Kiwi Junior Rugby League Festival

Rules 2017

The festival is played under Mod rules, which is unashamedly about young players first, their interests and needs as a child – then importantly, their development and preparation for the international laws of the game and its demands.

Click here for Mod rules

Kiwi Junior Rugby League Festival Ethos
It is our goal to be, not only the best junior rugby league tournament in NZ, but the world; running a tournament that sets the bench mark for enjoyment, sportsmanship and fair play. We do not want teams entering whose only goal is to win at all costs. Clubs and teams put a lot of hard work into getting to the festival and regardless of results; every player deserves to have an incredible experience.

It is important that every team which intends to travel under your club banner, including supporters, is aware that the whole club is affected by their behavior. If you have known trouble makers in your team, leave them behind. Its not worth it.

It is up to team management to ensure that players and supporters are representing your club and union positively. Any players, management or supporters who bring the event in to disrepute through bad sportsmanship at the festival or during a match, will have 2 points docked from the game in question and will also have to attend a disciplinary hearing, which can result in the team being removed from the event.

Key Points for Players, Coaches, Managers and Supporters
Have fun regardless of results
Ensure only positive support is given on and off the field
Take time to meet and interact with other teams, that’s what it’s about

Player Eligibility / Age Grades / Squads
Player Eligibility
Every player must be registered to NZ or Australian rugby league club. Each player must have played for that club during the 2017 season.

Age grades
All players must be within the age restriction as of 1st January 2017

U9 = Born in 2008 or after
U10 = Born in 2007 or after
U11 = Born in 2006 or after
U12 = Born in 2005 or after
U13 = Born in 2004 or after


Under 10's & Under 11's
Must register squads of 14
11 players on field during play

Under 12's
Must register squads of 18
13 players on field during play

Clubs cannot put together rep teams for the event.
Teams that enter the festival need to have played together during the regular season. Where teams are found guilty of bringing a ‘club rep team’ by the festival committee; the whole club will be ineligible to return the next year and will be disqualified from the 2017 festival with immediate effect.

• All non-local teams must travel collectively to and from the event

Buddy teams
The festival is as much about what happens on the field as what happens off it.

Each team will be buddied up with another team in the same age group; this team will be your buddy team for the duration of the tournament. We ask all teams to make an effort to get to know and support their buddy team where possible. Every team is expected to exchange a gift with their buddy team (eg signed ball, team jersey, club trophy etc).

The event is built on enjoyment and togetherness and we want to promote this to all young people taking part in this special event.
U10 and U11
Squads of 14
11 players on field during play

Squads of 18
13 players on field during play

Clubs cannot put together rep teams for the event.
Teams that enter the festival need to have played together during the regular season. Where teams are found guilty of bringing a ‘club rep team’ by the festival committee; the whole club will be ineligible to return the next year

• All non-local teams must travel collectively to and from the event
Teams are placed into pools of 3 or 4, you will play each team in your pool once round robin in games of 6 min thirds.

After round robin, you are moved in to one of 3 new pools and regrouped with different teams.

Inline with NZRL rules for Mod and Mini Mod, there is no Championship. Teams are awarded for sportsmanship on and off the field. There are individual awards for players. But no winner takes all awards.
Player Safety
It is important that players can enjoy the festival and play in the spirit with which the game of rugby is intended.

The below rules apply without negotiation:
- All players must wear mouth guards.
- Should a player be injured, play must be stopped immediately and the player attended to.
- Players on the field who are injured in any way that results in bleeding must be immediately removed. A substitute can be played while they are being attended to blood nose, etc for up to 5 min. Jerseys should be changed and the injury attended to and cleaned properly.
- Players who receive head injuries must be checked properly and remove the player from the field.
- Should a player suffer concussion he/she must be attended to properly and is not allowed to play for the remainder of the tournament
- Coaches and parents must not put the player’s health at risk in any game.

National SafePlay code for players in teams aged 15 years and under
The SafePlay Code was developed to emphasise safety and good conduct within the game of Rugby League by creating the best possible on-field environment and actively controlling undesirable actions. The code applies to all players up to and including the under 15 years age group.

The NZRL trusts that players, coaches, parents and supporters will wholeheartedly embrace the code for the benefit of the players and the game.

Coaches and referees are the key to the successful application of the Safeplay code.
1. Tackle zone
The Code: Tackles above the armpits are not permitted.


(a) When the ball-carrier is running with an upright posture, any tackle in which the defender’s arm(s) make contact above the armpit constitutes an infringement.
(b) It is an infringement for a defender/tackler to set upon the head or neck region of the ball-carrier.
(c) A defender, in front of a ball-carrier who is diving or running with a “stooped” or “burrowing” posture, is permitted to come in contact with the ball-carriers shoulder provided the defender’s arm(s) extends down the shoulder and trunk i.e. underneath the ball-carrier.
2. Dangerous Tackles
The Code: 2.1 The tacklers legs cannot be used to trip or to throw.
Application: The use of the legs in a tackle is not permissible. Using the legs (even if the defender has a handhold on the ball-carrier) to trip or throw constitutes an infringement.

The Code: 2.2 Adopting a crotch hold is misconduct.
Application: Adopting a crotch hold i.e. by placing either a hand or arm in the crotch region is an infringement.

The Code: 2.3 No vertical lift in a tackle is permitted.
Application: Vertical lifting in a tackle is an infringement. No defender(s) during the course of a tackle are permitted to vertically lift the ball-carrier. If the possibility of a vertical lift occurs i.e. one or both feet of the ball-carrier have been lifted off the ground, the referee must immediately blow the whistle to prevent the tackle from continuing. (This is not to be confused with a tackle that, in the same motion, knocks a player off his feet).

The Code: 2.4 Ball-Carrier cannot be lifted and driven.
Application: A tackle that results in the ball-carrier being lifted and remaining off the ground while the tackler takes two (2) or more steps to drive the player (in any direction and while the ball-carriers feet are off the ground) is an infringement.

The Code: 2.5 The additional following action(s) by a tackler will also incur an immediate penalty.
Application: When a player in possession is running, it is an infringement for a defender chasing from behind to lift and attempt to lift (hitch up) the trailing foot of the ball-carrier.
3. Shoulder charge
The Code: A defender cannot “shoulder charge” a ball-carrier to affect a tackle.
Application: A defender who runs at a ball-carrier and without attempting to tackle, grab or hold the ball-carrier, charges to make contact with the shoulder or with the upper arm (tucked into the side) is guilty of an infringement.
4. Vicious palm
The Code: An attacking player cannot thrust out an arm to contact the defender above the shoulder.
Application: Any attacking player who violently punches or thrusts out an arm or uses an outstretched stiff arm so that the hand or fist contacts the neck, face or head of a defender commits an infringement. (This section does not state that a player cannot legitimately ‘palm’ the head, neck or face).
5. Slinging
The Code: The use of the ball-carriers arm, or jersey to sling or swing a player is prohibited.
Application: A defender who uses the arm or jersey of the ball-carrier to sling or swing the player in a tackle commits an infringement.
6. Flopping
The Code: A defender cannot drop or fall on a prone player.
Application: It is an infringement for a defender to drop, dive or fall on a player in possession of the ball who is prone or stationary on the ground and not attempting to play-on. (A simple hand-on completes the tackle).
7. Surrender (in the tackle)
The Code: Ball-carriers may surrender in the tackle. When small and/or inexperienced players are involved in a “surrender”, defenders must not complete the tackle.
Application: This rule is designed to protect beginners and small players by minimising risk and eliminating excessively robust play.
The referee, not the player, calls “held”. Players who are at an obvious disadvantage because of low levels of experience, are of small stature or show a lack of skill are to be protected when in possession of the ball and being tackled. A halt to play is called (by the referee) when these players submit to the tackle or are held, subdued or their progress is halted by bigger or more experienced players. Failure by a tackler(s) to respond to the referees call is an infringement.
8. Verbal abuse / foul language
The Code: The use of obscene expletives, threatening or denigrating words is not permitted.
Application: Verbal abuse, obscene language and sledging, including comments or words that threaten or denigrate an opponent, referee or supporter is an infringement. (If the individual cannot be identified, the team should be cautioned through the captain).
9. Scrums
The Code: Pushing or pulling in, or rotating a scrum is not permitted.
Application: All scrums are to be de-powered.
Scrums will form as per the following instructions: Form, Engage & Hold. A team that deliberately pushes or pulls in, or rotates a scrum is guilty of an infringement. Once the ball has been fed into the scrum, hookers only may strike for the ball. Second row players can lift a foot to rake the ball out of the scrum, but cannot step forward over the ball to cause the ball to come out of the scrum.
Important Note
It is mandatory that any act that transgresses the SafePlay code be followed by a penalty, plus a caution & instruction to the offender. The ‘sin-bin’ does not apply to mini-mod football. Any additional action to a penalty is “temporary suspension” with a replacement of the offender for the remainder of that period of play. A player returning to the field after suspension and who is guilty of further misconduct is to be dismissed without replacement.
Advantage Play & The Safeplay Code
A penalty kick must follow any infringement.

1. If no advantage occurs, the penalty is to be awarded immediately.

2. If an advantage occurs, the penalty is to be awarded either at the breakdown in play immediately after the misconduct occurred (unless a try is imminent) or where the act of misconduct occurred, whichever is to the greater advantage to the non-offending team.

3. When a try has been scored in the same play in which the act of misconduct occurred or in the immediate play thereafter (the imminent factor) the penalty kick, additional to the conversion, will be awarded in front of the goal posts. A kick at goal must be taken from the penalty kick (place or drop) and play restarted from the centre on the half-way line irrespective of the outcome of the kick.
“Be a sport, just support”

New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) vision is to create more positive experiences on and off the field for our players, match officials and supporters. “Be a sport” is a programme designed specifically to encourage positive supporter behavior and provide more enjoyable rugby league experiences for our community.

1. Each game, two parents or supporters (note not a team manager or staff) are selected as the “Be a Sport” team champions and given an orange vest to wear.

2. The referee will start the games when the four “Be a Sport” team champions are on the sideline wearing their vests.

3. The selected team champions are to wear the vests for the duration of the game

4. Team champions are to monitor their team’s sideline conduct using the supporters Code of Conduct - especially as it refers to alcohol free and smoke free sidelines, use of positive language and supportive behaviour

5. Team champions can use sandwich boards messaging to reinforce positive behavior

6. The “Be a Sport” team champions are only responsible for their supporters, not the oppositions.

7. When signing the team card the referee will also make note if the team has undertaken their “Be a Sport” duties.