Start and Recommencing play
Permitted Numbers at the Centre Bounce
When the football is bounced to start a quarter or recommence play after a Goal has been scored, the following shall apply:
(a) a maximum of 4 Players from each Team are permitted in the Centre Square;
(b) Of the 4 Players, one player from each Team is permitted to be within the 10 meter circle;
(c) no Player (other than the 4 initial Players) or Team Official shall enter the Centre Square from the time the field Umpire commences their approach to the Centre Circle to bounce the football until the football touches the ground, in the act of bouncing, or leaves the field Umpire’s hand, in the act of being thrown up;
(d) where a Player has been pushed or otherwise forced into the Centre Square in contravention (a), the Free Kick shall be awarded against the Team which caused the transgression.
Contesting the centre bounce
The centre bounce or throw up of the football shall be contested by one nominated Player from each Team. The Player nominated to contest the centre bounce shall be positioned in their Team’s defensive half of the Playing Surface and with both feet within the 10-metre circle until they contest the bounce or until the Umpire calls ‘Play On’ due to an “offline bounce”. The Player may only enter the Team’s attacking half after the football touches the ground, in the act of bouncing, or leaves the field Umpire’s hand, in the act of being thrown up. The Player shall not be permitted to block an opponent’s approach to the contest.
No other Player may enter the 10-metre circle until the football touches the ground, in the act of bouncing, or leaves the field Umpire’s hand, in the act of being thrown up. Where these rules are intervened, a free kick will be awarded to the Ruck on the opposing Team.