A Beginner's Guide to NRL - How to Play Rugby League

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Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that just last night the mighty NSW Blues crushed The Queensland Maroons last night. Beating them 38 to 18 to level the State of Origin series in front of 90,084 supporters at the MCG.

There’s always drama when these two teams clash. So to honour the country’s greatest rivalry we have put together A Beginner’s Guide to NRL. Written just for you who watched the game completely lost. Don’t worry we won’t tell your mates or dates that you didn’t know…

So, if you’re new to rugby league, from South Australia, or just needing a refresher, this guide will help you understand the basics, the positions, scoring, and the essential rules. By the end of this blog, you’ll be ready to enjoy watching and playing rugby league.

The Basics of Rugby League

Before diving into How to Play Rugby League, it’s important to grasp some basic concepts.

Objective of the Game

Rugby league is a highly physical sport. The objective is simple: carry the ball over the opponent’s try line to score points. Each match is 80 minutes long, divided into two 40-minute halves. The team with the most points at the end wins.

The Pitch

The rugby league pitch is rectangular, with H-shaped goalposts at each end. The pitch is 100 metres long and 68 metres wide.

How to Play Rugby League: Understanding the Positions

In rugby league, each of the 13 players on the field has a specific role. Knowing these positions is crucial to understanding How to Play Rugby League.

Front Row Forwards (Props)

Props are the largest and strongest players. They aim to break through the opposition’s defensive line using their power.

Second Row Forwards

Second row forwards are versatile players who can both attack and defend. They often play the entire 80 minutes.


Hookers, or “dummy halves,” facilitate the play-the-ball after a tackle. They are quick and skilled in passing.


Halves direct the team’s attack. They create plays and decide when to kick or pass.


Centres are speedy players who support the wingers. They help advance the ball and create scoring opportunities.


Wingers are among the fastest players. Positioned on the edges of the field, they often score tries.

How to Play Rugby League: Scoring Points

Understanding how points are scored is key to knowing How to Play Rugby League.

Try (4 Points)

A try is scored when the ball is grounded over the opponent’s try line.

Conversion (2 Points)

After scoring a try, a team gets an opportunity to kick for additional points. The ball must pass between the posts and above the crossbar.

Drop Goal (1 Point)

A drop goal is scored by drop-kicking the ball through the posts during open play.

Penalty Goal (2 Points)

After an infringement, a team can opt for a penalty kick. If successful, it earns them two points.

The Rules of Rugby League

Understanding the rules is essential to mastering How to Play Rugby League.


The game starts with a kick-off. One team kicks the ball into the opponent’s half, and the receiving team tries to gain possession.

Passing and Tackling

The ball must be passed backward. Players can pass multiple times until tackled. After six tackles, the team usually kicks the ball to gain territory.

Playing the Ball

When tackled, the player must play the ball backward with their foot to a teammate.


Scrums restart play after certain stoppages, like a knock-on or forward pass. Unlike rugby union, scrums in rugby league are not contested.

Offside Rules

Players must be behind the ball carrier or kicker to be onside. Offside players cannot interfere with play.

Penalties and Cards

Penalties are awarded for various infringements, like high tackles or foul language. Offenders may receive yellow or red cards. A yellow card results in a 10-minute sin-bin period.

Popular Rugby League Terms

Familiarity with common terms enhances your understanding of “How to Play Rugby League.”

Try Assist

Creating an opportunity for a teammate to score a try.

Tackle Break

When a player breaks free from a tackle.

Line Break

Breaking through the opponent’s defensive line.

Line Break Assist

Helping a teammate break through the defensive line.


Passing the ball to a teammate while being tackled.

State of Origin Series

The State of Origin series is a highlight of the NRL calendar. It’s a best-of-three series between New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons. Known as “Australian sport’s greatest rivalry,” it attracts massive TV audiences and sells out stadiums.

Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that just last night the mighty NSW Blues crushed The Queensland Maroons 38-18 to level the State of Origin series in front of 90,084 supporters at the MCG. There’s always drama when these two titans clash. It’s the perfect opportunity to watch some fierce competition—and maybe even get into some friendly arguments with your mates.

Jokes aside, the rivalry between the Blues and the Cane Toads is a sight to behold. It’s not just a game; it’s a cultural phenomenon. So, pick a side, and let the banter begin. Whether you’re rooting for the Blues or the Maroons, the State of Origin series is sure to provide edge-of-your-seat excitement.

The History of Rugby League

The National Rugby League (NRL) is one of the world’s premier rugby league competitions, based in Australia. It originated from the New South Wales Rugby League in 1908. Over the years, the league underwent numerous changes, including the Super League War in the 1990s. In 1998, the NRL was officially formed in partnership with the Australian Rugby League. This partnership continued until 2012, when the NRL became independent under the Australian Rugby League Commission.

Final Thoughts

Rugby league is fast-paced, thrilling, and immensely fun to watch and play. Now that you understand How to Play Rugby League it’s time to choose your favourite team and dive into the action. Keep an eye on the NRL betting markets, and let the competition commence. Trust us, you’ll be hooked in no time! Just don’t get your League muddled with your Union.

Remember, finding parking at major NRL games can be as challenging as the game itself. So, consider using Share with Oscar for affordable and convenient parking options. Focus on enjoying the game without the stress of finding a spot for your car.

Happy playing, and happy parking!

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