Prohibited contact and related free kicks.
15.4.5 Prohibited Contact and Payment of Free Kick
A field Umpire shall award a Free Kick against a Player where he or she is satisfied that the Player has made Prohibited Contact with an opposition Player.
A Player makes Prohibited Contact with an opposition Player if he or she:
(a) makes contact with any part of his or her body with an opposition Player;
(i) above the shoulders (including the top of the shoulders or bump to the head); or
(ii) below the knees.
(b) pushes an opposition Player in the back, unless such contact is incidental to a Marking contest and the Player is legitimately Marking or attempting to Mark the football;
(c) holds an opposition Player who is not in possession of the football;
(d) pushes, bumps, blocks, holds an opposition Player or deliberately interferes with the arms of an opposition Player, who is in the act of Marking or attempting to Mark the football;
(e) pushes, bumps, holds or blocks an opposition Player when the football is further than 5 metres away from the opposition Player or is out of play;
(f) pushes, bumps, holds or blocks an opposition Player who is contesting a bounce or throw by a field Umpire or boundary throw in;
(g) charges an opposition Player;
(h) trips or attempts to trip an opposition Player, whether by the use of hand, arm, foot or leg;
(i) kicks or attempts to kick an opposition Player, unless contact is accidentally made whilst the Player is Kicking the football;
(j) strikes or attempts to strike an opposition Player, whether by hand, fist, arm, knee or head;
(k) holds or throws an opposition Player after that Player has disposed of the ball;
l) engaging in rough conduct against an opponent which in the circumstances is unreasonable;
(m) kicking or attempting to Kick the ball in a manner likely to cause injury; or
(n) bumps or makes forceful contact to an opponent from front-on when that player has his head down over the ball.
- a player can bump an opponent’s body from side-on but any contact forward of side-on will be deemed to be front-on;
- a player with his head down in anticipation of winning possession of the ball or after contesting the ball will be deemed to have his head down over the ball for the purposes of this law.
Even if the considered opinion is that a player has ‘ducked’ into a tackle, he will still be awarded a free kick for high contact. This will probably ‘irk’ most of the supporters, players and coaching staff in the League, and goes against all that we know about the spirit of the game and what we’ve been brought up with, but we would rather protect the ball player, than risk the potential of a player suffering a serious neck or spinal injury.