Competition Rules: Netball
This summary covers (1) Rules specific to our competition and (2) a summary of general playing rules.
This is a social competition, and umpires will help to clarify rules wherever possible. If you have any queries, please ask officials before your game or in the breaks.
- Players on court
- Borrowing players
- Player registration/finals eligibility
- Game length
- Player Conduct
- Competition Points
- Variations to Rules
- Rules Summary
- Players on court:
- Total players on court Max 7, Min 5
- Male players on court Max 3, Min 2*
- *A team may play with only 1 male player if they are reduced to 5 or 6 players overall
- Male players must be allocated to different thirds, ie: maximum one male player in GK/GD area, one in C/WD/WA area & one in GS/GA area
- Borrowing players:
- A team may borrow up to two (2) players from other teams to make up numbers.
- Teams may only borrow from the same or lower grade.
- Borrowed player(s) cannot play at centre, goal attack or goal shooter.
- Borrowed players can only be used to make team numbers up to 7 (not as extra subs)
- Umpires or organisers must be notified of a borrowed player prior to the start of the game.
- Borrowed players cannot be used in a semi final or final
- Player registration and Finals eligibility
Players must play at least 1 game and be registered by round 5 (10 week season) or round 7 (12 week season), in order to be eligible for finals. Players can only register for one team on a given night of the week during the season.
- Game Length
Games consist of 4 x 9 minute quarters, with 30 seconds break at quarter time and three quarter time, and 3 minutes break at half time.
To play in our competition, all your team members need the following:
- Suitable sports clothes (uniform shirts are encouraged)
- Netball Bibs* (all teams must have their own set)
- Sports shoes with non-marking soles
- Netball Gloves if required
*Bibs are available for rental at $10 per team per game. If both teams bring the same coloured bibs, an alternative set will be loaned free of charge.
- All jewellery must be removed before you go on the court.
- Fingernails must be cut short, or covered by gloves or tape* to the satisfaction of the umpire.
*Tape is available for sale at the venue for $3 per roll.
Umpires have authority to enforce rules during a game. Their decision is final.
A player may consult umpire during break or before or after game, in order to clarify a ruling. No further discussion beyond this. Umpires may assist new players with rules at any time at their discretion.
8. Player Conduct
Players are required to conduct themselves in a suitable manner. Over aggressive or dangerous play, dissent toward officials & swearing are examples of misconduct. This is covered by the rules of Netball, but players must also abide by the Scoreline Sports Player Code of Conduct.
Sanctions for misconduct may include:
- Advancing a penalty (moving it forward on the court)
- Suspension from the court for a specified period.
- Ordering off for remainder of the game.
- Forfeiting of the game
Competition organisers reserve the right to impose further sanctions after the game, which may include:
- Suspension of player(s) for a number of weeks
- Banning of player(s) from the competition
- Banning of player(s) from the competition
9. Competition Points
Allocated as 2 for a win, 1 for a draw.
Teams may receive adjusted points if they join a comp or switch grades mid-season.
10. Variations to Rules
Competition organisers reserve the right to make variations to rules & sanctions at their discretion, in order to ensure the safety & enjoyment of participants, officials and spectators, & to meet obligations to venue management. All teams will be advised if there are any changes
11. Playing rules summary
(a) Playing positions and their roles on the court
There are seven playing positions in a team. Each has an important role to play for their team:
|Goal Shooter||To score goals and to work in and around the circle with the GA|
|Goal Attack||To feed and work with GS and to score goals|
|Wing Attack||To feed the circle players giving them shooting opportunities|
|Centre||To take the centre pass and to link the defence and the attack|
|Wing Defence||To look for interceptions and prevent the WA from feeding the circle|
|Goal Defence||To win the ball and reduce the effectiveness of the GA|
|Goal Keeper||To work with the GD and to prevent the GA/GS from scoring goals|
(b) Starting the game – centre pass
The first centre pass is decided between the two captains by the toss of a coin. The centre passes then alternate between the teams, regardless of which team has scored.
Before the whistle, all players must start in the goal thirds except the two Centres. The Centre with the ball must be wholly within the Centre Circle and must obey the footwork rule after the whistle has been blown. The opposing Centre stands anywhere within the Centre Third and is free to move.
After the whistle the Centre pass must be caught or touched by a player standing in or landing wholly within the Centre third.
A player must not break at the centre pass, which is moving into the Centre third before the whistle is blown for the Centre pass.
A free pass would be awarded to the opposing team in any of these instances above.
Players must get onside quickly at the centre pass. The Centre with the ball must hurry back to the centre circle and step straight in. If she waits for her players to get back onside, this is called “delaying play”.
This would result in the Centre receiving a caution, a penalty being given and advanced up the court.
(c) Footwork in the centre circle
The footwork rule still applies in the centre circle. As soon as the Centre steps into the circle, their leading leg becomes their landing foot and the footwork rule then applies. That is, if they lift or move their landing foot and place it back down again, a free pass will be awarded to the opposing team due to footwork.
The umpire will blow the whistle to start play once the Centre has placed one foot wholly in the circle.
(c) Offside rule
A player with or without the ball cannot move into an area of the court that is not designated for their position.
This will result in a free pass being awarded to the opposing team.
(d) Footwork (Stepping)
A player can receive the ball:
- With both feet grounded or jump to catch the ball and land on two feet simultaneously. You may then take a step in any direction with one foot (but not both) and pivot on the spot with the other foot. Once one foot is moved, the other is considered to be the landing foot.
- With one foot grounded or jump to catch the ball and land on one foot. The landing foot cannot be moved, other than to pivot on the spot, whilst the other foot can be moved in any direction. Once the landing foot is lifted, it must not be re-grounded until the ball is released.
Hopping or dragging the landing foot is not allowed.
If you break the footwork rule, a free pass will be awarded to the opposing team
A player attempting to intercept or defend the ball must be at least 3ft (1m) away from the player with the ball. This distance is measured from the landing foot of the player in possession of the ball. The defender may jump to intercept or defend the ball from this distance but you must ensure if you do jump to defend a ball, you don’t land any nearer that 3ft or this is obstruction (i.e. shortening your distance).
A penalty pass will be awarded if you obstruct a player as described above.
(g) Obstruction of a player not in possession of the ball
Your arms can be outstretched when you are a marking your player off the ball if you are trying to:
- To catch, deflect or intercept a pass
- To obtain a rebound from an unsuccessful shot at goal
- Momentarily signal for a pass or indicate the intended direction of movement
These instances are not classed as obstruction but you will be penalised if you mark a player with your arms out or potentially if you stand under the post with your arms up whilst waiting for a rebound (although the umpire may choose to play advantage if the opposition aren’t being impeded).
(h) Contact and Contest
‘When attacking, defending or playing the ball, opposing players may come into physical contact with each other. Provided the players do not interfere with each other’s play or use their bodies to gain an unfair advantage over their opponent, it is deemed to be ‘contest’ and play continues. ‘Contact’ occurs when a player’s actions interfere with an opponent’s play whether these are accidental or deliberate.
Interference may occur in the following ways:
- Physical contact using any part of the body to limit an opponent’s ability to move freely (this includes, but is not limited to, pushing, tripping, holding or leaning on an opponent)
- Knocking or hitting a player including when shooting for goal
- Placing hand/s on the ball held by an opponent
- Hitting the ball held by an opponent or removing it from an opponent’s possession
- While holding the ball, pushing it into an opponent
A player causes contact by:
- Landing in a place already occupied by an opponent before the movement began
- Moving into the path of an opponent who’s committed to a particular landing space
Generally, an attacker is moving into a space to receive the ball and a defender is drawn into causing contact when trying to intercept. If the attacker was in that space first, the decision goes their way and against the defender. A defender must be able to intercept the ball cleanly.
However, no contact is allowed off the ball. This includes attackers pushing off, backing into or pushing through a defender to get into space to receive the ball. If the defender was in that space first, then the decision goes their way and against the attacker.
Inevitable contact is described as:
- Player/s, whether moving or stationary, may not position so closely to an opponent that this player is unable to move without contacting
Simultaeneous contact is described as:
- If two opposing players contact simultaneously a toss up is taken between the two players concerned.
The umpire’s role is to watch the game and determine what is ‘contact’ and what is ‘contest’ . It may not always seem obvious to you as a player why a particular decision has been made or why advantage has been played but please respect the decisions that they make.
If interference occurs, the umpire will state:
- which player the penalty is against
- that a penalty pass has been awarded to the opposition
The umpire should stand at the position at the side of the court where they want the penalty to be taken from. If you’re ever unsure where to take the penalty from, you need to look at the positioning of the umpire for guidance.
Failure to set the penalty correctly in this way will result in a reversal of the penalty and a free pass to the opposing team.
A lot of contact disrupts the flow of the game. It also puts your team at a tactical disadvantage because when a player is taken out of play on a penalty, they are not able to contribute to the team’s defence. It’s far better to pull out of a challenge if you think you’re going to contact the player and concentrate on defending the next pass instead.
(i) Penalties against a player
The infringer must stand out of play. This means the infringer must:
- Move quickly to the position indicated
- Stand beside but away from the player taking the penalty so as not to impede that player
- Remain in this position and not move or take any part in play (including verbal comments) until the ball has been released.
Once the player taking the penalty pass is in the correct position, the player may choose either to play the ball immediately or to wait for the infringer to stand out of play. If the player chooses to play the ball immediately:
- The infringer may not take part in play until the ball has been released or make any attempt to intercept the penalty pass
- The penalty pass will be retaken if the infringer interferes with it
Please observe the above rule if a penalty is given against you!
(j) Taking free passes and penalties
You have 3 seconds from setting the free pass/penalty in which to take it. If you decide that another player would be better taking it, you must place the ball back on the floor.
Do not walk towards the other player to pass it to them (footwork) or hand it to them (short pass).
Any player allowed in that area may take the free pass/penalty.
Only the GS and GA are able to score goals for your team. They must be wholly inside the goal circle to shoot.
(l) Throw in
The ball is thrown back into play from the point where it went off the court. It is out of court when it contacts anything outside the court area (except the goalpost).
When taking a throw in, a player places her foot up to but not on the sideline or backline of the court. The lines are part of the court. If any part of your foot is touching the line or you step into the court in the process of taking the throw in, this is deemed to be a foul throw. At least one foot must be within 15cm (6in) of the line though.
This includes walking on the court to pass the ball to another player if you decide that they should take the throw in. In this instance, you should leave the ball on the floor outside the court for the player to then pick up.
You have 3 seconds from when you take up your position at the side of the court in which to throw the ball.
You must also wait until all players are back on the court before taking the throw in.
If any of the above occurs, a throw in to the opposing team will be awarded.
(m) Over a third
The ball cannot be thrown over a complete third of the court without being touched or caught by a player (i.e. it cannot cross two transverse lines).
A free pass shall be taken from the area where the ball crossed the second transverse line (i.e. where the ball shouldn’t have been).
(n) Replayed ball
A player may not replay the ball. Specifically you can’t:
- lose control of the ball and pick it up again if it has not been touched by another player
- catch a rebound from a shot on goal if the ball has not touched the post or another player
- toss the ball into the air and catch it again without it being touched by another player.
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