THE PLAYING RULES OF TOUCH
Provided by the Australian Touch Association (ATA) www.austouch.com.au.
RULE 1 - DEFINITIONS AND TERMINOLOGY
Unless the contrary intention appears, the following definitions and terminology apply
to the game of Touch:
- Actinghalf is the player who takes possession of the ball behind the player who
performs the rollball.
- Attacking Team is the team which has possession or is gaining possession.
- Attacking Scoreline is the line on or over which a team has to place the ball to
score a touchdown.
- Advantage is that property or part of play which gives one team the potential to
improve its position to score relative to the other team.
- Behind means in a position or direction towards a team's defending scoreline.
- Dead Ball means when the ball is out of play and includes the period following a
touch until the ball is brought back into play at the rollball and the period following a
touchdown or penalty, until the game is recommenced.
- Defending Scoreline is the line which a team has to defend to prevent a
- Defending Team is the team without the ball.
- Deliver means to part with the ball.
- Field Of Play is the playing area bounded by the sidelines, scorelines, but not
including those lines.
- Forward means in a position or direction towards a team's own attacking
- Full Time occurs at the expiration of the normal time allowed for play.
- Mark (For a Touch) is the position where the attacking player is at the time of
- Mark (For a Tap) is the centre of the halfway line for the commencement or
recommencement of play; or the position where a tap is awarded as a result of
- Offside means in a position forward of the ball for an attacking player and in a
position liable to penalty for a defending player.
- Onside means in a position whereby a player may legitimately become involved with
- Penalty is the action taken by the referee in awarding a penalty tap when a
player or team infringes the rules of the game.
- Rebound occurs when the ball deflects from or makes contact with a player other
than the player who first had possession.
- Rollball is the normal act of bringing the ball into play following a touch or a
change of possession.
- Ruling is the decision made by the referee as a result of particular
circumstances. It can result in a play on, a tap or change of possession.
- Scorelines are the end boundaries of the field of play.
- Sidelines are the side boundaries of the field of play.
- Tap is the method of commencing the game, recommencing the game alter half-time
and after a touchdown has been scored. It is also a method of recommencing play when a
penalty is awarded.
- Touch is contact on any part of the body between a player in possession and a
defending player. A touch includes contact on the ball, hair or clothing and may be made
by a defending player or by the player in possession.
- Touchdown is the result of an attacking player, except the actinghalf, placing
the ball on or over the team's attacking scoreline.
RULE 2 - THE FIELD AND THE BALL
- Field of Play. The field of play is rectangular in shape and measures seventy
(70) metres in length by fifty (50) metres in width.
- Markings. Line markings defining the field of play are to be at least 2.5cm in
width and are to be laid out as shown in the diagram on page 5 (see Fig. 1 The Field of
Play). Sidelines are to be extended at least five(5) metres beyond the scorelines.
- Markers. Suitably sized markers of a distinguishing colour and made from a safe
and pliable material are to be positioned at the intersections of sidelines and
scorelines; and at the intersections of the halfway line with the sidelines (see Fig. 1
The Field of Play).
- Playing Surface. The playing surface is normally grass. However, other surfaces
approved by the Australian Touch Association may be used. Ground surfaces which may cause
injury are to be avoided.
- The Ball. The game is tote played with an oval, inflated ball of a shape, colour
and size approved by the Australian Touch Association, The ball should be inflated to the
recommended air pressure.
- A defending player must have both feet ON or behind the defending scoreline to be
onside, if rollball is within five (5) metres or a tap within ten (10) metres of the
- Team captains have the right to lodge a complaint regarding field dimensions or playing
conditions (eg. weather or the state of the ground) prior to the commencement of the
- The ball must not be hidden under player attire.
- The referee is to inspect the boundaries and markers for clarity and safety, prior to
the commencement of the game.
- Association officials should ensure that all grounds used for competition matches are
marked as shown. As a minimum, it is essential that scorelines, sidelines and the halfway
line are correctly marked.
- Any decision on variation to dimensions or on playing conditions rests with competent
- Associations should deem an area behind the scorelines as pathways if items described in
Rule II Player Note D do not exist. An exaggerated distance is an area beyond these
RULE 3 - PLAYER ATTIRE
- Uniforms. All participating players are to be correctly attired in team uniforms
approved by the local controlling association. Uniforms consist of upper apparel, shorts
(or briefs for female players) and socks with footwear.
- Footwear. Shoes without screw-in studs or cleats are to be worn by all players. Light
leather or synthetic boots with soft moulded soles are permitted, providing individual
studs are not longer than one (1) cm in length; the measurement being taken from the sole
of the boot.
- Identification Numbers. All players are to wear an identifying number, not less than
sixteen (16) cm in height, clearly displayed on the front or rear of the upper garment.
Numbers may be positioned on both sleeves as an alternative providing the numbers are not
less than eight (8) cm in height. No two players at the same team may wear the same
- Jewellery and Fingernails. Players are not to participate in any match while wearing any
item of jewellery which might prove dangerous. Long or sharp fingernails are to be trimmed
- Players may, in conditions of cold weather, wear additional clothing providing colours
and numbers are displayed, subject to local association procedures.
- Referees are not to allow players to participate in any match unless the above dress
requirements are met.
- Referees are to inspect team clothing and footwear prior to matches. Fingernails and
jewellery in women's and mixed competitions are to receive specific inspection.
- Identification numbers of participating players should be in numerical order. However,
this is not mandatory.
- Minor dress variations may be approved by controlling associations.
RULE 4 - MODE OF PLAY, DURATION AND SCORING
- Object. The object of the game of Touch is for each team to score touchdowns and
to prevent the opposition from scoring.
- Mode of Play. The ball may be passed, knocked or handed between onside players of
the attacking team who may in turn run or otherwise move with the ball in an attempt to
gain territorial advantage and score. Defending players prevent the attacking team from
gaining a territorial advantage by touching the ball carrier. Either defending or
attacking players may initiate touches upon which, play stops and is restarted with a
rolIball, unless other rules apply.
- Duration. The game is of fifty (50) minutes duration, consisting of two (2)
twenty-five (25) minute halves. There is a five (5) minute halftime break. The duration
may only be extended for exceptional circumstances.
- End of Flay. When time expires play is to continue until the ball next becomes
dead. Should a penalty be awarded during this period the penalty is to be taken.
- Scoring. A touchdown is awarded when a player other than the actinghalf places
the ball on the ground on or over the team's attacking scoreline and within the boundaries
of the extended sidelines. A touchdown is worth one (1) point.
- The Winner. The team who at the end of play has scored the most touchdowns is
declared the winner. In the event of neither team scoring, or in the event of both teams
scoring the same number of touchdowns, a draw is declared.
- Competition Points. Points are awarded in competition matches as follows:
- WIN: 3 POINTS
- BYE: 3 POINTS
- DRAW: 2 POINTS
- LOSS : 1 POINT
- FORFEIT: 0 POINTS
- Progression. When a single winner is required and the game is drawn, any of the
following can apply:-
- Extra time, each way.
- Extra time, sudden death.
- Extra time, sudden death where, if the team who taps off in extra time score before
their opponents have possession, the team who was scored against is allowed to tap off and
retain possession until the ball is dead. If they also score a touchdown, then the team
who next scores is declared the winner.
- For and against record.
- Higher placing on competition table.
- The decider('shoot-out').
- Toss of a coin - After the game.
- Joint Winners
- Extra time until a result is achieved.
- Any of (I) to (vi) of Semis options.
The controlling Association should make the decision on what option is to be used and
should inform all teams prior to the commencement of the competition.
- Abandoned Games. If a game is abandoned due to any circumstances the controlling
Association shall decide the result.
- If a player places the ball on the ground short of the scoreline while attempting to
score a touchdown, a touch is counted and the player is required to rollball to restart
play at the position of contact with the ground. However a score results if an untouched
player slides the ball along the ground to or beyond the scoreline. If the player does not
release the ball from his hands, no touch is counted and the game continues,
- Referees should be aware of players who commit "professional fouls" and should
take appropriate action.
- If in attempting to score, a player either makes contact with the corner marker or
crosses the extended sideline, no touchdown is awarded and the game is recommenced by the
opposition with a rollball five metres from the scoreline and five metres in from the
- The controlling association should endeavour to provide official time-keepers for all
matches. Should time-keepers not be appointed, the referee is to act as the sole
time-keeper and therefore is allowed to wear a watch.
- The duration of matches may be varied by controlling associations to suit particular
competition requirements. In such cases, durations are to be advised to all teams well in
- Competition points may be varied by controlling associations to suit particular
- A touchdown may have varied value as decided by the controlling association to suit
particular competition requirements.
- To separate teams on equal competition points, the Simple Averages method is used
(difference in touchdowns "for" and "against", with the higher
progressing). If teams are still equal the Percentage Method is applied (fraction
consisting of "for" over "against" multiplied by 1 00 with the higher
- Controlling associations may decide on and publish a points "for-and-against"
margin to be awarded for forfeits and for abandoned matches.
RULE 5 - TEAM COMPOSITION AND SUBSTITUTION
- Number of Players. A team consists of fourteen (14) players, no more than seven
(7) of whom are allowed on the field at any time.
A tap awarded to the non-offending team at the posit ion of the ball at the time the
offence is identified.
- Mixed Competition. In mixed competitions the maximum number of males allowed on the
field of play is four (4). The minimum male requirement on the field of play is one (1).
A tap awarded to the non-offending team at the position of the ball at the time the
offence is identified.
- Substitution.Players may substitute at any time in accordance with the
interchange procedure. There is no limit to the number of times a player may interchange.
- Interchange Procedure.Following the scoring of a touchdown players may
interchange without making physical contact with the substituting players. All other
interchanges must occur at the sideline, in an onside position and the players involved
must make physical contact prior to the substitute entering the field of play. Interchange
may occur on either side of the field unless local restrictions apply. The substituting
player must immediately enter the field of play.
A tap awarded to the non-offending team five (5) metres infield from where the substituted
player left the field or where the substituting player entered the field, whichever is the
- Although a team consists of fourteen (14) players, a minimum of five (5) is required for
the game to continue. All players who are involved in the game both on and off the field
of play are under the direct control of the referee.
- Female players in mixed competition may play in any team positions. Male players may
interchange with female players providing Rule 5.2 applies.
- Players must make physical contact with substituting players off the field.
- Attacking and defending players must interchange in accordance with Rule 5.4. Intending
substitutes must not voluntarily remain off the field.
- Should the number of players on the field from one team fall below five (5). the game is
finished and the non-offending team is declared the winner. This applies if players have
been dismissed for the remainder of the game, but not for injuries or dismissals for
periods of time.
- If line referees are officiating, all interchanges are to be conducted under their
control and in accordance with Rule 5.
- Players who arrive late for a game may enter the field immediately, providing their team
does not have seven (7) players on the field, subject to local By-laws.
- If a team is unable to continue to meet the requirements of rule 5.2 because of injury
caused during the game, the makeup of the male-female ratio may be varied at the
discretion of the referee, provided both captains agree.
RULE 6 - COMMENCEMENT AND RECOMMENCEMENT OF PLAY
- The Toss. Team captains are to toss a coin in the presence of the referee and the
captain winning the toss has possession for the commencement of the first half and also
has the choice of direction for the first half.
- Attacking Team. The attacking team is to start the game with a tap at the centre of the
halfway line following the indication to commence play from the referee, All players of
the attacking team are to remain in an onside position until the ball has been tapped.
A change of possession at the centre of the halfway line.
- Method. The tap is taken by placing the ball on the ground at or behind the mark,
releasing both hands from the ball, tapping the ball with either foot a distance of not
more than one (1) metre, and retrieving the ball cleanly. Any player of the attacking team
may take the tap. Any onside player of the attacking team may retrieve the ball once the
tap has been taken.
RULING A change of possession at the mark for the tap.
- Defending Team. All players of the defending team are required to retire a distance of
not less than ten (10) metres from the mark for the tap. Defending players may move
forward of their positions once the ball has been tapped with the foot.
A tap awarded to the attacking team along a line ten (10) metres directly forward of the
- Recommencement of Play. For the recommencement of play following the half-time break,
the team losing the toss is to start the game with a tap as described in Rules 6.2 and 6.3
For the recommencement of play following the scoring of a touchdown, the team against
which the score was made is to recommence play as described in Rules 6.2 and 6.3.
- Kicking, The ball cannot be kicked or played with the foot except when taking a tap or
at the rolIball, The actinghalf may use the foot to control the ball.
A tap awarded to the non-offending team at the position where the ball made contact with
- The player taking the tap may face any direction to take the tap and may be forward of
the halfway line.
- The player taking the tap is to wait until the referee indicates the mark prior to
tapping the ball.
- Players may take the ball behind the mark for a tap up to a maximum of ten (10) metres.
No sideways movement of the mark is allowed.
- Referees are to ensure that there is minimum delay between the scoring of touchdowns and
the recommencement of play.
- Referees should penalise defending players who attempt to delay play following a
touchdown. If the delay is caused by the team scored against, the penalty should be
awarded from the centre of the halfway line. If the team who scored is causing the delay,
the penalty should also be awarded at the centre of the halfway mark with the offending
player(s) dismissed for a period of time.
RULE 7 - POSSESSION
- General. Providing other Rules do not apply, the team with the ball is entitled to six
(6) touches prior to changing possession with the opposing team.
- Changeover Procedure. Following the sixth touch or the loss of possession due to any
other means, players of the team losing possession are to hand or pass the ball to the
nearest opposition player, or place the ball on the ground at the mark without delay.
Attacking players who request the ball are to be given the ball. Players are not to delay
the changeover procedure.
A tap awarded to the non-offending team ten (10) metres forward of the mark for the change
of possession or penalty.
- Ball to Ground. If the ball is dropped to the ground a change of possession results. The
mark for change of possession is where the ball first pitches or where the attacking
player dropped or passed the ball, whichever is the greater advantage of the team gaining
- Mishandled Ball. If a player mishandles the ball and providing the ball does not go to
ground, play is to continue.
- Intercepts. Intercepts by onside defending players are allowed. Following an intercept
play continues until the first touch is effected, a touchdown is scored or a stoppage
occurs as a result of other actions.
- Should a touch be effected on a player in possession while the ball may not be
physically in the hands (eg. while juggling or trying to maintain control) the touch is to
- Providing the same player retrieves the ball prior to it going to ground, any knock
forward resultant from an intercept is allowed.
- Referees are to be aware of players deliberately attempting to delay play during normal
- If the ball contacts the ground while still under the control of a player (eg. falling
over) a change of possession does not result and play is to continue.
RULE 8 - PASSING
- General. A player in possession may pass. flick, knock, throw or otherwise
deliver the ball to any other onside player in the attacking team.
- Forward Pass. A player in possession is not to pass, flick, knock, throw or otherwise
propel the ball in a forward direction (see Player Notes to Rule 7).
A tap awarded to the non-offending team at the mark where the ball was passed flicked,
knocked, thrown or otherwise propelled forward.
- Passing into Opposition. A player who passes the ball at or towards a defending player
and thereby causes the ball to go to ground shall lose possession. However, if the
defending player attempts to catch the ball or play at the ball and the ball goes to
ground, the attacking team retains possession. Play is restarted at the mark where the
ball goes to ground or at the position of best advantage tor the nor-offending team. The
touch count is restarted.
- A player who, in attempting to control the ball, juggles or knocks the ball forward, is
not to be penalised, provided that the player regathers the ball. (See Player Notes to
- A penalty is to result from a forward pass even if the receiver was in an onside
position prior to the pass.
- Referees are to be aware of players who make any deliberate passes at an opposing
player, especially on the fifth (5th) touch.
- Forward passes are to be penalised even if the ball goes to ground or if it is the last
RULE 9 - THE ROLLBALL
- When Required. A player is to perform a rollball under the following circumstances:
- when a touch has been effected
- when possession changes due to the sixth touch
- when possession changes due to a ball to ground
- when possession changes due to an infringement by an attacking player at a tap or
- when so directed by the referee.
- Method. The attacking player is to position on the mark, face the opponent's (defending)
scoreline, stand parallel to the sidelines and roll the ball backwards along the ground
between the feet a distance of not more than one (1) metre. Once the ball is placed on the
mark, the attacking player may step forward over the ball.
A change of possession at the mark.
- Attacking Team. Any other player of the attacking team may receive the ball from the
rollball and thus become the actinghalf. The actinghalf may pass or run with the ball.
However, if touched, he/she loses possession. The actinghalf is not to delay picking up or
gathering the ball. The player who performs the rollball is not permitted to obstruct or
otherwise prevent the defending team from gaining possession or effecting a touch on the
RULING A tap awarded to the non-offending team at the mark where the infringement
- Defending Team. All players of the defending team are to retire a distance of not less
than five (5) metres from the mark. Players of the defending team are not permitted to
move forward of the five (5) metre position until the actinghalf has made contact with the
A tap awarded to the attacking team along a line five(5) metres forward of the mark for
the rollball and nearest to the infringement.
- Actions without Actinghalf in Position. When the player in possession is required to
rollball without an actinghalf in position, players of the defending team may move forward
of the five (5) metre positions as soon as the ball leaves the hand/s of the player in
possession. Should a defending player gain possession the game is recommenced with a
- Voluntary RolIball. A player in possession is not to perform a rollball unless a touch
has been effected.
A tap awarded to the non-offending team at the mark where the rollball occurred.
- The ball must touch the ground in a rollball but does not necessarily have to be rolled.
The foot may be used to control the ball.
- The player performing the rollball must be stationary and will not be penalised if the
rollball is performed while balancing on one foot providing the ball passes on the inside
of the supporting foot.
- Defending players who are offside at the rollball are liable to penalty and should
remain out of play until a touch has been effected or until they have assumed an onside
- The player performing the rollball cannot retrieve the ball.
- Any defending player involved in a touch must immediately retire to a position along a
line five (5) metres forward of the touch or to their own scoreline.
- The mark for a penalty awarded under Rule 9.4 is along a line five (5) metres forward of
the mark for the rollball and nearest the infringement.
- The actinghalf is permitted to use the foot to control the ball. However, play must not
be delayed. Defending players may move forward as soon as the acting half has made contact
with the ball.
- A player in possession may run or stand with the ball extended towards the ground
without penalty. However, Rule 9.6 applies as soon as the ball is rolled.
- In an attempt to encourage a free-flowing game, referees should warn offside players and
use the advantage rule as applicable (eg. if a warned offside player moves to make a
touch, the referee may call "play on" rather than stop play and penalise the
offender). However, if the referee hasn't warned the player (or team) he cannot call
"play on" and must allow the touch or penalise the offending player.
- Players who delay the rollball are to be penalised.
- Should the actinghalf or other attacking players effect a touch on an offside defender
following a quick rolIball, the touch will count (the actinghalf would lose possession).
- The actinghalf is not permitted to score touchdowns. He is unrestricted as to where he
can run (except as indicated in Rule II PND) and may cross the scoreline to link up with
support players. Should the actinghalf place the ball on the ground over the scoreline,
whether the ball is released or not, a change of possession will occur five(5) metres from
the scoreline opposite where the ball touched the ground.
- There is no requirement for the ball to be picked up to commence rolIball, but the
referee should ensure the rollball takes place at the mark.
RULE 10 - THE TOUCH
- General. See Definitions, Rule 1.24. Players of both defending and attacking
teams are to use the minimum force necessary to effect touches.
A tap awarded to the non-offending team and, as a minimum, a warning to the offending
- Ball Knocked from Hands. If the ball is knocked from the hands of a player in
possession during a touch, the touch counts and the player retains possession and is
required to perform the rollball (unless it is the sixth touch). The touch count
- Actions Following Touch. After a touch has been effected, the player in possession is
required to stop, return to the mark where the touch occurred if the mark has been
over-run, and perform a rollball immediately.
A tap awarded to the defending team at the mark.
- Passing after Touch. A player is not to pass or otherwise deliver the ball after
a touch has been effected.
A penalty awarded to the defending team at the mark where the touch occurred.
- Claimed Touch. A player must not claim or otherwise call for a touch unless a
touch has actually been effected.
(If an advantage is apparent, the referee will indicate "play on", otherwise a
tap is to be awarded to the attacking team where the touch is claimed.
- The Mark. The mark for the rollball is dependent on the position of the player in
possession at the time of the touch.
- Interference after Touch. Following a touch the ball is deemed to be dead and is brought
into play at the rollball when the actinghalf touches the ball or, if there is no
actinghalf, when the ball leaves the hand/s. (see Rules 9.4 and 9.5). Defending players
are not to interfere with the player in possession or otherwise prevent the immediate
rollball after a touch is made.
A tap awarded to the attacking team at the mark.
- Touched while Scoring. On the rare occasion a player places the ball on the
ground on or over the scoreline at the same time a touch is effected, the touch counts and
a touchdown is not awarded.
- Touch on Offside Defender. Should a player in possession effect a touch on an
offside defender who is making every effort to retire and remain out of play, the touch is
to count. If the player in possession is the actinghalf a change of possession results in
accordance with Rule 9.3.
- When effecting touches with the ball, attacking players are to ensure that the minimum
force is used (see rule 10.1).
- If a touch is effected on or over the scoreline before the ball is grounded, no
touchdown results. The player in possession is to move from that point to a position
five(5) metres from the scoreline to rolIball, provided it is not the sixth touch.
- If in doubt as to the location of the mark for the rollball the player in possession
should check with the referee.
- Attacking players cannot delay the rollball while awaiting an actinghalf.
- Calling a touch prior to contact is subject to penalty under Rule 10.5.
- A player who is touched while in the act of passing should attempt to refrain from
releasing the ball.
- More than the minimum physical force to effect a touch should be dealt with severely.
- A player should be instructed to regather the ball if it is knocked or dropped to the
ground during or following a touch. However, players who attempt to delay play by such
deliberate acts are to be penalised under Rule 10.3.
- If defending players effect contact after an attacking player has delivered the ball,
play continues and "play on" is to be called.
- Unless the referee is sure no contact was made, the referee should acknowledge all
claimed touches and call back the player in possession for a rolIball. Should the referee
observe a defending player claim a touch without contact and unless there is an advantage
to the attacking team, a penalty and warning are to be awarded under Rule 10.5.
- On the rare occasion that the referee is unable to distinguish between a pass before a
touch and a pass after a touch and provided the ball does not go to ground, the touch
counts as a "simultaneous touch". The ball is returned to the attacking player
for a rolIball. If the ball goes to ground on such occasions, or if it is the sixth touch,
a change of possession is to result.
- Mandatory penalties should not be awarded when players fail to feel slight touches.
However, deliberate run-ons are to be penalised.
- Infringements against Rule 10.4 are to be penalised, even if it is the sixth touch.
RULE 11 - BALL ON OR OVER SIDELINE/OVER SCORELINE
- On or Over Sideline. The ball becomes dead when it or a player in possession
touches or crosses the sideline and a change of possession results. However, if a player
in possession is touched prior to crossing the sideline, then the touch counts and play
continues with a rollball at the mark where the touch occurred.
The team not responsible for the ball touching or crossing the sideline restarts play with
a rollball five (5) metres infield from where the ball or the player in possession touched
or crossed the sideline, or at the position of best advantage for the attacking team.
- Touched Over attacking Scoreline. If a player in possession is touched after
crossing the attacking scoreline and prior to the scoring of a touchdown, the touch
counts. Play is restarted with a rollball five (5) metres infield from where the player in
possession crossed the scoreline.
- BalI on or Over Defending Scoreline. If a player in possession of the ball is
touched whilst on or behind their defending scoreline, the touch counts and play is
restarted with a rollball five (5) metres infield from where the player in possession was
- Actions Near Defending Scoreline. An attacking team is not required to rollball
within five (5) metres of the defending scoreline. After each touch the player in
possession may move forward to the five (5) metre broken line to rolIball.
- Actions Near Attacking Scoreline. When a touch is effected within five (5) metres
of the attacking scoreline, a player in possession may move directly behind the mark a
distance of up to five (5) metres to the broken line to restart with a rolIball.
- Actions Further than Five (5) Metres from Defending Scoreline. When defending
players are required to defend further than five (5) metres from their defending
scoreline, they must move forward beyond the five (5) metre broken line in an attempt to
effect a touch on the player in possession.
A penalty awarded to the attacking team at the position of the ball at the time the
offence is identified.
- When moving forward or backward from the mark in accordance with Rule 11.4 or 11.5
players should indicate to the referee that such options have been chosen and thus avoid
- When moving forward or backward in accordance with Rule 11.4 or 11.5 the player in
possession should avoid contact with defending players and should not move sideways from
- Attacking players are not required to exercise the option in accordance with Rule 11.4
or 11.5. The actions are optional at the discretion of the players. However, referees
should encourage novice players to use the rules.
- A player in possession, once having crossed the scoreline, cannot, in an attempt to
waste time, deliberately proceed further than,
- the boundaries of another field
- any fence, pathway, cycleway, walkway or road, behind the scoreline without losing
- When the player in possession is further than five (5) metres from the scoreline and the
defending team is defending on or within five (5) metres of their defending scoreline, the
defending team must move forward in an attempt to effect a touch. This means the whole
team must move out to beyond the five (5),metre line and can only return to the scoreline
once a touch is effected. They may however move back behind the five (5) metre broken
line-to realign for the next defensive move once a touch is about to be effected by either
the attacking or defending player.
- When a player in possession is on or within five (5) metres of their attacking
scoreline, the defending team are permitted to remain on, and defend their scoreline.
- Players who are onside at their defending scoreline may lean over the scoreline to touch
any attacking player, and remain onside provided both feet remain on or behind the
scoreline and contact with the ground is not made inside the field of play with the hands.
- Before a penalty is awarded in accordance with Rule 11.6, the referee must warn the
defending team to move forward in an attempt to effect a touch. If the defending team does
not move forward in accordance with the referee's direction a penalty will result.
- If the same situation arises again after a tap from a penalty has been taken, (that is,
within the attacking team's following six possessions), and the defending team still
refuses to move forward to effect a touch, another penalty is awarded to the attacking
team. In addition the referee will instruct the captain of the defending team to remove
one (1) player from the field. The player is to return to the interchange area. That
player (or a substitute) cannot be replaced until the defending team gains possession. On
each occasion before awarding a penalty the referee must have warned the defending team to
move forward of the five (5) metre broken line, to effect a touch.
RULE 12 - BALL TOUCHED IN FLIGHT
- Intentional Contact by Defender. If the ball goes to ground following a defenders
attempt to gain possession, the attacking team retains the ball and the touch count
restarts. This also applies if the defending player deliberately knocks the ball to
ground. The mark where the rollball occurs is where the ball first pitches or where the
defender touched the ball, whichever is the best advantage for the attacking team.
- Intentional Contact but not to Ground. If a defending player touches the ball in
flight and the ball is retrieved by an attacking player, play continues and the touch
count restarts at the next touch.
- Intentional Contact and Touched Again by Attacker. If an attacking player
attempts to gather the ball after a deflection by a defender and the ball goes to ground,
the attacking team retains possession and the touch count restarts for Rule 12.1 above
(see Referee Note A, below).
- Rebound and Ball to Ground. If the ball rebounds from a defending player who has
not made an attempt to retrieve the ball and the ball goes to ground, a change of
possession results and play restarts with a rollball where the ball first pitches or where
the ball rebounded from the defender, whichever is the best advantage to the team gaining
- Rebounds but not to Ground. If the ball rebounds from a defending player who has
not made an attempt to retrieve the ball and the ball is regained by an attacking player,
play on and the touch count continue.
- If an attacking player considers a deflection from a defending player is difficult to
retrieve, the player may either let the ball go to ground (and receive six more touches
from the mark of best advantage), or the player may attempt to retrieve the ball (and if
the ball then goes to ground receive six more touches from the mark of best advantage).
- In the case of Rule 12.3 above, the referee is to decide whether the deflection by the
defending player was the cause of the ball to ground.
- If a ball deflected from a defending player travels in a forward direction and is then
retrieved by a player of the attacking team, play should continue and Rule 12.2 applies.
- Unintentional contact by a defending player includes contact on the arms and hands
providing an attempt is not made to secure possession.
- If a ball is passed forward and is then deflected or played at by a defending player
back to the attacking team or to the ground, Rule 8.2 applies, with a penalty to the
RULE 13 - OFFSIDE
- Attacking Team. A player in the attacking team is offside when that player is
forward of the player who has possession or who last had possession. In general play
offside attacking players who interfere with play should be penalised.
- Attacking Player Offside at Tap. Attacking players are to remain onside at a tap
until the ball has been tapped. RULING
A change of possession at the mark (see Rules 6.2 and 15.4).
- Defending team. A player of the defending team is offside when the following
rules are infringed:
- Rule 6.4 at the commencement and recommencement of play.
- Rule 9.4 at the rolIball.
- Rule 15.5 at the tap for a penalty.
- Rule 9 Referee Note D. RULING
A tap awarded to the attacking team in accordance with the above Rules.
- Attacking players who are offside are non-effective and should return to an onside
position as soon as possible.
- Offside defending players must at all times make an effort to retire to an onside
- A defending player must have both feet on or behind the defending scoreline to be onside
when a rollball occurs within five (5) metres, or a penalty tap within 10 metres of that
- Refer to Rule 10.9 and Notes of Rule 9.
- Defending players who are retiring should not normally be penalised while taking no
active pad in the game.
- Refer to Notes of Rule 15 for consecutive penalties.
RULE 14 - OBSTRUCTION
- Attacking Team. Players of the attacking team are not to obstruct defending
players from attempting to effect a touch. A player in possession must not run or
otherwise move behind the referee or other players in the attacking team in an attempt to
avoid a touch. Obstruction here is defined as a deliberate attempt by an attacking player
to gain an unfair advantage by preventing a defending player from effecting a touch.
A tap to the defending team at the mark where the infringement occurred.
- Defending Team. Players in the defending team are not to obstruct or otherwise
interfere with attacking players supporting the player in possession.
A tap awarded to the non-offending team at the mark of infringement providing the stoppage
is not to the disadvantage of the attacking team.
- A player supporting the player in possession is entitled to run as necessary to obtain
the best supporting position. However, in moving to a supporting position attacking
players must not deliberately interfere with defending players.
- Referees should note any change in the line of support adopted by attacking players. If
the player in possession notices an obstruction by a team mate, the player may stop and
wait to be touched without being penalised.
- Accepted sub-unit skills such as wraps or run-arounds do not constitute obstruction.
- If a player in possession or a defender runs into the referee or the referee runs into
either of the players, "play on" should result if there is no advantage either
way. However, if the incident has an effect on the proceedings, a rollball should be
called with no effect on the touch count.
RULE 15 - THE PENALTY
- General. A penalty is to be awarded for an infringement by any player in
accordance with the rules contained herein. The method of taking a penalty is a penalty
- Location of Tap. The mark for the penalty is normally at the location of the
infringement unless otherwise detailed in specific rules. For infringements which occur on
the boundaries, within five (5) metres of the defending scoreline or outside the field of
play, the location of the penalty tap is to be five (5) metres infield (or on the five
metre line) from where the infringement occurred,
- Method. A method of taking the penalty tap is detailed in Rule 6.3. The ball does
not have to be lifted from the ground for a tap. However, the ball must be at or behind
the correct mark prior to the tap being taken. (see Player Note C)
A change of possession at the mark.
- Attacking Team. Players of the attacking team are to be onside at the tap.
A change of possession at the mark.
- Defending Team. Players of the defending team are to be onside at the tap as
detailed in Rule 6.4.
A tap awarded to the attacking team along a line ten (10) metres directly forward of the
original mark and nearest to the infringement.
- Penalty Touchdown.A penalty touchdown will be awarded if any action by a player
or spectator deemed by the referee to be contrary to the rules or spirit of the game,
prevented the attacking team from scoring a touchdown.
- The player who is to take the tap penalty is required to wait until the referee
indicates the location of the mark before the tap can be taken. However a player may take
a quick tap providing the referee acknowledges such a request and providing the tap is
taken at or behind the correct mark.
- For a tap within ten (10) metres of the scoreline players may take the ball directly
behind the mark up to a maximum distance of ten (10) metres.
- If a player chooses to rollball in lieu of a tap the player who receives the ball is not
- To allow the full advantage of a penalty to be realised there is to be minimum delay
between awarding a penalty and the indication of the appropriate mark.
- A player may take the ball back behind the mark, up to a maximum distance often (10)
metres, behind the mark for a tap to allow room to execute a move. In such cases the
defending players must remain not closer than ten (10) metres from the mark or at the
scoreline, whichever is the closest.
- If an attacking player effects a touch on an offside defending player (usually following
a quick tap) in an attempt to gain a further penalty, the referee may call "play on'
depending on the actions of the defending player, but only provided the offside player or
team has been warned.
- If an offside defending player (whether that player is retiring or not) attempts to
obstruct or effect a touch on an attacking player following a quick tap, the referee
should play the advantage and allow play to continue or award a penalty tap, whichever is
the greater advantage to the attacking team.
- To ensure control is maintained during a sequence of quick taps, the referee is to
ensure that the location of the mark is correctly indicated.
- With regards to awarding a penalty touchdown, a referee is to be sure that a touchdown
would have occurred had it not been for the illegal action of the player or spectator
RULE 16 - ADVANTAGE
- The principle of advantage to the non-offending team is to apply at all times, providing
some advantage is readily obvious. Once a team is given the advantage that team does not
necessarily forfeit the right to other action as described in these rules.
- Players should at all times play in accordance with the Rules of Touch and allow the
referee to interpret advantage.
- Players who use unnecessary force or whose actions unfairly prevent any other player
from gaining an advantage will be liable to penalty.
RULE 17 - DISCIPLINE AND PLAYER MISCONDUCT
- General. Players who infringe the Rules of Touch are liable to penalty or other
appropriate action according to the seriousness of the infringement. Penalties are to be
awarded in accordance with applicable rules.
- Frequent illdiscipline. A player who continually breaches the playing rules is
liable to dismissal. Team captains are responsible for the conduct of players in their
respective teams and should be aware that undisciplined players are disruptive to the
spirit of the game.
- Dismissal. Any player may be dismissed as follows:
- Period of Time. A player dismissed for repeated infringements or any offence
requiring more than a penalty is to move from the field of play and reman in a position
midway along the team's attacking scoreline and no closer than five (5) metres to the
scoreline. The dismissed player cannot be replaced.
- Remainder of Game. A player dismissed alter any previous dismissal or for an
offence such as gross misconduct or a dangerous act is to take no further part in the
match and is to move to and remain not closer than ten (10) metres from the sideline. The
dismissed player cannot be replaced and that player incurs a two (2) match suspension
from all matches conducted by any Touch Association.
- Striking Officials. Any player who is found guilty of striking and/or assaulting
an official, referee or line referee is liable to disqualification from playing the game
of Touch for life.
- Disciplinary Reports. Officials are required to submit dismissal reports or any
other reports required in accordance with the governing regulations of local associations.
- Misconduct. Players guilty of misconduct will be penalised and could be excluded
from the game. Misconduct includes:
- continual breaches of the rules
- backchatting referees or other game officials
- bad sportsmanship
- using physical force in making a touch
- attacking the head of an opponent
- any other action which is not in the spirit of the game
- A player sent from the field for a period of time is to remain at the midpoint of the
attacking scoreline until recalled by the referee. Such a player is allowed to join his
team-mates at half time.
- The referee is the sole judge of time in relation to dismissed players.
- A referee is required to advise the team captain as to the reason for a players
- Referees must submit a written report on players sent from the field for the remainder
of the game.
- Referees may suggest to captains to replace infringing players for the remainder of the
game otherwise the player may be sent off and suspended and the team reduced in playing
- Controlling associations are to ensure that their constitution provides for:
- The powers for the general committee or executive to make appropriate By-Laws or
- The power to enquire into and deal with any act.
- Powers to be given to a Judiciary.
- The boundaries of jurisdiction.
- Coaches and officials deemed guilty of misconduct will be reported to the appropriate
officials and be liable to disciplinary action.
- Players sent from the field for the remainder of the game in a weekend tournament or
K.O. Carnival will receive an automatic two (2) game suspension. (eg. State or Regional
Championships; National Teams Championships or National Championships).
RULE 18 - THE REFEREE AND LINE JUDGES
- The Referee. The referee is the sole judge on matters of fact and is required to
adjudicate on the rules of the game during play, The referee may impose any sanction
necessary to control the game and in particular, award penalties for infringements against
- Authority of Referee. Players, coaches and officials of both teams are under the
control of the officiating referees.
- Area of Control. The playing area under control of the referee extends from
within the boundaries of the field of play, to an area which covers substitute players and
officials involved in the particular game.
- Line Judges. Line judges should be appointed to assist the referee with tasks
associated with sidelines and other matters at the discretion of the referee. Their normal
duties include, indicating the ten (10) metre distance or penalty taps, controlling
substitution, matters of backplay and other advice when sought by the central referee.
- Team captains may respectfully enquire of the referee, matters of varying interpretation
or causes of penalties. Any discussion is to be brief and polite and must not delay play.
Other team members should not talk to the referee.
- Players should indicate to line judges when substitution is to occur.
- Referees must familiarise themselves with grounds, markings and officials prior to the
commencement of matches.
- Referees may consult with line judges prior to making decisions.