port City Breakers coach Dan Kemp and Port Macquarie Sharks counterpart James Kelly believe there are certain elements of grey areas associated with the rule.
"No-one could argue against protecting players, but head knocks are a little bit different to a broken arm which is a visual thing," Kemp said.
"The intention is good, but I'm not sure how they're going to police it at this level compared to the NRL."
The changes this year will include the introduction of an 18th man concussion substitution, which will allow clubs to carry an additional player on the bench.
That player may be substituted into a game only if another player is ruled out due to concussion.
Players who are concussed will also be required to stand down for a period of 14 days and be considered for selection again after receiving clearance from a specialised concussion doctor.
"You would need independent people to do the assessment so it's a bit of a grey area, but if teams are relying on manipulating the rule they're probably not going to be overly successful," Kemp said.
Kelly echoed Kemp's sentiments, saying it was a "great rule if it's used honestly" although the 14-day stand-down period should prevent club's from doing the wrong thing.
"The two-week rule helps because if a player is taken off for a head knock then they can't play for two weeks, but you might still have teams who use it in the moment," he said.
"Anyone could lay down if they're feeling tired, claim a head knock and then get replaced."
The Group 3 season is set to kick off on May 2.
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