Ausball provides an opportunity for all Australian Football enthusiasts to participate in a game that has strong parallels with the traditional game. It is low contact and is not as physically demanding as the full game. It can be played by all ages and genders and, most importantly, has an emphasis on fun and safety.

All Major League Footy clubs are required to operate a standardized Ausball program for recruiting and development, using these standardized game-play rules.

Ausball’s core mission is SEF – Safety, Education and Fun. Please abide by this principle at all times!

Safety – No matter what the game, there is always a risk of injuries, which are a great way to ruin our third principle – Fun. Please always consider your friends and opponents and hold their health in highest regard. Decisions made in the interest of player safety hold precedence over all other rules.

Educate people about the basics of Australian Football and allay some of the common misconceptions about the game (it’s not Rugby!) and let them know what a cool game it is. It really is a great game to play and isn’t nearly as crazy as most Americans think.

Fun – Have some. It’s a co-ed, modified version of a great game. We know you can’t help being competitive, but keep it in perspective and make sure you and everyone else is having fun. It’s not the Super Bowl!

By doing everything in your power to provide a non-congested, free-flowing game, you will be doing your best to ensure the SEF principle.

Ausball Rules

Field: 100 x 60 yards. Field can be shortened or lengthened accordingly upon coaches of both teams agreeing to a length before gameAUSB_FIELD

Players: 9-a-side on the field, with a minimum of 3 females. In the advent a team is short of players, they must have a minimum of 6 (3 females) to be able to play a game. The opposing team will be allowed to have one extra player on the field than the team that is short (or as agreed to by captains)

Field Positions: Remember this is entry level, so use terms that the target market is familiar with, these being offense, midfield and defense. 3 players are in each area. Players must be in their areas at the commencement of each half and after a goal has been scored, but once the ball is in play, are free to run anywhere on the field (note, abiding by offside rule).

Season Length: 3 weeks of round robin, 1 week of playoffs (recommended – allow a couple of weeks for rainouts). In the event of a rainout, that week’s games will be played at the end of the season. If there have been 2 rainouts, any additional rainouts will result in the canceling of that week’s games.

Passing: The ball can only be passed by either handballing or kicking it. The ball cannot be thrown!

Possession: Once you gain possession of the ball, you have 3 seconds to either hand pass or kick the ball to a teammate. The umpire will call out one thousand, two thousand, three thousand as the “clock”. Once they finish saying three thousand, the player must be in the action of disposing of the ball.

The only exception to this is when you catch a kick (no minimum distance) and from the spot you caught the ball, you can have up to 10 seconds to take your time, steady, then pass the ball to a teammate or kick for goal. However, once you move on from the spot where the ball was caught, you now have only 3 seconds to dispose of the ball.

An opposition player can stand on the “mark” where the ball was caught or free kick awarded. The player with the ball must back up and give themselves enough room to kick over the opposition player. If the opposition player moves over the “mark” before the player in possession has kicked or played on, a fifteen yard penalty is awarded.

Contact: The “spirit” of the game is non-contact & the ball should always be the focus, not another player. However, some incidental contact is unavoidable. Anything that is deemed too rough or unnecessary will be penalized. Tackling is not allowed, but if you touch (called a tag) a player in possession of the ball, they must dispose of it immediately (the umpire will call “tagged”) regardless of whether their 3 seconds is up or not. You can also block a handball or kick but you cannot knock the ball out of someone’s hands and must give them a chance to dispose of the ball by giving them enough room to do so. Intent must always be for the ball and not the player.

NOTE; Once tagged, a player cannot kick a goal. If they do, a point will be awarded.
There is no reason that a player should be grappling, jostling or bumping an opponent.

Rough play: Anything deemed too rough will be penalized with a free kick against the offending player. Even if a players intent is for the ball, player safety always comes first.

No going to ground rule – As a safety precaution, you cannot dive to gain possession of the ball and must gather it up in a crouching, upright position.

Off side rule: A line is marked out across the center of the ground. Each team must have a minimum of 3 players either side of this line. This stops all players converging on the ball (increasing risk of injury) but is not restricted to specific players, meaning that all players have the opportunity to run the full length of the ground, provided they communicate with teammates to have their 3 players on either half.

Prior Opportunity: If a players is deemed to have had prior opportunity to dispose of the ball & gets tagged, they will be penalized for holding the ball

Mark rule: When the ball is kicked down field, if there are opposing players in the vicinity of where the ball will land, the umpire is to call out the color of the team in the best position to mark (refer to AFL9’s Drop Zone rule video). Opposing players are still allowed to go for the mark, but they must not make contact with the designated player or they will be penalized.

Safety rule – in the event that the umpire anticipates what they think could be a potentially dangerous collision between players converging on the ball at the same time, they will blow the whistle and call “safety”. On hearing the whistle, players must halt their pursuit on the ball. Play will re-commence by a ball up at the position play was stopped.

Scoring: At either end of the field, there are 4 upright poles. 2 large ones in the center and two smaller ones on the outside. To score a goal you must KICK the ball between the taller, center poles.

A goal is worth 6 points and it can sail through high in the air or bounce through, as long as no-one touches the ball after it has been kicked. If the ball is touched, or goes through between one of the taller poles and an outside smaller pole, it is called a behind and worth one point. A typical score could be:
Team A: 5 goals (30), 4 behinds (4) = 34 points
Team B: 4 goals (24), 7 behinds (7) = 31 points

After a goal is scored, play recommences in the center of the field with a tip off like in basketball (this is also how each half begins). If a behind is scored, the defensive team kicks the ball back into play 10 yards from their goal line. If the offensive team regains possession, they must again transition through a female before a goal can be scored.

Gender rule – Once the ball passes into a teams forward half, it must pass through a female before a goal can be scored (in other words, she must handball or kick). If a goal is kicked without a female gaining prior possession, a behind (1) will be awarded. If the ball is in a teams forward half and is taken out over the center line and into defense, but the team regains possession of the ball and brings it back into their forward half, it must again be possessed by a female before a goal can be scored.

Out of bounds: If the ball goes out of the playing area, a free kick is awarded against the team to last touch the ball. A tip off results if the umpire cannot determine who last touched the ball

Turnovers: Are not penalized. Therefore if a player hand passes or kicks the ball and it hits the ground, it is play on and whoever gathers the ball next wins possession of the ball and the game continues. Any “lock ups” between two opposing players grabbing the ball at the same time will result in a ball up.

Tip offs (or ball-ups): Any “lock ups” between two opposing players grabbing the ball at the same time will result in a tip off. Players jump for the ball from a standing start & must tap the ball out (they cannot grab it). Intent must be for the ball & no intentional contact should be made with the opposing player. Where possible players should be of the same sex & height & contests should be rotated from males to females.

No kicking off the ground: Players are not allowed to kick the ball (soccer it) off the ground. The ball must be picked up & either handballed or kicked by dropping it from your hands to your foot.

Poor Sportsmanship (Yellow and Red Cards)
In the event a player generally behaves in an unsportsmanlike manner, such as the actions described below, the umpire has the right to determine an appropriate penalty:

• Repeated and excessive contact in contests to win the ball or in the process of tagging players.
• Any form of abuse or back chat to officials, opponents or teammates.

In the case that an umpire is confronted with any of the situations listed above they have four options:

1. Award a free kick to the opposing team.
2. If a free kick has already been given, award a 25-meter penalty, which results in the “mark” being moved 25-meters closer to goal or to the goal line if less than 25-meters away.
3. Present a yellow card to the infringing player and as a result this player must leave the field immediately for a 10-minute period. If the infringement occurs within 10 minutes of half time the remaining time will be served in the 2nd half. The player must wait for the umpires signal before he or she may return to the field. This player can be replaced.
4. Present a red card to the infringing player and as a result this player must leave the field immediately and not return during the game. The player can not be replaced.

If the incident is particularly severe, occurs late in the game or there are additional infringements beyond the issue of the red card, the managing body will revue the incident and may apply further penalties, such as a suspension or banishment from the league.

Game time: 2 x 20 minute halves.


Ball: Size 3 or Size 4 synthetic Australian football.