1. Playing Field
1.1 Footy 9s is played on a full sized rugby field, using rugby posts as the goals. There are no behind posts.
1.2 A line known as the boundary line shall mark the boundary of the playing field.
1.3 The longer line shall be called the side line.
1.4 The shorter line shall be called the goal line.
2.1 Teams consist of 9 players on the field and a maximum of 3 reserves.
2.2 Interchange of players may take place at any time.
2.3 Teams consist of 3 forwards, 3 midfielders and 3 backs.
2.4 At the start of play and after each goal, the midfielders must line up in the centre of the playing field.
2.5 At the start of play and after each goal, the forwards and backs must line up behind the 22 metre line.
2.6 Apart from rules 2.4 and 2.5, players can go anywhere on the field and there is no off-side.
3. Playing Time
3.1 A Footy 9s match shall consist of 4 x 15 minute quarters.
3.2 However, teams can decide to vary the playing time to suit local conditions, an example being 2 x 20 minute halves.
4. Start of Play
4.1 The game is started by a jump ball between two players in the centre of the playing field.
4.2 A player may not grab the ball at the jump ball and play on. They must attempt to knock or tap the ball to another player.
4.3 After a goal, the ball is taken back to the centre and restarted as in rule 4.1.
4.4 At each jump ball, either at the start of the game or after a goal, midfielders are not permitted to have a shot at goal. They must pass, or attempt to pass, the ball to a teammate. Once the ball touches a teammate or opponent, the ball is ‘live’ and a goal can be scored by any player on the field.
4.5 The purpose of rule 4.4 is to ensure that, on a rugby field, scoring does not become so easy that it dilutes the excitement of the game for both players and spectators.
5.1 Goals are scored by kicking the ball through the posts and a worth 1 point.
5.2 If the ball hits or is touched by any player on the field, whether a member of the attacking or defending team, prior to passing through the goals, a goal shall not be scored.
5.3 If the ball hits any part of the posts and continues through the posts, it is a goal.
5.4 If the ball hits any part of the posts and comes back into the field of play, play will continue.
5.5 Goals must be scored from within the attacking team’s own half.
6. Missed Shot for Goal
6.1 After an unsuccessful shot at goal by the attacking team, a member of the defending team shall bring the ball back into play via a kick, from directly in front of the posts.
6.2 When kicking the ball back into play, the player with the ball cannot play on.
6.3 When kicking the ball back into play, the player with the ball shall not be permitted to kick the ball beyond the 50 metre line.
6.4 If the ball is kicked beyond the 50 metre line, a free kick shall be awarded to a member of the opposing team. The free kick will be awarded in the centre of the field, with the player on the mark standing on the 50 metre line.
7. Out of Bounds (side line)
7.1 When the ball goes out of bounds by either foot or hand, anywhere along the side line, the nearest opponent shall kick (not handball) the ball back into play.
7.2 If there is doubt as to which team forced the ball out of bounds, the umpire shall throw the ball up.
7.3 No score will be allowed when kicked from an out of bounds free kick.
8. Corner Kicks – Deliberate Out of Bounds (goal line)
8.1 If a member of the attacking team knocks the ball over the goal line, a member of the defending team shall bring the ball back into play via a kick, from directly in front of the posts.
8.2 However, if a member of the defending team is deemed to have deliberately knocked the ball over the goal line, a free kick (corner kick) will result.
8.3 The corner kick will take place at the intersection of the goal line and side line i.e. the corner of the rugby field.
8.4 Opposition members must be no closer than 10 metres from the player taking the corner kick.
8.5 The player taking the corner kick has two options – to kick the ball to a teammate or to attempt a shot for goal.
8.6 As soon as the player taking the corner kick steps into the field of play, the umpire shall call play on.
9. No Tackling
9.1 No tackling or general rough play is allowed. At no stage are you permitted to be overly physical with an opponent. This rule applies in particular to protect less experienced participants, and those who are new to the game.
9.2 Please remember all players owe a duty of care to each other. Players must approach congested situations with caution rather than hitting them at full pace.
9.3 As it is a non-contact game the following acts are not permitted and will result in an automatic free kick:
a. shoving someone in the back
b. going for hangers (high marks) by jumping on people
c. lifting your knee in a marking contest
d. charging or running through people
e. hard shepherds (soft shepherds by putting your arms out like a basketball screen are OK)
f. holding or grabbing your opponent
g. diving on the ball in the vicinity of other players
i. diving in front of a player in an attempt to smother their kick
Please note it makes no difference whether contact is intentional or not. By way of example, if you dive on the ball and someone falls over you as a result, the free kick will be paid against you. We are here to have fun, not injure each other.
10. Prior Opportunity
10.1 When a player is touched by an opponent, they have a maximum of 3 seconds to dispose of the ball by handballing or kicking. If the player fails to dispose of the ball within this period, possession will be awarded to the other team.
10.2 How much time the umpire allows a player to dispose of the ball depends on the circumstances and is solely at the discretion of the umpire. As an example, midfield players contesting the ball after a jump ball in the centre of the ground will normally be given a bit more time as it is a congested situation.
10.3 If a player has had prior opportunity to dispose of the ball when touched, it is holding the ball and a turnover will occur. An example of this is when a player attempts to evade their opponent in open play, and is touched. In this situation a free kick will be awarded.
10.4 If the umpire deems that a player has been touched at the same time as he/she takes possession of the ball, the player in possession will have the usual 3 seconds to dispose of the ball.
10.5 A legal touch can only occur between the shoulders and knees.
11.1 Any player catching a ball directly from the kick of another player, no matter how small the distance, shall be awarded a mark.
11.2 Contested marks, involving two players going for the ball shoulder to shoulder, are permitted as long as the force is minimal.
11.3 Punching from behind is permitted, provided no contact is made to the player in front.
11.4 If a player is awarded a mark, they can play on immediately or they can stop and take a free kick.
11.5 Any player catching a ball directly from a handball shall not be awarded a mark i.e. play shall continue.
12. Bouncing the Ball
12.1 A player in possession must bounce the ball after running with it for 10 metres.
12.2 A player in possession may bounce the ball only once.
13. Kicking Off the Ground
13.1 A player is not permitted to deliberately kick the ball off the ground.
13.2 If a player makes contact with the ball with his foot during the course of play, and it is deemed accidental, the umpire shall call ‘play on’ and play shall continue.