A number of NRL clubs have announced they will be cutting players to give players more time to recover from the knee injury they sustained during the grand final.
Ruckman Jarrod Berry and wing Josh McCrone will be sidelined for two to three weeks while forward Luke Keary and defender Chris McQueen are also set to miss out.
There will be no changes to the NRL’s current three-game suspension regime, with teams facing only a one-match ban for an illegal touch, with the first to be handed out on Tuesday.
There have been some reports the suspension will be increased to four games, but the NRL has said it is not in the cards at this stage.
What is the NRL saying about the concussion rule?
The NRL has issued a statement saying it is looking at its concussion policy and working with clubs to establish a system to allow players to recover more quickly.
It said the policy has already been put in place with a concussion assessment and treatment meeting held in New York City earlier this month, with more meetings expected in the coming days.
It says it is working with the NRL to establish an official concussion policy, with clubs having their concussion protocols developed and assessed before they make a decision on the policy.
The NRL says it will also be discussing its concussion policies with the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) and other bodies to develop the protocols.
Players who have already been cleared to return will be allowed to continue to train and compete, but those who have not have been cleared will be suspended for two games.
The rules state that players must be able to continue performing in the game while their injury is being assessed, and will be assessed for the following game in any case.
Players will be required to be able, within the next 48 hours, to make a positive report to the team doctor or NRL Head of Player Safety, and to have a full recovery.
There is no penalty for failing to meet these requirements.
Rookie forward Sam Tagataese has been cleared for the final game of the season, and could return for the Bulldogs’ Grand Final against the Roosters on February 28.
The Bulldogs are also expected to have veteran prop Shaun Johnson and centre Luke Brooks available for the Rabbitohs’ clash against the Broncos on Sunday, although it is unclear whether both will be available.
A number of players have already confirmed they will not be able play in the Bulldogs/Roosters clash, with one, Sam Perrett, confirming his participation is contingent on being cleared to play.
“It’s been an incredibly hard season and the recovery process is a huge part of the game,” Perrett told foxsports.comau.
“I’ve got a couple of weeks to recover and I’m very excited about playing for the Rooster this weekend.”
At the moment, it’s just about being able to come back to the field and play.
It’s all about recovery and getting back in the right shape.
“The Bulldogs have played four games since the Grand Final, losing five of those.
Players have also been told to be alert to any signs of dehydration or a lack of sleep, and must ensure they stay hydrated and consume water during training.