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Latest update

Community Rugby League memorandum

Thursday, March 4, 2021

This memo is to provide an update on the recent changes to international laws of the game as approved by the Australian Rugby League Commission on Friday, February 26.

A summary of the approved law changes are: 

Premature breaking from the scrum

Where a player(s) break from the scrum before the referee’s call of ‘break’, a full penalty will be awarded to the non-offending team.

The team receiving the penalty will have the option of re-packing the scrum. If the scrum is re-packed and a player(s) again break before the referee is satisfied the ball has emerged correctly from the scrum, a further penalty will be awarded, and one of the offending players will be sent to the sin-bin.  

Play-the-ball restarts after ball or player finds touch

Where play is stopped because the ball or a player in possession of the ball has entered touch in general play, other than a restart (kick-off, goal-line drop-out, 20-metre drop-out or 20-metre optional restart), a 40/20, play will restart with a play-the-ball by the non-offending team.

The position of the play-the-ball will be 20-metres from the touchline and no closer than 10-metres from a goal line.

The referee will give ‘reasonable’ time to restart play

Two-point field goal

Two points will be awarded for a successful field goal kicked during general play from outside the opposition 40-metre line.


These changes will be included in the 2021 International Laws of the Games and Notes and all Foundation Level referee courses will be updated. 

All applicable community rugby league competitions are required to adopt these law changes for 2021 competitions.

Further to this, the ARLC have also approved additional ‘interpretations’ that are generally not for adoption broadly across community rugby league. 

These include: 

  • Six again – ruck and 10-metre infringements
  • Lateral position of scrums
  • Incorrect play the ball

Leagues and associations considering a trial of approved ‘interpretations’ or seeking greater clarity on the approved changes should consult directly with their relevant region.      

Any questions about these changes can be directed to the relevant QRL staff member in your area.