Substitution Box
Teams may interchange players at any time. Players coming on to the field may not do so until the player being replaced has come off. Substitutions must occur at or within the team's substitution box - this is on the sideline within 10 metres either side of the halfway line.

Possession of the Ball
A change of possession shall occur when:

  • The ball goes to ground
  • The Dummy half is touched while in possession
  • The Dummy half places the ball in the Touchdown zone
  • The 6th Touch occurs
  • The player in possession steps on or over the boundary of the field of play
  • A rollball is performed incorrectly
  • A tap is performed incorrectly
  • When so directed by the referee

At a change of possession play is restarted with a rollball.

A player may pass, knock, throw or otherwise deliver the ball to any onside player in the attacking team. The pass must be backwards. If a pass goes a forward, a penalty be awarded to the opposing side. 

The Tap
Play is started by a tap at the beginning of each half, following a touchdown and when a penalty is awarded.

  • The tap is performed by an attacking player placing the ball on the ground, touching the ball with their foot, then picking it up and playing. NB: The ball must be released from the hands and come into contact with the ground or a change of possession occurs.
  • The defensive team must stay at a minimum distance of 10 metres from the mark during the tap, unless they are positioned on their own scoreline.
  • The defensive players can move after the ball carrier has touched the ball with his foot.
  • The player who has performed the tap may be touched without losing possession.
  • The attacking side must be positioned behind the ball when it is tapped.
  • The attacking side may move the ball up to 10 metres directly behind the given mark when taking a penalty tap. In this case, the defending side must still remain 10-metres from the original mark, not the new mark.

The Penalty
When a player/team is penalised the non offending team shall restart play with a tap. The tap is taken at the mark and the defending team must retire ten metres from the mark until the ball has been tapped. Play restarts with a tap when the following infringements occur:

  • Forward Pass
  • Touch and Pass
  • Rollball performed off the mark
  • Defenders offside at the rollball (5 metres)
  • Defenders offside at the tap (10 metres)
  • Defender does not retreat in a straight line to an onside position.
  • More than six players on the field
  • Incorrect substitution
  • Falsely claiming a touch (Phantom touch)
  • Using more than the minimum force to make a touch
  • General Misconduct

A means of restarting play. Players must perform the rollball on the mark while facing their opponent's defending scoreline and rolling the ball backwards between their legs a distance of not more than one metre. Players must not delay performing the rollball.

The Touch
Players from both teams are permitted to effect the touch. A touch is contact with any part of the body, ball, clothing or hair. A minimum of force is to be used at all times. The team in possession is entitled to 6 touches.

Touch and Pass
A player is not to pass the ball after a touch has been made.

The Acting Half
The Half (a.k.a previously dummy-half) is subject to a number of restrictions that do not apply to other players:

  • If the Half is touched with the ball, the attacking team loses possession.
  • The Half cannot score a touchdown. Attempting to do so results in a change of possession.
  • If the Half takes too long to retrieve the ball the referee can call play on and defenders are allowed to move forward before the Half has touched the ball.

After a touch has been made all defending players must retire 5 metres from the mark. Defenders cannot move forward until the dummy half has touched the ball.

If a player with the ball touches or crosses the sideline s/he is deemed to be out of play and a change of possession occurs. Play restarts with a rollball 5 metres in from where the player went out. If a touch is made before the player goes out, the touch counts.

Players of the attacking team are not to obstruct defending players from attempting to effect a touch. Defending players are not to obstruct/interfere with attacking players supporting the ball carrier.

The Field of Play
The field is 70m long (scoreline to scoreline) and 50m wide. Associations may alter the size of the field to suit their particular requirements. Substitution boxes measuring 20m in length shall be situated on both sides of the field at halfway. The Touchdown zone is the area beyond the scoreline.

Team Composition

  • The teams can be male, female or mixed.
  • Each team can consist of up to 14 players, of which 6 players can be on the field at any one time.
  • Mixed teams typically comprise 3 females and 3 males on the field at one time. There must be at least 3 females on the field at any one time.


  • Substitutions can be made any number of times throughout the match. However, the game remains continuous and does not stop to allow substitutions.
  • Players coming onto the field must wait until the player they are substituting with has come off the field. Failing to do so may result in a penalty for having too many players on the field.
  • Players in a team who are not on the field must remain inside their allocated substitution box until they come onto the field
  • Players can only enter the field in an onside position.

The Toss
The captain winning the toss shall receive possession of the ball and a choice of direction and substitution box for the first half. The Referee will supervise the toss.

Game Duration
The standard duration is 40 minutes (two x 20 minute halves) with a 5 minute halftime, though other time frames are often used to suit local conditions and competitions

Extra Time and the Drop Off
When a match is drawn and a single winner is required, extra time is played and teams drop off players every two minutes until down to 3. The first team to score a Touchdown wins the match.

Player Attire
All team members must be correctly attired in team uniforms. Footwear with moulded soles are permitted. Bare feet, spikes and footwear with screw-in studs are not permitted. Players are not permitted to wear any item of jewellery or any item the referee may deem unsafe. One point will be deducted for teams not in full uniform and it is at the Referee's discretion as to whether the player(s) not in uniform is allowed on the field.

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 match. All officials, players and coaches involved in the match are under the control of the referee.


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