Brisbane captain Adam Reynolds says former Ipswich Jets coaches Ben and Shane Walker changed the way NRL finals are played by their introduction of regular short dropouts.
The Walkers took the Jets to the 2015 Queensland Cup premiership with a raft of innovations that included the short dropout and the short restart from halfway.
It was once a rarity in the NRL but now all teams utilise the short dropout from their own tryline.
Reynolds said that would continue in the finals series.
“A lot of teams are using their best jumpers and getting the ball back, and even if you don’t it is very hard to attack from inside the 10m now with fullbacks getting in the line and one marker systems,” Reynolds told AAP.
“Risk versus reward is a big part of it. If you don’t get it right and they get a penalty, the opposition usually taps it anyway.
“The Walker brothers probably revolutionised the game with their interesting style of play. It has become a game changer obviously. Short dropouts will be a key factor in the finals.
“The other thing it has done is change the way you look at your own end of sets as well near the opposition tryline, whether you try and get that repeat set or elect to get tackled in a corner … but I have always suggested we kick short.”
Brisbane second-rower Kurt Capewell, who was also was one of the best exponents of the short kick-off for the Jets in 2015, said kicking short had other benefits.
“When we were at the Jets we thought that instead of kicking it to a halfback who would dish it off to the biggest front-rower to run back at you 100 miles an hour, why not kick short and have your best jumpers there and make it 50/50,” he said.
“It also throws off their set too. Their front-rowers have got to run up 50m to get the next carry and it is not as planned as normal.”
Shane Walker said NRL teams could make more of the short kick-off from the halfway line for the same reasons Capewell outlined, and to keep players on the park.
“Ben and I can’t understand why they don’t do short kick-offs as well. The opposition gives it to the biggest guy on the field who is running at maximum speed and we’ve seen that just adds to players getting concussed," he said.
“Short dropouts provide the same benefits in the NRL as they did for us in the Queensland Cup. You get the ball back or if you don’t they have to scramble to get it, so generally their first or second tackle they waste because they are in a panic.
“The best exponent of it left in the finals is Adam Reynolds. Reyno’ is just good with all his kicks.”