Referee's Resources

Referee signals

Referee signals are an important communication tool. Only those few players close to you will hear clearly the decisions made by most referees, however everyone is able to see them. The use of signals allows buddy referees, players, coaches and spectators to understand the rulings made by the referee.

We are working on updated guidance on hand signals – please check back soon!

In the meantime you can get an idea of some of the signals from these helpful videos created by our neighbours in Touch France! [The English translation should be in all of the titles but get in touch if you have any questions].


Click here to review the rules of the game, and to see advanced guidance on rule interpretations.

Abuse or misconduct

Advice on discipline issues and misconduct can be found here.

Game Time


1. Be punctual and make sure you have all your required equipment needed to referee a game (correct uniform, badge, whistle, coin, pen, scorecard) please remember that NO jewellery is to be worn by referees on the field (with the exception of a watch covered by a sweatband) and no sharp fingernails are allowed.
2. Always stretch and warm up before a game. This ensures you’ll be physically and mentally ready for the game.
3. All referees are responsible for the safety of the players and the game officials (referees) that are participating in a game. The match referee should at all times be aware of situations that may cause potential injury and assess those risks and act in a responsible manner to eliminate those risks.
4. Assess the condition of the playing surface; remove potential danger (debris etc) locate all the markers and familiarise yourself with the dimensions of the field. Make sure any safety equipment that is required has been put in position (goal post pads, cones, etc)
5. Address the participating teams or team captains. Explain your requirements and what you expect of each player on field. Explain any rules that may be required by the local authority or body in control of the venue.
6. A coin is the best way to commence a game. It is clear and concise and the fairest for both team captains to decide their team options.


Communication by a referee on the field is to be kept to the highest standard at all times.

1. All directions from the referee should be clear, concise and use the correct terminology.
2. A referee should talk to players (not at them) and communicate with a polite but strong personality and an appropriate voice pitch. This may vary in different game situations.
3. Communicate with team captains and place responsibility on them to inform their players of your directions and decisions.
4. Take the time to answer a question by the team captain.
5. Blow your whistle clearly and loudly.
6. Control the 5-meter offside line and adjust your position accordingly. Most of the play is focused in this area and most decisions are made here.
7. Call players offside and out of play by number identification and look for defending players moving to early to make a touch. Play attacking advantage when you can.
8. Sound the touch count clearly. Keep track of the touch count at all times.
9. Be aware when the half has the ball. A good way to do this is to pinch or cross your fingers together and release them when they release the ball.
10. Be conscious of all roll ball and penalty marks.
11. Be conscious of infringements in the roll ball area for both attacking and defending players.
12. Be aware of boundary lines, score lines and sub box areas and incorrect use of them, control these areas.
13. Issue warnings to offending players on the run to maximize a free-flowing game.
14. Initiate cooling-off periods for offending players when required.
15. Initiate period of time (sin bin) if required to offending players.
16. Initiate a send off for major rule infringements.
17. Make courteous comments to players when appropriate (e.g. good touch, great touchdown, good work getting back on side, honest call well done etc.)
19. Maintain consistency at all times.
20. Always strive for consistent and correct decisions.


The Post Game Procedures are important to confirm all on-field information and to close the game.

1. On completion of the game, announce the score and have the team captains or managers sign the scorecard as accepting the final score, and sign it afterwards.
2. Ensure you pass the scorecards to the tournament organisers and inform them of any incidents or disputes.
3. If you have sent off a player for the remainder of the game, you must complete and submit an incident report sheet.
4. Always stretch and cool down after a game.