Netball: The Rules

Netball Rules

The Court

The court is separated into thirds, separated by 'transverse' lines.

Two goal circles with side nets and back nets


GS - goal circle & goal third
GA - goal circle, goal third & centre third
C - all 3 thirds but not in either goal centre
WA - the attacking goal third & centre third
WD - the defending third & centre third
GD - goal third, centre third & goal circle
GK - goal third & goal circle

Start of the Game

Check for your jewellery & nails (wedding bands and medical alert bands are acceptable, but must be covered if dangerous).

Winner of coin toss either has 1st centre pass or chooses 1st shooting end.

Game starts when centre stands into centre circle.

9 minute quarters, 1 minute rest at each quarter time, half time 2 minutes.

At start of game all players besides the centres must be in respective goal thirds.

At each centre pass once the centre has stepped into the centre circle the umpire must blow the whistle.

When the Centre passes the ball, the ball must touch a player before it touches any net.

If your team is not ready by the time the game is due to start your team will lose 1 goal every 2 minutes until the game begins.

Each player must have played a minimum of THREE league games to qualify for the semi-finals and finals.

Scoring a Goal

Scored when the ball is thrown or battered through the ring within the goal circle.

If a defender deflects a shot for goal and the ball goes through the ring.

If the ball is won at a toss up and the shooter gets the ball in the ring.

If time has been called but the shooter has a penalty pass or shot then the shot must be taken and counts if it goes in the ring.

The Game Rules FREE PASS results in 'free pass' to the non-offending team (no stand down required).

FOOTWORK = Is when the player has taken their landed foot off the ground and put it back on the ground, OR, has hopped on or dragged landed foot.

REPLAYED BALL = Is when the player either bounces the ball to regain possession OR the ball is caught by a player thrown and caught again before any player can touch the ball. If the goal shooter shoots and then re-gains the ball without it first touching the ring or another player.

SHORT PASS = Two players pass the ball to each other without having 3 feet in between each other.

OVER A THIRD = When the ball goes over a third without being touched by any player. This also occurs when the ball is passed from centre third to the back net.

OFFSIDE = Any player with or without the ball may not enter an area that is not their designated area.

PENALTIES results in 'penalty pass' to the non-offending team (offending stand down required).

OBSTRUCTION = A defending player must be 3 feet (0.9m) away from the attackers landed foot even if it has been lifted of the ground.

If an attacker lands on both feet the distance is measure from the closest foot of the attacker to the closest foot of the defender.

A defender may defend or intercept the ball by either jumping upwards or landing inwards as long as they don't fall within 3 feet and interrupt with the throwing action.

If an attacking player steps toward a defender that was set 3 feet away then the defender can continue to defend as long as they don't interrupt the passing action.

CONTACT = no player should contact an opponent, either accidentally or deliberately.

A player cannot move into an opponents landing space.

Player cannot position themselves so closely to an opponent that the player is unable to move without contacting.

A player cannot push, trip or hold an opponent.

A player cannot place hands, knock or remove a ball held by an opponent.

While holding the ball a player cannot push it into an opponent.

If two opposing players simultaneously contact a toss up results.

INTIMADATION = is when a player intimidates an opponent by placing hands in front of the face of the player, or jumping clapping or distracting the player.

NET ABUSE = when any player puts any part of their body on the net.

ADVANCED PENALTY = if a player is deliberately delaying play or disputes with the umpire.


A 'penalty pass' or 'penalty pass or shot' may be taken by any player allowed in the area which the infringer was standing.

The penalised player must stand beside and away from the player taking the penalty, not physically or verbally taking part in the game.

If the above occurs the penalty is reset unless it is a disadvantage to the attacking team.

If a player is out of play (standing down) and another offender infringes then both players stand out of play.

ADVANTAGE = When a rule has been broken by any player on court the advantage rule is considered by the umpire.

If it is an advantage to the non offending team to continue playing without having the infringement pulled up, then the umpire calls the player for advantage.

Examples: offside by non attacking teams, obstruction by defending team but attacking team safely continue play.


Double contact or simultaneous contact.

Umpire in the way/ or didn't see an incident.

Unforseen circumstances on the court.

The 2 players are set 3 feet away from each other facing to the goal they are shooting at.

The umpire will toss the ball up no higher then the tallest players shoulders and blow the whistle.

If one of the players brake before whistle then free pass goes to other player.


There is a Toss Up at beginning of each quarter.

There is no centre pass after each goal - any defender can take the pass from the top of the goal circle.

Ball must be touched by another player in the goal half.

2 points shots are when any attacking players grounded foot lands outside the goal circle and the shot goes in the ring.

There are no thirds the courts is 2 halves.