Bulldogs captain James Graham has tempered enthusiasm for a faster NRL under the new interchange laws, warning it could tip the scales further in favour of dominant playmakers like Cowboys ace Johnathan Thurston.
Under "landmark" changes to the league this season, interchanges will be reduced from 10 to eight, while players will be required to make further haste with shot clocks ticking on drop-outs and scrums.
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NRL head of football Todd Greenberg heralded the series of moves as a key to open up the game, make it a more continuous spectacle and encourage endurance, all the while rewarding skill over sheer size.
The game's elite playmakers will no doubt be licking their lips at the prospect of a staggered wall of tiring forwards attempting to shut them down late in the contest but Graham spoke up for the big men on Thursday, saying he wasn't convinced it was in everyone's best interests.
He said Thurston was already the most dominant player in the game under 10 interchanges, while rising playmakers like Brisbane's Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford were a huge part of their drive to the grand final.
Less interchanges, Graham said, could simply stack the card further in their favour as coaches once again go back to the drawing board to find the best way to operate under the new conditions.
"It's interesting. It's been done for a reason, whether it be player safety or they want to see more tries scored. I've even heard things like 'giving the halves an opportunity to have a greater impact on the game'," Graham said.
"It's funny, people say that when Johnathan Thurston is the best player in the game. I don't know.
"Will he have more influence? I'm not sure. I'm interested to see if the people that came up with this, what they want out of it and will they get it. Are coaches going to make us train harder, change our body shapes? I don't know.
"I can't see coaches letting defensive standards slip just because there are two less interchanges, or because you've got a certain amount of time to take a scrum or a drop-out. I'm interested to see what it does."
As for how Des Hasler is preparing for the more rapid-fire season: "He's made us aware of what we could encounter."
Not surprisingly, Michael Ennis sits on the other side of the fence. The Sharks hooker contends the interchange trim didn't go far enough, saying he would have rather seen it drop to six instead of eight if the NRL wanted to see real change in game speeds.
He said the pay-off may not initially come at NRL level but through juniors and lesser grades, where the schoolboy welterweights would have a better chance against teenaged giants.
"They want to speed up the game with the shot clock and interchange coming down. I would have liked to see it go down to six, personally. I think then we would have seen a real difference," Ennis said.
"It would have really encouraged the smaller guys to continue. For a period of time now we've lost a lot of the good young halves due to the size of some of the boys and the size of the athletes in those teenage years.
"If we can filter that through to school football as well, we'll really start to see some talented halves, like the ones I watched as a kid ... Allan Langer, Geoff Toovey."
Both men will play for the World All Stars against the Indigenous All Stars in Brisbane on Saturday night, with a crowd of 40,000 expected to fill the stands at Suncorp Stadium.