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 Kick Off...Mental Health for Rugby League

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(2006 Version) 


Audio Unavailable at this time



The purpose of this Code of Conduct is to provide all 

participants in Rugby League with some simple rules 

concerning the standards of behaviour that are expected. 

I commend ARL Development for their efforts in producing 

this National Code of Conduct. It is another milestone in 

the continuing development of our great game. 

I strongly recommend that everyone connected with 

Rugby League adopts these rules so that players, 

coaches, officials, parents and spectators can attend 

matches secure in the knowledge that it will be a safe 

and enjoyable sporting experience. 



Colin Love 

Chairman, Australian Rugby League 




General Principles 


Participants in the game of Rugby League include players, 

parents, spectators, coaches, referees and officials.  

Every participant should: 


• Discourage all instances of unsportsmanlike behaviour, 

foul or illegal play, or acts of violence, both on and off 

the field. 


• Respect the rights, dignity and worth of every person 

regardless of their gender, ability/disability, sexual 

orientation, cultural background or religion. 


• Condemn the use of recreational and performance- 

enhancing drugs and doping practices; their use 

endangers the health of players and is contrary to the 

concept of fair play. 



Important  – every person who attends a Rugby League 

match does so with the permission and license of the home 

club and/or league. Breaches of this Code of Conduct may  

result in penalties up to and including a fine, loss of team 

match points and suspension. 


 Be a good sport. Respect all good play whether from your team or the  

opposition and shake hands with and thank the opposition players and  

officials after the game – win, lose or draw. 


 Participate for your own enjoyment and benefit. 


 Always respect the referee’s decision. 


 Never become involved in acts of foul play. 


 Honour both the spirit and letter of the competition rules and live 

up to the highest ideals of ethics and sportsmanship; avoid  

gamesmanship and respect the traditions of the game. 


 Never engage in disrespectful conduct of any sort including profanity, 

sledging, obscene gestures, offensive remarks, trash-talking, taunting 

or other actions that are demeaning to other players, officials or 



 Care for and respect the facilities and equipment made available to 

you during training and competition. 


 Safeguard your health; don’t use any illegal or unhealthy substances. 


 Recognize that many officials, coaches and referees are volunteers 

who give up their time to provide their services. Treat them with 

the utmost respect. 


 Do not bet or otherwise financially speculate, directly or indirectly, 

on the outcome or any other aspect of a Rugby League match or 

competition in which you are involved. 





Whether you play in the local U7’s or for Australia, there are certain 

standards that you have to live up to.


RugbyLeague is one of the world’s great games and if every player 

remembers, and practises, these few simple rules, the game will 

continue to prosper.


I fully endorse the player’s section of this Code of Conduct. 


Best wishes, 

Darren Lockyer 

Player - Brisbane Broncos, Queensland & Australia 








 Actively discourage foul play and/or unsportsmanlike behaviour by players. 


 Seek to maximise the participation and enjoyment for all players 

regardless of ability; avoid the tendency to over-use a talented player; 

treat all players as equals, regardless of their talent. 


 Show concern and caution towards all sick and injured players. Follow the 

advice of a physician and/or sports trainer to the letter when determining 

when an injured player is ready to recommence training or playing. 


 Teach players that an honest effort and competing to the best of their 

ability is as important as victory. 


 Maintain appropriate, professional relationships with players at all times. 


 Maintain a thorough knowledge of the rules of the game and keep  

abreast of current coaching methods; maintain or improve your current 

accreditation level. 


 Always consider the health, safety and welfare of the players. 


 Teach young players to realise that there is a big gap between their play  

and the professional game; do not coach them as if they are professionals. 


 Ensure that your coaching reflects the level of the competition being 

played; do not be a “winner-at-all-costs” coach. 


 As coach, conduct yourself at all times in a manner, and in all situations, 

that shows leadership, respect for the game of Rugby League and 

respect for all those that are involved in the game – the players, officials, 

the fans, the parents, the referees and the media.





As a coach, you have a special responsibility to ensure that, 

through your words and actions, you strive to build the character 

of your players, as well as their skills. 


You also have to maintain and nurture the traditions and integrity 

of the game. 


Be gracious in victory and accept defeat with dignity and 

remember, constantly promote sportsmanship over gamesmanship. 


Good luck. 

Ricky Stuart 

Coach - Sydney Roosters, New South Wales and Australia 


Remember that junior players participate for 

pleasure and mateship. Winning is only part of the fun. 



 Be impartial! Also, be consistent, objective and courteous. 


 Place the safety and welfare of the players above all else; be 

alert to minimise dangerous physical play, fair or foul, especially 

in junior matches. 


 Accept responsibility for all actions taken. 


 Avoid any form of verbal contact with coaches, team officials, 

parents and spectators during play. 


 Avoid any situation which may lead to a conflict of interest, both on 

and off the field. 


 Maintain an appropriate level of fitness for the standard of game at 

which you are officiating. 


 Condemn all and every instance of unsportsmanlike, foul or unfair 



 Set a good example by the way you dress, speak and act towards 

players, coaches, officials, parents and spectators. 


 Show concern and caution towards sick and injured players. 


 Officiate to the age and/or experience of the players. 




As a referee, you are an integral part of the game and you can 

help each player enjoy the game by demonstrating a positive 

attitude, by promoting good sporting behaviour, by being consistent 

and by communicating in a fair and honest manner.


Try to clearly express your decisions to the players in a way that 

can be seen and understood. 


Keep up to date with the latest trends in officiating and remember, 

there is no substitute for a thorough knowledge of the Laws of the 

Game and your own integrity. 


Bill Harrigan 

Former NRL, Origin & Test Referee 




Referees are the key to the successful application 

of the Safeplay Code in Junior Rugby League. 






• Condemn all violent or illegal acts, whether they are by players, coaches, 

officials, parents or spectators.


• Respect the referee’s decisions – don’t complain or argue about calls or 

decisions during or after a game. 


• Behave! Unsportsmanlike language, harassment or aggressive behaviour 

will not be tolerated. 


• Encourage players to play by the rules and to respect opposition players 

and officials. 


• Never ridicule or scorn a player for making a mistake – respect their efforts. 


• Understand that sport is part of a total life experience, and the benefits of 

involvement go far beyond the final score of a game. 


• Participate in positive cheering that encourages the players in the team 

you are supporting; do not engage in any cheering that taunts or 

intimidates opponents, their fans or officials. 


• Remember that children participate in Rugby League for their own 

enjoyment, not yours! 


• At all times, follow the directions of the Ground Manager and/or other 

match day staff. 


• Never arrive at a Junior League game under the influence of alcohol, 

never bring alcohol to a Junior League game and only drink alcohol, if it 

is available, in a responsible manner in the designated licensed area. 




I’ve always loved Rugby League - going to the games and 

supporting my favourite teams. But I don’t love it when fans get 

unruly or cause trouble on the sidelines.


As a spectator, be sure to do the right thing. Enjoy the game and let 

the players know that win or lose, you support their efforts.


As a parent, lead by example, promote good sportsmanship and be 

a positive role model for your children. 


I fully support this Code of Conduct.   

Layne Beachley 

RugbyLeague fan and six-time World Surfing Champion 


Children learn best by example. 




Breaches of this Code of Conduct may cause a 

match to be stopped! 




Note  – Clubs are responsible for the conduct of their 

players, parents/carers of players, coaches, officials and 



1. No person/s attending a match shall: 


Use offensive or obscene language to any player, coach, referee, touch judge, official or 

other spectator; 


Enter the Field of Play during the course of a match without the prior approval of the 

Ground Manager appointed by the home club and/or league; 


Dispute the decision of a referee or touch judge either during or after a match; 


Assault or act with aggression to any person/s; 


Behave in a way contrary to this Code of Conduct and/or the spirit of the game; 


Behave in a way which disturbs the enjoyment of the match by any other person/s, or 

brings discredit to the home club and/or league; 


Act in such a way as to exhibit racial intolerance, by language or other conduct to any 

other person/s; 


Refuse to accept the reasonable direction of the Ground Manager, official of the home club 

and/or league, or official of the team/club which that person/s is supporting. 

2. Any person/s contravening Rule 1 may be reported by the Ground Manager to the Team 

Manager or other official of the team which that person/s is supporting. Where a team does 

not have a Team Manager present, a request or direction from the Ground Manager to any 

official of the team or the team’s club shall be regarded as a direction to the Team Manager 

for the purposes of this Code

3. The Ground Manager and/or Team Manager must advise the offending person/s of the relevant 

breach of the Code. The Ground Manager must note the details of their report to the Team 

Manager on the reverse of the team sheet. 

4. In the event that the inappropriate conduct continues, the Ground Manager and/or Team 

Manager may request the offender/s to immediately leave the ground. This should also be 

noted on the team sheet. 

5. In the event the person/s refuses to obey the direction of the Ground Manager and/or Team 

Manager, the Ground Manager may direct the referee to terminate the match. In the event 

that the match is so terminated, the club’s and/or league’s committee may, at its absolute 

discretion award the competition points to the non-offending team, or declare that neither side 

shall be awarded competition points for that match. 

6. Clubs which do not exercise control over their players, parents/carers of players, coaches, 

officials or spectators may be called upon by the league to accept responsibility for their actions 

and the following penalties may apply (in addition to penalties which may be imposed by the 

league’s judiciary): 


A fine not exceeding $500, and/or loss of competition points, and/or suspension of the  

player from playing, and/or suspension of the offender/s from attending future matches. 


Suspension of the player, and/or team and/or club from the competition on a temporary basis. 


Suspension of the player and/or team and/or club either for the remainder of the season, 

or permanently. 




ARL Development 

(ABN 73 089 809 745) 

5th Floor, 165 Phillip Street, Sydney NSW 2000 

Tel: (02) 9223 6586, Fax (02) 9221 9333 

Web: www.arldevelopment.com.au 







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