Quick 2-minute Video Guide
These rules were developed by TRL Australia. It is the responsibility of every player to have read and understood these rules.
1. SPIRIT OF THE GAME
TRL is a social sport aimed at providing a fun and enjoyable environment in which to play the closest non-contact version of Rugby League. Players must conduct themselves in an appropriate fashion at all times and ill-discipline will be dealt with seriously. [Please see Section 26].
It is also expected in TRL that teams not engage in negative (or “game killing”) tactics. This can manifest both when a team is in possession of the football and when a team is defending.
It is expected that a team in possession of the football is looking to attack and score whilst in possession. Teams must therefore be “using the ball” at all times. Teams deemed not to be “using the ball” will be warned and if there is not an immediate lift in the intensity of the attacking team, or a demonstrable intention to attack, a penalty will ensue.
It is also expected that the defending team are always trying to make the touch (especially when the attacking team is attacking inside the defensive team’s 8 metre zone). If defenders are deliberately moving backwards towards the try-line (so as to frustrate the attack) or not attempting to make the touch, the referee may use all disciplinary powers at his/her disposal ranging between a warning and a sin-bin. A sin-bin will ensue when a team has been deliberately engaged in these negative game killing tactics on multiple occasions during the game. Similarly, if the defending team engages in other negative tactics such as deliberate “shadowing” or any other attempts to frustrate the attack, a sin-bin may ensue where this has occurred on multiple occasions during the game.
2. FIELD DIMENSIONS
Fields will vary depending on the location but as a general guide, each field will have a width of at least 40 metres and a length of at least 60 metres.
3.1. Teams are to be in the same colour shirts/singlets.
3.2. Teams are to have numbers on these shirts/singlets.
3.3. Bonus points will be on offer for teams that have satisfied 3.1 and 3.2. However, teams that do not satisfy 3.1 and 3.2 will still be able to participate in most circumstances.
3.4. A player who is not in at least the same coloured jersey may be refused entry onto the field if the referee feels that he/she will not be able to distinguish that player from the opposition.
4. TEAM COMPOSITION
4.1. Mens: 6 people on the field; plus up to 7 reserves (13 players total)
4.2. Mixed: 7 people on the field; plus up to 6 reserves (13 players total). A maximum of 4 on-field players can be male.
5.1. At the beginning of each season, individuals must register in order to play TRL. Individual registration can be done online – instructions will be emailed to the team captain upon the team’s registration.
5.2. A player is registered when they have registered online agreeing to the terms and conditions. Registration for one-off games must still be made online.
5.3. It is the responsibility of the player to ensure they are registered.
5.4 .Teams are able to register a maximum of 13 players but must do so before the start of their Week 8 fixture. Anyone not registered at that point cannot play finals football in weeks 9 and 10.
6.1. Insurance – All registered players are covered by TRL’s insurance policy. In the event of injury, please ensure you report this to both the match referee and the Venue Manager on the night of the injury (this is critical).
6.2. Even minor injuries/potential injuries must be reported. A failure to report the injury to either the referee or competition manager on the night of the incident may void that player’s right to make a claim.
6.3. To make a claim, please contact TRL. You must be a registered player to make a claim.
7.1. Games are to run for 45 minutes in total (2 x 20 minute halves with 2 minutes for half-time, and three minutes at the end of the game set aside for signing the scoresheet and any other administrative tasks).
7.2. Should the game start late for whatever reason, the half-time break can be reduced at the discretion of the referee.
8.1. A Mens team must have a minimum of 4 players to field a team.
8.2. A Mixed team must have a minimum of 5 players to field a team (minimum of 1 female).
8.3. A team has 5 minutes from kick-off to take the field. If the team is late, the opposition will be awarded 1 try for every minute it is late after that 5 minute period has elapsed. If after 10 minutes, the other team has still not taken to the field (with the minimum numbers required), the game will be forfeited unless the opposition captain agrees to play in what time is left. If the opposition captain agrees to play, their team will have a 5-0 headstart.
8.4. Forfeited games equate to a 5-0 scoreline in favour of the non-forfeiting team. The non-forfeiting team will also obtain a ‘win’ as well as one bonus point (5 points total).
9 . COMPETITION POINTS/BONUS POINTS/IN-GAME POINTS
9.1. A win is worth 4 points. A loss is worth 0 points. A draw is worth 2 points.
9.2. A bonus point can be obtained from scoring 5 tries or losing a game by 1 point.
9.3. A maximum of 3 bonus points can be obtained by a team in one game (does not include uniform bonus points).
9.4. 1 “in-game’ point per try for male tries (Mens and Mixed). 1 “in-game” point per try for female tries (Women’s only). 2 “in-game” points for female tries (Mixed only).
9.5. 1 bonus point per week from weeks 4-8 where entire team is in perfect uniform (identical shirts with permanent numbers).
10.1. No jewellery or watches may be worn. The referee will ask that all players remove such items before the start of play. It is the players’ responsibility to ensure they are not wearing such items.
10.2. Fingernails must be trimmed.
10.3. Only prescription glasses are allowed – sunglasses are not allowed. A player wearing prescription glasses does so at their own risk and will accept responsibility for any injuries that are inflicted upon any other player.
10.4. The referee is to ensure that any injury is attended to as soon as possible.
10.5. Any player that experiences a loss of blood will be ordered from the field and will need to clear or remove the blood in order to return to the game.
10.6. Players must be at least 16 years of age to play Senior TRL. [It is the responsibility of the captain to ensure appropriate steps are taken to gain relevant parental/guardian approval for any player that is aged 16 – 17 and to ensure no player is under the age of 16].
10.7. Player safety when extreme weather (electrical storm) occurs is paramount. Venue Managers will use available specific information from official weather services to determine threats. If specific information is unavailable, the 30 Seconds Rule will be invoked. If the time elapsed between observing lightning and hearing the associated thunder is 30 seconds or less, play will be suspended until such time that more than 30 seconds passes between the lightning flashing and there being associated thunder. The decision to suspend/cancel play in the event of an electrical storm rests solely with the Venue Manager.
The referee has the power to penalise a player for misconduct. What constitutes misconduct is a matter for the referee to decide. It includes but is not limited to striking another player, being over-zealous with the touch, verbal abuse directed at another player or the referee, time-wasting/deliberately slowing down the game, and, any action which is deemed not to be in the spirit of the game.
Please note, if a player strikes another player, the game will most likely be abandoned and “called off”. TRL takes such incidents extremely seriously. Any player or spectator involved in any violent act will be banned from TRL unless their are extenuating circumstances (please see 26.3).
Unlimited substitutions can be made but these must be made from the middle of the field and on one side of the field between the two substitution markers on halfway. Players coming onto the field must not enter onto the field until the other player has crossed the sideline. A failure to abide by these rules may result in a penalty to the non-infringing team on halfway (or where they have the ball – whichever provides the most advantage).
13. THE TOUCH
13.1. A touch will be affected once the defensive player has called ‘touch’ BUT in instances where the ‘touch’ is obvious to all parties involved, this will not be necessary.
13.2. A deliberate touch can only be made with the hand or upper part of the body. You can not deliberately make a touch with your foot or leg and doing so may be considered a serious offence.
13.3. A collision of two players will be deemed ‘touch on contact’. A ‘touch on contact’ can involve any part of the human body if non-deliberate. However, if an attacking player initiates the touch with his/her hand, this will be deemed a ‘voluntary touch’.
13.4. “Phantom Touches” whereby a player calls a ‘touch’ and then subsequently calls a ‘no-touch’ will be penalized. It is not beyond the discretion of the referee to call a penalty try in such instances.
13.5. If a player is touched and then passes or kicks the ball, this will be deemed a “touch pass/kick” and a penalty to the opposition will be granted.
13.6. If a defender calls “touch” before they actually touch the attacker, they are to be penalized. Likewise, if a defender grabs an attacker/impedes the attacker as they go to catch the ball this will also be deemed to be a penalty.
13.7 If a defender “balks” a touch (reaches their hand out to feign making a touch, and then withdraws without making a touch to draw an attacking player into playing the ball) this will be penalised.
13.8 “Rough touches” whereby a player intentionally uses force to slow down the play the ball or place an attacking player off balance will be penalised.
14. ROLL BALL
14.1. The play the ball must be made with the foot. A failure to touch the ball with the foot will result in a penalty to the opposition. The ball must also be rolled backwards and not simply touched/tapped with the foot.
14.2. The play the ball must also be made on the point of being touched or within one step of that point – this area being called the ‘mark’. Players will be penalized for running off the mark before playing the ball. The exception to this rule is when the play the ball occurs within 8 metres of the opponent’s try-line. In such instances the play the ball can be taken backwards to the 8 metre line.
14.3. The defending team cannot advance forward from the off-side line (8 metres point) until the dummy half has touched the ball. However, dummy half (if present – see 14.5) must pick up the ball immediately after it has been played. If dummy half delays for whatever reason in picking the ball up, he/she may be penalised. Penalties for “dummy half delaying” will be enforced especially where there has been a deliberate attempt by dummy half (in delaying) to catch the defender “shooting” early. NOTE: “Shooting” by the defensive line before dummy half has touched the ball is a penalty.
14.4. The player playing the ball must do so as soon as practically possible after being touched. As a guide, it is expected that the player playing the ball does so within 2 seconds of being touched unless circumstances warrant a longer period of time being granted – e.g. if a break is made down field against the run of play. A decision to grant more than two seconds leniency is at the referee’s discretion. An unnecessary delay in playing the ball can be penalized.
14.5. If the ball is played with no dummy half present, as long as a player from the same team is attempting to get to the ball, the defensive line will still not be allowed to move off the line until the ball is touched by the dummy half. If there is no effort from the attacking team to get to the ball, the referee may blow a penalty for “dummy half delaying”.
14.6 The person playing the ball must be square until the dummy half has touched the ball. This means that the person playing the ball cannot “split” to one side of the ruck in an attempt to create an extra attacking player before the defence can advance.
15. ‘SPILT MILK’
15.1. TRL incorporates the rule of spilt milk (i.e. if the ball is dropped forwards or backwards, possession is turned over to the opposition).
15.2. The restart of a new set of six after a dropped ball is to be started upon the referee’s whistle or call.
15.3. Kicks may touch the ground.
15.4. ‘Advantage’ will be enforced for the attacking team provided the ball has not hit the ground. [i.e. a forward pass, a fumble etc can be capitalised on by the opposition provided the ball does not hit the ground and the referee’s whistle has not been blown].
16.1. The kick-off consists of a “must take” kick (a bomb kick) taken from before half way and occurs at the start of each half and after a try is scored. A “must take” kick is one that must be caught on the full, by the receiving team.
16.2. For the “must take” kick to be deemed a bomb, it must travel at least 15 metres vertically and 8 metres forward.
16.3. The opening kick-off will be decided by rock, paper, scissors.
16.4. Subsequent kick-offs are performed by the non-scoring team (i.e. the non-scoring team kicks to the scoring team).
16.5. One attempt is permitted, and if the ball goes out of play or fails to go more than 8 metres forward and 15 metres vertically, then the receiving team gets a tap kick at halfway.
16.6. The team that kicks the ball must provide an 8 metre gap for the player who is attempting to catch the ball (i.e. the team kicking off cannot re-gather the ball or put any pressure on the catcher).
16.7. If the ball is not caught then the receiving team then performs another “must take” kick.
16.8. A maximum of two kick-offs applies. If after two kick-offs, no-one has managed to take the ball cleanly, it will be a tap on halfway to the team that was to receive the original and first kick-off.
17. KICKING IN GENERAL PLAY
17.1. Kicking is permitted in TRL on ANY touch.
17.2. Kicks can go any height and any distance.
17.3. If a kick goes out on the full, the non-kicking team will be able to tap the ball from where it was kicked.
17.4. Note that if the kicker re-gathers his/her own kick, he/she cannot score. Another player on the field must play at and touch the ball to lift this restriction.
17.5. Offside off a kick: A player that is in front of a teammate that has kicked the ball, can be run onside by the kicker, otherwise must stay at least 8 metres away from where the opposition first touches the ball.
17.6 If an attacker in possession of the ball, drops it (even if intentionally) on their knee, shin, thigh or heel and puts it through the defensive line, this will be deemed “spilt milk” and a loss of control. If the ball has already been kicked and a player attempts to kick the ball and connects with the knee, shin, thigh or heel, this will be deemed play on and a “kick”.
18. AFL RULE (MEN’S & WOMEN’S ONLY)
18.1. If the attacking team puts a kick into the in-goal area and a member of that team catches that ball on the full landing in the in-goal area, this will be deemed a try. The catcher must be on-side when the kicker kicks the ball.
18.2. What is important is that the person catching the ball lands in the in-goal. (i.e. they can leap from the field of play).
18.3. The ‘mark’ must be a clean catch. If the ball touches another player’s hands etc when it comes down, the AFL Rule does not apply.
18.4. (New Rule from 31.1.22) The kick itself must travel at least 2 metres vertically. Any kick lower than this will mean the AFL Rule does not apply.
19.1. A player cannot use a teammate to shield (shepherd) themselves from being touched. A referee may allow a team to play on if convinced that the ‘shepherd’ has not influenced the play in anyway.
19.2. A player can not use their foot to obstruct another player from playing at the ball when it is on the ground (i.e. cannot stand on the ball to shield it from a defensive player). This most commonly occurs in the in-goal area.
19.3 A player cannot run an opposing player off the ball when chasing a kick. The referee should be playing advantage in this instance, with a penalty being given against the offending team where the infringement occurred.
20. DEFENSIVE LINE & OFFSIDE
20.1. The defensive team must retreat 8 metres back from the point where the attacker was touched. The team must make it back to the referee. Retreating/defensive player must come back in a straight line (i.e. must not deviate or change direction when tracking back the 8 metres from the point where the attacker was touched).
20.2. The defensive team must get at least one foot on or behind the line. [This rule replaces the previous rule requiring players to get two feet back behind the line].
20.3. Failure to make it back 8 metres and to the referee will result in a penalty to the attacking team.
20.4. The referee can play advantage in this instance by stating ‘play-through’ or ‘advantage’. This means the ball carrier can keep running as he/she has been touched by a person in an off-side position. When the ball-runner is finally touched by a person in an on-side position, the attacking team will be granted a penalty and a new ‘set-of-six’ will commence.
20.5. Repeated off-side infringement is a sin-binnable offence.
20.6. The defensive team (once dummy half has picked up the ball) must advance forward towards the attacking team. The defensive team cannot stay on their line although a stricter application of this rule will be applied to defenders close to the ruck. [Please note that the attacking team must also be “using the ball” in an attacking manner and cannot be at a standstill either – see 1. Spirit of the Game].
Charge-downs are permitted and are the chief exception to the spilt milk rule. However, there must be a deliberate attempt to charge the ball down. The referee must be convinced that the player making the charge-down intended to do this and was not simply putting his/her hands up in the air in an attempt to catch the ball or protect themselves from injury.
22. DUMMY HALF
22.1. Dummy half CAN get touched.
22.2. Dummy half CAN score in TRL if the point of the last touch occurred more than 8 metres from the opponent’s try-line. If the last touch has occurred within 8 metres of the try-line, dummy half cannot score (unless they have passed or kicked to another player who has then passed or kicked the ball back to them). If dummy half places the ball down in an attempt to score (where the last touch was inside the 8 metres) the referee will simply award a touch and ask that the player take it back 5 metres for a roll ball (i.e. no penalty will ensue).
23. IN-GOAL AREA & DROP-OUTS
23.1. If the ball is kicked ‘dead’ by the attacking team (over the dead-ball line), the non-kicking team then has a tap from the middle of the field, 8 metres out from the try-line.
23.2. If defensive team is touched in their in-goal, they must perform a drop-out (which cannot be re-gathered).
23.3. If the drop-out goes over the sideline, it is a simple roll ball from where it went out to the receiving team.
23.4. If the drop-out goes over the sideline on the full, it is a tap to the receiving team on the 8 metre line in the middle of the field.
23.5. If the drop-out goes out over the dead-ball line at the other end of the field (contingent on it first landing within the field of play) the other team must perform a drop-out.
23.6. If the attacking team is touched in-goal before the last touch, they are entitled to bring the ball back to the 8 metre line for a roll-ball as if they got touched on the 8 metre line. If it is the last, then it is simply a turnover.
23.7. If the defensive team catches the ball on the full in the in-goal area then they must bring the ball to the 8 metre line for a tap. There is no election on the part of the catcher, he/she cannot run with the ball out of the in-goal.
23.8 There is no minimum distance that a drop-out is required to travel.
24. VOLUNTARY TOUCH
24.1. If the ball runner puts his hand out and touches the defending player, this will be deemed a voluntary touch if the defending player is in an onside position. The result will be a turnover of possession and a penalty to the other team. The ball runner does not need to have played the ball for a ‘voluntary touch’ to have occurred.
24.2. If a player is in possession of the ball but not moving (or on the ground) and puts his/her hand out to more or less protect themselves from an oncoming collision, this will not be a ‘voluntary touch’. This is a matter for the referee’s discretion.
24.3. If the ball runner puts his hand out and touches the defending player who is in an off-side position, by touching that player, the ball runner has put that defending player onside and a touch will have been affected (i.e. no penalty for off-side and no penalty for ‘voluntary touch’).
24.4. However, if the off-side defender changes direction so as to impede the ball runner, this will be deemed an offence and the defending team will be penalized for being off-side.
25. PLAYING AT A BALL THAT HAS BEEN PASSED OR KICKED
25.1. If a pass is thrown and a defensive player makes a play at the ball knocking it to the ground, the passing team will receive a new set of 6.
25.2. If a pass is thrown and a defensive player merely is going for the touch and the ball ricochets off that defensive player onto the ground, the defending team will receive the ball. It is the passer’s responsibility to find his/her target.
25.3. However, if the defending player ‘hedges a bet each way’ and goes for both the touch and sticks the other hand out to deflect any pass, this will also be deemed to be playing at the ball and the referee will order a new set of 6 to the passing team. This is a matter for the referee’s discretion.
25.4. A pass cannot hit the ground and must be caught cleanly. So if a ball is thrown into a player’s torso, head or even foot, and it ricochets off onto the ground, the game stops and possession is handed to the defending team for a new set of 6 unless it is the defending player the ball has ricocheted off and that player has also played at the ball.
25.5. A kick can hit the ground. In addition, if a kick goes into someone’s torso, head, upper arm (above elbow) or even foot, it will be play on even if that player has played at the ball.
25.6. However, if a kick goes into someone’s hand (below elbow), it becomes critical as to whether the player has played at the ball or not. If the ball has been played at, unless it is a charge-down, the game stops and possession is handed to the team that has not touched the ball. If the ball has not been played at, it is play on.
26.1. Dissent/Abuse – The referee’s decision is final. Dissent will not be tolerated and will always be penalized. Continued or unacceptable dissent by a player can be punishable by forced substitution, sin bin (5 minutes), or send off (whole game). In either case, the infringing team will lose a player from the field. That player must stand on his own dead-ball line in the middle of the field.
26.2. Serious Offences – Serious offences such as striking another player and continued dissent to the referee will be reported by the referee to TRL. Depending on the nature of the offence, a suspension may be invoked. TRL will be in contact with the offending team’s captain after the round to discuss the matter and will take necessary steps to ensure no further infringements will occur. TRL also reserves the right to ban a player from the competition and future competitions if the player poses a danger to other players.
26.3. Please note, TRL has a Zero tolerance policy when it comes to acts of violence. TRL takes such incidents extremely seriously. Any player or spectator involved in any violent act will be banned from TRL. The ban will in most cases, be for life and only if there are extenuating circumstances, will that player/spectator be allowed to return. TRL will also escalate such incidents to the police where required.
26.4. Off-field Matters – The referee’s jurisdiction extends to the sidelines of the field he/she controls. Breaches of discipline are treated the same as if they have occurred on the field.
26.5. Post-game Matters – The referee’s jurisdiction also extends to incidents that may occur after the game has concluded. If an offence occurs after the final whistle, this will be reported and dealt with appropriately, by TRL.
27. FINALS & MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS
27.1. (New Rule from 31.1.22) In the event that a Grand Final is drawn at the end of full-time, the teams will immediately enter a 2 minute period (but with one less player) of golden point (i.e. first team to score wins). If the scores are still level at this point, the teams will enter another 2 minute period but again, lose another player. This process will continue until we are left with three players. At this point, the game is continued until we have a winner. [In the mixed divisions, the decision as to whether to drop a male or female is entirely up to the team although a team must have at least one female player on at all times].
27.2. (New Rule from 31.1.22) In the event that a Semi Final is drawn at the end of full-time, the teams will immediately enter a 2 minute period (but with one less player) of golden point (i.e. first team to score wins). If the scores are still level at this point, the teams will enter another 2 minute period but again, lose another player. If the scores are still level at this point, the teams will enter a final 1 minute period with another player being removed. If the game is still drawn after the entire 5 minute period, the team that finished higher after the regular season progresses to the Grand Final.
27.3. INTOXICATION – Nobody is allowed to consume alcohol or drugs at the grounds (spectator or otherwise). Any players found to be drinking or drug taking will be asked to leave the premises and will be subject to rules under “Section 26: Discipline”. Furthermore, no player under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be allowed onto the field.
27.4. Forward Pass – A forward pass is a pass thrown towards the opponent’s dead-ball line.
27.5. Ball out of play – A ball is only out of play when it (or a person in possession of the ball) has touched the sideline, deadball line or touched the ground outside the bounds of play.
27.6. Grounding the ball – If an attacker and defender simultaneously ground a ball in the in-goal, it will be deemed a try to the attacking team (i.e. benefit of the doubt to the attacking team).
27.7. COVID-19 – TRL will comply with any public health order mandated at any particular point in time. Currently any person with COVID-19 or COVID-like symptoms must not participate in any TRL game or attend any TRL venue as a player, spectator or otherwise.
28. RULE VARIATIONS FOR TRL REPRESENTATIVE TOURNAMENTS
28.1. The rules listed in this section apply only to sanctioned TRL Representative Tournaments and not weekly Social Competitions. [These currently include the QLD State Championships, NSW State Championships, City v Country Championships, Australian Championships and State of Origin Championships].
28.2. All divisions (Men’s, Mixed and Women’s) will have 6 players on the field. For Mixed divisions, a maximum of 3 male players will be allowed on the field at any one time.
28.3.Teams can have a maximum of 16 players registered to their team but only 13 of these players may take the field during any particular game. .
28.4. Any try scored directly off an attacking kick will be awarded 2 points in all divisions.
28.5. Any dissent, verbal abuse or aggressive physical contact with any official or other player has the potential to result in a suspension from playing in a designated number of games as handed down by the Tournament Director.
28.6. Semi Finals will be treated the same way as Grand Finals are treated within regular competitions (i.e. once teams reduced to 3 v 3, the teams will continue to play until there is a result). For Quarter Finals, teams will drop off per standard Finals rules and if scores are still locked at the end of 5 minutes, the team that finished higher will advance to the Semi Finals.