The NRL have revealed that the number of interchanges will be cut from 10 to eight in 2016.
A ‘shot clock’ will also be introduced for drop outs and scrums, in a move designed to speed up the action even more.
Four players will remain on the interchange bench, however.
A further cut in the number of interchanges to six is possible, once the new system has been in action in 2016 and can be properly assessed.
The changes have been introduced after a review conducted by experts headed by Dr Kevin Norton, a professor of exercise science in the School of Health Sciences at the University of South Australia.
The review was carried out in collaboration with the RFL, and it is expected that a similar reduction in the number of interchanges will be introduced in Super League too.
“We think these changes are a significant first step because they will reward endurance and fitness and open up the game,” NRL head of football Todd Greenberg said.
“As a result of these changes, there will be a greater emphasis on skill to complement power and size.
“We have conducted significant research into the evolution of, and current trends in, the game – how the players are getting bigger, faster and stronger, but more importantly what they will look like 10 years from now.
“We believe that, unless we take action now, the game will become more structured, defensive and predictable in years to come.
“So these changes are designed to ensure we stay ahead of the curve – it is about shaping how the game will look in ten years and beyond.
“We want the best football being played by the best footballers, and all our research points to these changes having a significant impact on the quality of games that our supporters deserve every week.”