RUGBY LEAGUE'S shift into a bad or bold new era - depending on whether you are a fan of the shoulder charge or not - was accelerated on Wednesday as some of the astute minds in the game met to discuss how the ban of the controversial tackling technique would be rolled out.
The NRL's competition committee met for almost five hours to discuss possible rule changes for next year's premiership, including how tight the guidelines would be around the shoulder charge, which has been banned by the ARL Commission.
Chiefly, the committee, which includes Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett, retired Queensland and Australian captain Darren Lockyer and new referees boss Daniel Anderson, discussed what will constitute a shoulder charge next season; for instance, whether front-on shoulder contact with an attacking player, and not just side-on contact, will be considered illegal next year.
Any recommendation made by the committee will be put to the final ARLC meeting of the year, next Tuesday, before they are signed.
Meanwhile, the Knights Members Club and Nathan Tinkler's Hunter Sports Group hope to ratify a compromise that will buy HSG more time to complete an audit of Newcastle's NRL team and extend the club's $20 million bank guarantee.
The two organisations had hoped to sign an amendment to the privatisation document on Wednesday then release a joint statement announcing the details, but they were unable to agree on the final wording after exchanging several drafts.
''We're just waiting to get the documentation finalised,'' Knights Members Club chairman Nick Dan told Fairfax Media on Wednesday night.
Knights chief executive Matt Gidley and Dan were expected to discuss the issue last night, and the plan was to issue a statement later on Thursday.
with BRETT KEEBLE