Main content

Laws of the Game: Obstruction

Andrew Bryan NRL.com Thu, Mar 07, 2013 - 4:30 PM

NRL.com and NRL Referees Elite Performance Manager Daniel Anderson have worked together to bring you five videos to demonstrate the 2013 Laws and Interpretations of the game.

Daniel Anderson explains; the tackle, obstruction, grounding the ball, video referee and shoulder charge rules, while talking you through the referee decision making process with multiple examples of each incident.

Please note: The 2013 NRL season will be adjudicated in accordance with the current ‘The  Australian Rugby League Laws of the Game and notes on the laws’ with specific interpretations for NRL.

OBSTRUCTION

Contact:

The onus is on the attacking players or ‘block-runners’ not to initiate contact with the defenders.

In the first example of the embedded video, Wests Tigers fullback Tim Moltzen is obstructed by a Panthers ‘block runner’ who initiates the contact, this is deemed to be an obstruction.

The embedded video goes on to show numerous examples of block-runners initiating contact and under the Laws of the Game should be penalised for an obstruction.

If the defender initiates contact, it will not be deemed to be an obstruction.

Running behind your own player:

The ball carrier must not run behind an active block-runner and disadvantage the defensive line. The defender should not be expected to defend against this play. This is highlighted by the video with the State of Origin try to Justin Hodges, Hodges runs behind his own player and Blues defender Beau Scott should not have to contend with this action.

There are instances where you can run behind your own player – if there is no disadvantage caused to the defensive line. This is highlighted in the embedded video.

Support runner in line with his teammate:

When the ball carrier is in line with his teammate, the teammate is a support player and there is no obstruction to the defensive line.

The indicators for an obstruction include:

1. ‘Block’* or ‘Flat’ runner[s] (who do not receive the ball) must not stop in the middle of the defensive line

2. ‘Block’ or ‘Flat’ runner[s] (who do not receive the ball) must not run at (chest or outside shoulder of) defender[s] and initiate contact

3. Ball Carriers must not run behind an active ‘Block’ or ‘Flat’ runner[s] and disadvantage the defensive line (ie a defender cannot be expected to defend against this play)

4. Attacking players who run a ‘Sweep’^ line must receive the ball beyond the inside shoulder

of the ‘Block’ or ‘Flat’ runner[s]

5. Defensive decisions that commit defender[s] to initiating contact with an attacking player(s) will not be deemed obstruction

6. Defensive decisions that commit defender[s] to change their defensive line will not be deemed obstruction.

* Block runners run lines towards an opposition goal line and are committed to receiving the ball close to the defensive line^ Sweep runners run lines in an arc across the field behind a block runner