Tough Love in League - Be Fair, Beware, Be Warned

Brochure is attached at the bottom of the article.

* Automatic send off’s for punching
* Zero tolerance of fighting
* Abandoning games for Melee’s
* Minimum suspensions for violence
* Stamping out abuse of match officials


The NSW Junior Leagues will crack down on violence in the Grassroots game. Leagues have agreed to the “Tough Love in League” regulations.

The program has the endorsement of the NSW Rugby League, and is documented in this brochure.

No longer will a minority ruin the Rugby League experience for the vast majority.

The “Tough Love in League” (TLIL) program was designed with four key objectives in mind:

1. To reduce the amount of violence in the Grassroots game.
2. To take pressure off young and inexperienced referees and match officials.
3. To make the Junior League experience safe, fair and fun for all.
4. To encourage increased participation in the game. Desired program outcomes, include:
* Reduced on field violence.
* Elimination of unsavoury behaviour towards referees.
* Stop “all in” melees.
* Remove repeat offenders from the game (both teams and individuals).
* Reduce the number of matches being abandoned because of poor behaviour.
* Stop spectators from entering the field.
* Educate players at a young age that violence in our game will not be tolerated.

1. Charge Sheets
1.1 All Leagues are encouraged to use standardised “send off charge sheets”.

2. Legal Representation
2.1 A player may take legal representation into a judiciary hearing. However the Judiciary may suspend such a hearing until it retains legal representation on its own behalf.

3. Video Evidence
3.1 Junior Leagues are encouraged to provide video coverage at all Sunday JL games. This will assist with judiciary procedures, and for citing purposes.

4. On Field Violence
NRL Laws of the Game
Player’s Misconduct - A player is guilty of misconduct if he: a) Trips, kicks or strikes another player. “When instances of misconduct occur, unless there is an advantage to the non-offending side, a penalty is awarded against the offender. Note: (a) is considered to be foul play and may warrant instant dismissal. They are not Sin Bin offences”.

4.1 Zero tolerance of fighting on the field. Any player who throws a punch or “strikes” another during a match will be automatically sent from the field. If that player is subsequently found guilty at Judiciary, the MINIMUM penalty will be a one week suspension.

4.2 Any player found guilty of breaching rule 4.1 for the third time in a season will incur an automatic MINIMUM 12 month suspension from the game.

4.3 A “TIME OUT” system will be introduced whenever a severe “melee” occurs. A melee is considered to be misconduct involving more than two players in the game at any one time.

The referee will signal a “TIME OUT” period and call for the ground manager to bring both coaches’ onto the field. Teams are to be taken to opposite ends of the field and spoken to by their respective coaches.

The referee will then dismiss from the field offending players under the TLIL policy (4.1).

The ground manager and referees will decide when play will resume. A repeat “melee” will result in the match automatically being abandoned.

If a match is abandoned after a time out period, the respective coach’s from the offending teams will face a Code of Conduct panel hearing.

4.4 Penalties for abandoned games will be at the discretion of the local League as there can be many different circumstances to consider when judging such cases. The NSWRL would urge that in the majority of cases that games are not replayed, and teams are liable for loss of competition points.

4.5 Any team that has had more than two abandoned matches in a season will be automatically disqualified from that competition for that season.

4.6 Any player who runs onto the field of play from the team “bench” area during a match will be automatically sent from the field and incur a MINIMUM six week suspension if found guilty at Judiciary.

5. Match Official Abuse
5.1 Any player or official found guilty of touching a referee or official in an aggressive or inappropriate manner will be disqualified from the game for a minimum period of 12 months.

5.2 Any player or official who verbally abuses or intimidates a referee or match official will be dismissed from the field and face Judiciary for further judgment.

6. Spectators
6.1 Any spectator who enters the playing area with intent, will automatically be banned from attending any Junior League fixtures for a MINIMUM period of twelve months and will be liable to pay a fine under the ARL Code of Conduct.

6.2 If a person breaches a disqualification under rule 6.1, the team and or club that the person is associated with will be liable for penalty under the ARL Code of Conduct.

7. Trainers, Coaches and Managers
7.1 If a trainer, coach or manager touches an opposition player during a “melee” an automatic MINIMUM six week suspension will apply if that person is found guilty of such an offence.

For the “Tough Love in League” regulations to be successful, they will require the complete cooperation from all involved in the game at grassroots level. There will be pain before there is gain.

If our game is to flourish, we need to rid it of the element that ruins the enjoyment that so many people get from it week in and week out. We need to make it fair, safe and enjoyable for all involved.



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