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Rugby League Glossary of Terms

Here is a comprehensive glossary of essential rugby league terms, providing definitions and explanations to enhance your understanding of this sport.

  • Ball back - when the ball goes into touch without bouncing inside the lines
  • Blind side - if play is going on at one end of the field, the shorter side of the touch-line is called the blind side.
  • Blood bin - if a player is injured, they are taken off the field. They may rejoin play when the bleeding has stopped and/or dressing has been applied. This player can be replaced, but the replacement must leave play when the player comes back.
  • Bomb - term for an up-and-under during a scrum (Australian term).
  • Broken play - the opposite of open play, like a scrummage or a set-piece.
  • Caution - a warning the referee gives to a player.
  • Centre spot - the spot in the centre of the field where play begins from.
  • Cover tackle - tackling an attacking player who has broken through the defensive line.
  • Crossing - deliberate obstruction by attacking players, where the passer runs across the path of the attackers after passing to protect the ball carrier. Known as 'shepherding' in Australia.
  • Dissent - arguing with the referee or another official.
  • Drop out - a drop kick taken from between the posts or the 22 metre line.
  • Dummy - pretending to pass, but not doing so, to fool the defending players.
  • Feeding the scrum / Put-in - the act of putting the ball into the scrummage. Feeding is also the term used for an infringement where the scrum half puts the ball in towards their own players' feet. The ball must always be put in the middle.
  • Heel - when the player pushes the ball back with the heel or boot sole.
  • Hook - when the hooker pulls the ball back in the scrummage.
  • Loose arm - an offence when the hooker's arm is not properly round the prop forward's waist in the scrummage.
  • Mark - the point where a penalty is taken, or a scrum is formed.
  • On the full - when the ball crosses a line without bouncing.
  • Open play - general play.
  • Open side - opposite of blind side. The side of the scrum or play-the-ball on the far side from the touch-line.
  • Pack - the term used for a team's forwards, or the entire team (as in pack weight).
  • Place kick - when the ball is placed on the ground before being kicked.
  • Punt - kicking the ball from the hands before it hits the ground.
  • Ruck - a group of players all trying to get possession of the ball.
  • Second movement - when a grounded player reaches over the goal-line to ground the ball to score a try after being tackled.
  • Sin bin - where temporarily dismissed players are sent.
  • Spot tackling - man-to-man marking, where defenders each mark a specific attacker(s).
  • Stealing - taking the ball from a player before the tackle is complete.
  • Strike - the action of a hooker pulling the ball back with the feet during the scrum.
  • Upright tackle - a tackle where both players stay on their feet.
  • Voluntary tackle - when a player in possession voluntarily stops play without an effective tackle having taken place.

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