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Rugby league infringements
High Tackles
High tackles could secure you a trip to the sin-bin

In rugby league, you can only tackle a player in possession of the ball.

That means you cannot challenge your opponent at any other time.

Sometimes, a player will deliberately get in the way of an opponent without the ball because they think the attacker has a good chance of scoring a try.

If the referee sees this, a penalty will be awarded to the opposition and the defender could find themselves sitting in the sin-bin for 10 minutes after being shown a yellow card.

Foul and dangerous play

The main offences for foul and dangerous play are:

  • Tripping: No player can trip up another player on purpose
  • Striking: No player can hit an opponent with their arm or fist
  • Kicking: No player can kick the ball when an opponent is trying to pick the ball up off the ground
  • Dangerous play: No player can make a challenge to put their opponents at risk on purpose, for example a head-high tackle
  • Using abusive language

    If the referee sees or hears any of these things, an instant penalty will be given.

    A yellow card and a spell in the sin-bin are also likely.

    Tackling offences

    Dangerous play

    Tackling is a huge part of rugby league but it's important to know how to tackle within the laws, so as not to give away a penalty.

    Once the player with the ball has been tackled and brought to ground, the tackler must release them, allowing the opposition to play the ball.

    Sometimes defenders can cleverly hold down the player with the ball to stop them playing the ball quickly.

    But if a referee believes a player is deliberately holding down a player in the tackle, he will award a penalty to the team in possession.


    The sin-bin is the bench where, in theory, all players cool off for 10 minutes after committing a serious foul or showing indiscipline.

    If this happens, the referee shows them a yellow card, just like in football, but the punishment is immediate. They must leave the field straight away.

    The game will continue without the player, putting their team at a disadvantage as they will only have 12 players on the field.

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