WE all love the game of netball, but if there is one thing we don’t like about it – it might have to be that infuriating replay call.

When the whistle blows and “replay” is yelled, it is a player’s worst nightmare to be called for it and an umpire’s headache to judge.

Everyone knows a replayed ball is confusing.

With so much grey area, World Netball has given the rule a little refresh before the upcoming 2024 season.


To gain possession a player may:

Catch the ball with one or both hands;

Catch the ball if it rebounds from the goalpost;

Bat or bounce the ball once, then catch it, or;

Touch the ball in an uncontrolled manner once or more than once, then catch it.


Without possession, a player 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, or;

Touch the ball in an uncontrolled manner once or more than once, and then either bat or bounce the ball to another player.


Players still aren’t allowed to kick, punch or roll the ball. Unfortunately, netballers still cannot pass the ball or shoot for a goal while lying or kneeling on the ground. You still can’t fall on the ball to gain possession, and you certainly can’t use the goalpost as a support.

Buzzer-beating goal rules have also been slightly modified, as the goal will stand if the ball has left the shooter’s hands and the shot is successful.

Throw-ins have also been updated, with players no longer needing to wait for a player to come back onto the court.

You still can’t touch the line when taking a throw-in, but you do have to be within 15 centimetres of it.

The rule has changed to speed up a game and not lose momentum when it comes to balls going out-of-bounds.

The good old toss-up when players infringe on another player at the exact same time has been thrown out; instead, the team with last possession will keep it.

The wording around the advantage rule has been adapted and includes greater principles for application to allow umpires to apply and execute successfully.

This will help ensure a team will not be disadvantaged when an opponent infringes, and allow the match to continue smoothly, without interruptions.

The short pass has been updated to make sure a pass between players occurs with sufficient space for an opposing player to be able to intercept the ball.

Foul play has now been divided into three categories: unfair play, unsporting behaviour, and dangerous play, with escalating penalties for each category.

Cautions have now been removed, and umpires are now given the ability to advance or escalate a sanction. After four minutes, players who are ordered off can now be replaced by another player.

Umpires are meant to follow the game management plan but can serve harsher penalties if they deem the incident serious enough.

Steps 1 and 2 are for non-dangerous game infringements.

Step 1: Consists of umpires giving proactive advice – giving players feedback to change their behaviour.

Step 2: To advance or escalate the sanction – a sanction may be advanced up to half a third or about five metres.

Step 3: This is to warn a player, letting them know that if they continue to infringe the foul play rules, they will be suspended.

Step 4: Suspension – the player will be sent from court for two minutes of playing time. After the suspension period concludes, the player may return to the court or be replaced with a bench player.

Step 5: Ordering off – this is where a player must leave the court and take no further part in the match. The key change with this rule is that the team can replace this position after four minutes of play.

These rule changes come after the World Netball Rules Advisory Panel (RAP) completed an extensive 12-month Rules Review process, which ended at Congress 2023 in Cape Town with the members approving the rules changes.

“The rules changes focus specifically on player safety and game management along with clarification and streamlining of existing rules such as contact and advantage. The Rules layout has also been updated to simplify and encourage use by all of the Netball Family, not just umpires,” World Netball said.

“The changes will ensure that the spectacle of netball is maintained while player welfare is protected by putting a greater onus on self-regulation.”

With tactical and rolling substitutions being rolled out across local country leagues, many coaches have commented on the benefits of the new change.

Yinnar Football-Netball Club’s premiership-playing coach, Skye McDonald, said the rolling substitutions will be an interesting addition to the game.

“We will make use of rolling subs coming into Mid Gippsland League amongst our defensive midcourt and defensive circle,” she said.

North Gippsland FNL club Woodside thinks the rolling subs will allow the game to become more about strategy.

“Netball is changing and we’re excited to change with it. With the introduction of rolling subs comes a lot more strategy,” Wildcats coach, Libby Nicol said.

“It will be about understanding each other’s strengths, creating our own momentum and knowing how each change can influence a game.

“We’re excited for it and think it will make netball a better game for everyone.”