The NRL has warned clubs they will be fined if trainers incorrectly attempt to stop play during the finals without checking to see if a player is seriously injured.
Under NRL rules to protect player safety, trainers have the right to ask referees to stop play if they believe one of their players has suffered a serious injury.
But the league believe they have found footage of play being stopped for injuries such as cramps and corks in recent weeks, and before trainers had even assessed players.
"No one wants to be defending with 12 players, but we do have the option to continue playing if a player hasn't received a serious injury," the NRL's head of football Graham Annesley said.
"If trainers are going to be calling on referees to stop play, they need to make sure they are dealing with a serious injury.
"And we've seen some instances where clearly ... that hasn't happened.
"If you haven't examined him it's very difficult to take that view (that they are seriously injured)."
The NRL's protocols state player must be assessed before a trainer can stop play, after deciding the problem is serious enough.
The league technically considers serious injuries as those that may require a doctor to come on-field, although the rules are often relaxed if a player is in distress.
The issue has become a pet peeve with fans this season, while Manly coach Des Hasler also raised concerns over teams controlling the momentum of play with the stoppages last month.
Annesley said it was not the job of referees to know whether a trainer had already approached the players, with the issue only reviewed by NRL management after matches.
No clubs had yet been fined, but Annesley said the NRL would be ready to if trainers didn't follow the right protocol in the finals.
"Over recent weeks we have noticed it has started to occur so today we are putting everyone on notice," Annesley said.
"We are effectively starting a new part of the competition and we want everyone to know we are monitoring it.
"They can determine generally quickly that there is a serious injury, so it doesn't slow the process down.
"But I think it does make a mockery of the rules if someone is chasing after the referees to stop the game when they haven't even assessed the player."
© AAP 2019