The new year meant a whole lot of newness — and we don’t mean remembering to write 2024 instead of 2023 (yeah, we’re still struggling with that one).
But one of the biggest changes for us: a shakeup of the netball rulebook.
Here’s the lowdown of the latest rules and how we’ll be implementing them at UNC and in the Netherlands (hint: it’ll be different!).
📆 When these rules will take effect
World Netball advised that the new rules must be implemented by September 1, 2024. However, different clubs are taking different approaches.
Type of session
New rules effect date
UNC sessions (game nights and trainings)
Dutch league matches
🥜 The new rules in a nutshell
World Netball updated the rulebook for 2024 with a “focus specifically on player safety and game management along with clarification and streamlining of existing rules such as contact and advantage.”
Yep, some of those tricky rules have been reworked, reclarified, and re-done. Here’s what has changed.
1. Tactical changes are now allowed
This is a biggie: previously, a new player could only enter the court to replace a player for an injury, illness, or blood.
Now, teams can request a “tactical change” directly after a goal has been scored.
This can take the form of a team change (switching positions between players already on court) or a substitution (taking a player from the bench to replace a player on court).
2. No more toss-ups
Hands by your sides, feet apart, wait for the whistle — not anymore! Toss-ups are now a part of netball’s history.
Now, if an infringement occurs simultaneously, the possession is awarded to the last team that had possession.
Team Green shoots for a goal and misses
Team Green’s GA and Team Yellow’s GD compete for the rebound and both place their hands on the ball at the same time.
The umpire awards possession to Team Green because they last had uncontested possession while shooting for the goal.
There are two main points to remember here:
The possession stays where the ball stopped — so in the example above, Team Green would take the ball where the GA/GD competed for the rebound.
Unlike other possession rules, anyone from the team can take the pass or shot.
3. Short passes are longer
Previously, a pass had to have enough space between the passer and the receiver that a defender could “intercept by hand”.
This ruling has been updated to “deflect or intercept the ball”. The umpire must decide if the defending player can make a genuine attempt, or if the passing distance was too short.
4. Umpires can now hold time for injury
For some crazy reason, holding time for injury used to only be allowed if an on-court player requests it.
Now, umpires can call injury time if there is an obvious or serious injury.
Additionally, players with dried blood can continue to play. As always, players who are bleeding, have an open wound, or bloodstained clothes must be substituted off.
5. The rules around Replay Ball are way clearer
World Netball have “refreshed” the rules on Replay Ball because this was causing a lot of confusion.
One key thing here is that players can bounce the ball once before catching it.
To gain possession, a player may:
Catch the ball with one or both hands.
Roll the ball to oneself.
Catch the ball if it rebounds from the goalpost.
Bat the ball once, then catch it.
Bounce the ball once, then catch it.
Touch the ball in an uncontrolled manner once or more than once, then catch it
Without possession, a play may:
Bat or bounce the ball to another player.
Bat the ball once, and then either bat or bounce the ball to another player.
Bounce the ball once, and then either bat or bounce the ball to another player.
Touch the ball in an uncontrolled manner once or more than once, and then either bat or bounce the ball to another player.
6. Throw-ins can be taken straight away
Previously, the rules dictated that if a ball went out of court, the player taking the throw-in had to wait for all players to be on court.
Now, that rule is removed.
What does this mean for you? If you’re the kind soul that chases down a ball, make sure to carry it back so you can get on court.
7. Players can go offside to collect balls
Team, I’m still scarred from when I was blown for going offside to collect a ball 10 years ago, resulting in an immediate turnover.
Luckily, this rule has now been removed! If you’re ready to take a free or penalty pass, but the ball is rolling away from you, go ahead and step over that line!
There’s one catch: you can’t use this rule to gain a tactical advantage.
Goals now count as scored if the ball left the hands of the shooter before the whistle to end time is blown.
On-court players can now immediately appeal to the umpires if they believe the centre pass is being given to the incorrect team.
Foul play rules have been updated into the categories: unfair play, unsporting behaviour, and dangerous play. Players can be warned, suspended, or ordered off. The umpire can also choose to advance the ball further up the court.
Where can I find more information?
The netball gods have smiled down on us and developed a bunch of resources to clarify these new rules. We recommend: