Australian Rules

The Rules of Jugger (as of 31/01/2016)






Setting up




  The Field






The Game






  Starting Positions


  The 'Hit'


  The 'Pin'


  Handling the Skull




  Breaks in Play






  Wrestling and Tackling




  Protective Gear


Optional Modifications


General Notes





1.    Setting up

1.1. Aim of the game

1.1.1.     Have fun in a safe manner. Jugger is, at all times, played with the knowledge that you do so at your own risk.

1.1.2.     The aim is for the Qwik to put the Skull onto the opposing team’s stake/molehill.

1.2. The Field

1.2.1.     The playing field is 45m long by 20m wide divided into thirds.

1.2.2.     From the third line, the side lines continue straight for 10m then a 45° angle is made to the baseline. Each side of the field has a 10m baseline parallel to the opposing baseline.

1.2.3.     A 6m diameter circle is marked out in the centre of the middle third.



1.3.  Equipment

1.3.1.   General Equipment          Scoring zones

Each team may show a preference for a type of scoring zone. The two types are stakes and molehills. During tournaments, a coin toss will allow captains to decide use of molehills or stakes. The choice of which end of the field to start at will be given to the other captain.

Stakes/molehills are placed 1.8m from each end of the field along the length way centre axis.

Stakes are made from foam noodles sharpened into points. Bases can be made from plastic garbage bin lids or circles of high impact foam. Molehills can be made by creating a well in the centre of a foam block or moulded out of foam latex.  ANY attempt to make a molehill that involves wood or metal shall be met with refusal.          Stones

The gong and stones are the traditional method of keeping time and remain off the field for the use of the timekeeper only. A timekeeper measures the duration of thirds using 100 Stones.

A drum, cowbell or similar percussion instrument is acceptable alternatives to the gong, as is a recording of Stones played over speakers. Other options are allowed if agreed upon by the referee and players. Stones must be able to be heard by the referee and all players on the field.          Skull

The Skull starts play in the centre of the centre circle.

Skulls must be made out of soft rubber or foam-like material. When games are played using stakes as scoring zones, the Skull requires a loop/hole that will fit over the stake. When games are played using molehills, Skulls must be no wider than can fit into the molehill but not too thin that they fit too easily. Loops/holes for Skulls are not required when molehills are being played and should not be used as they can be a risk to Qwiks.

1.3.2.   Spars          All Spars

A full guide to spars is available at the end of this document.

  • ·       Spars must be padded to an acceptable standard on all striking surfaces (new/modified spars must be shown to head referee for approval).
  • ·       Unpadded spars are NOT permitted on the field under ANY circumstances.
  • ·       Spars MAY NOT be thrown for ANY reason.
  • ·       May not exceed specified dimensions.
  • ·       May be varied from specifications for creativity, but must remain under specified lengths.

Variations to any of the specified spars may be permitted on approval of safety and practicality.

1.4. Positions

1.4.1.   The Qwik

The Qwik may not have any spar and is the only player permitted to pick up the Skull during play.

Qwiks may only move the Skull towards the goals while they have possession of the Skull, in hand or under arm. The Qwik may throw the Skull or use it to block shots, but cannot kick the Skull nor use it as a spar.

Qwiks are allowed to tackle and wrestle with each other in order to take possession of the Skull. Kicking, punching, biting, pulling of hair, throat holds, head locks, or excessive force etc. is strictly forbidden, but any other means (such as stealing the Skull or forcing the opposing Qwik out of bounds) may be used to gain possession of the Skull,

1.4.2.   The Chain

A Chain type Spar is any Spar with a ball and chain section. 

The exception to this rule is during games involving children where the Chain is replaced by a 4th Enforcer for safety reasons.

1.4.3.   Enforcers

Enforcers are permitted a choice combination of any approved Spar type except chains.


For a full list of Spars see Spar Specifications at the end of this document.


1.4.4.   Substitutes

Substitutes may replace a player in any position at specific times detailed later in the rules.

1.4.5.   Additional People          Referee

There are two or more referee's per game (where possible) on opposite side-lines.

They can direct play with a water pistol. A shot from the water pistol may be used to make the referee's intentions clear to a player.

The only time the whistle will sound is to stop or start play.          Lines People

Up to four lines people should also be used where possible to spot out of bounds, disputed hits and goals placed correctly.          Time Keeper

The time keeper keeps track of the progression of the time of the game and the points scored.

2.    Playing The Game

2.1. Duration

2.1.1.   Stones

A Stone is every 2.5 seconds of play.

Each third is 100 Stones.

Stones are also used to measure the duration of penalties.

2.2. Teams

2.2.1.   Team Composition

Teams require a minimum of five players and are limited to a maximum of eight players. Only five players are permitted on the field at a time.

Each team needs to field:

1 x Qwik

4 x Spar players (including a maximum of one chain player)

Each team may have up to 3 x Substitutes (for any position).

2.2.2.   Team Colours

Players must wear easily seen colours, in the form of:

  • ·       Arm band
  • ·       Head band
  • ·       Shirt or pants

Any combination is permissible within the team as long as team colours are obvious.

Coloured bibs, sashes or rags will be made available where possible for players to wear or tie to the arms, legs or head of team members.

2.3. Starting and positions

Enforcers and Chains commence play along their angles and baseline.

Qwiks commence play at any point around the outside of the centre circle.

To start play the referee ensures the Skull has been placed in the middle of the centre circle and sounds a whistle. From the sound of the whistle the players may leave their respective base lines and Qwiks may take the Skull.

Players must remain at their starting positions until play begins. In the case of a false start, play is halted, teams are reset in their starting positions and the Stone count resets to the count at the beginning of the point.

When play begins, only the Qwiks may enter the centre circle and Qwiks cannot be tagged by an Enforcer or Chain until the circle has been broken. The centre circle is broken when either the Skull, or one of the Qwiks, is fully outside the circle's circumference. Once the circle it broken, it does not affect the game until the Skull is reset.

If any other player steps in the circle, onto the circle line or hits a Qwik before the circle is broken, they will be given a 3 Stone penalty and must kneel in the position outside the circle where they crossed the perimeter.

2.4. Play

2.4.1.   The `Hit'

All Spars excluding Chains (including Dual Short Swords and Short Sword and Shield combinations), require both hands to be grasping the designated grip section(s) of the Spar or combination of Spars at the time of the hit for it to be a valid hit against an opponent. The designated Grip section of each Spar is described in the Spar Specifications in the Spar Specifications.

Full Chains and Aussie Chains require one hand to be grasping the Grip/hand loop or Club Grip at the time of the hit for it to be a valid hit against an opponent with either the ball or club.

Shields have no Striking Surface and may not be used to hit, charge, or push another player.

For a hit on an opposing player to be valid, the striking surface of the spar(s) or the ball of the chain must hit the opponent in the hit zone.

The hit zone for Enforcers and Chains is anywhere on the body (including clothes) below the neck with the exception of hands, below the wrist, when on spars. Hands become part of the hit zone when not on a spar. Hands on the soft parts of the Chain (ball and chain sections) are part of the hit zone.

The hit zone for Qwiks is anywhere on the body (including clothes) below the neck with the exception of forearms (elbow and below). A Qwik in possession of the Skull may use it to block as it does not form part of the hit zone.




There are NO hits to the head (including from the collar bone up), punching, kicking, biting or pulling of hair (penalty at referee's discretion). Pulling, pushing, shoving and holding are acceptable, but a `hit' will only be counted when made by the striking surface area of a club. A hit to a player's head will result in a penalty for the player that executed the hit. ALL HEAD HITS, regardless of if it comes from a Chain, from your own team mate or if on a downed player will result in an immediate penalty of 5 Stones.

If a strike to the head is preceded immediately by a legal hit (by the same player) both legal hit and penalty will count. If a strike to the head occurs first, only the penalty for the head hit counts.

Where a player receives a blow to the groin, it will be treated as an on field injury, with play/Stone count to stop until the player has recovered or been replaced. There is no penalty for the player who made the hit.

When a player is hit s/he must kneel where they were when they were hit and remain inactive for 3 Stones (or 5 Stones if hit by the ball of the chain). Hit players must show CLEARLY, through use of fingers, how many Stones they have remaining on their count, counting down from three (or five), with re-entry into play from their final stone rather than counting up. Counting does not begin until the player's knee is touching the ground. Failure to comply or attempts to hide your count from view may result in penalties/removal from the playing field.

If unable to take a knee because of a legitimate medical excuse, players must stand and signal, CLEARLY, through use of fingers, how many Stones they have remaining on their count in the same method as mentioned above. For safety reasons, kneeling players are NOT to hold their hand above their head to show their count. Players unable to take a knee should have spars in a non-active position (e.g. one hand only on spar) and in a position to reduce tangle/trip hazard. If a standing player can take a knee but is being lazy, they may incur a further penalty Stone amount that is enforceable at tournaments and discretion of the referee at other games.

If the referee calls to see your count, raise your hand to equal height with your head, no higher.


If the Qwik is hit s/he must place (not throw or drop) the Skull immediately on the ground where they were hit and kneel for 3 Stones (or 5 Stones if hit by the ball of the chain).

A player that has been hit may not deliberately obstruct another player but is still able to communicate with the other players on their team while counting Stones.

Simultaneous hits are counted as valid hits, but both players must declare they are in agreement by saying double or mutual (for example) and the other agreeing. In this instance, both players take a knee for 3 Stones (or 5 Stones if hit by the ball of the Chain) as per a normal hit.


---Edited Oct 2014 CLARIFICATION: ---

Player A is hit by a legal hit from the other team. (From a spar for this example)

*stone* (representative of the time keeping)

Player A's knee hits the ground, they place their spar flat on the ground, with their other hand they raise three (3) fingers to signify their count

*stone* One finger is lowered leaving two (2). 

*stone* One finger is lowered leaving one (1). Player A may rise once the stone is heard.



2.4.2.   End of Count

A player will be considered to have returned to play if they have finished their Stone count and:


  • their knee lifts from the ground and/or
  • they lift their Spar.


After a player has completed their count they may rise, but are not required to do so. While down, a player remains inactive and further hits are not counted.

2.4.3.   The `Pin'

A pin is when an active player places the striking surface of their spar against a legal hit zone of an inactive player. The inactive player is pinned and may not rise until;

  • their penalty count is complete, and
  • the pin is released, and
  • the next stone is struck.

Pinning does not interfere with a player's count.


If a pinned player rises before their pin is lifted, they are considered hit and must reset their count.

A player may only pin one player at a time.

A spar must be gripped in the designated grip zones as per a strike for a pin to remain valid.

A pinning player must remove the spar making the pin before striking or engaging another player with it.

Chains may not pin.


2.4.4.   Substituting

Substitute player are permitted to sub in and out any number of times within a third, but only during the following interruptions to play:

  • ·       after a goal is scored,
  • ·       if a player is injured.

The referee must be informed of subs. Failure to comply may result in a penalty (removal of a player from the field).

No additional players/viewers/support staff/participants are allowed on the playing field at any time during play, except in the case of an injury.

If a player is removed on a penalty they may not be replaced and the team must play one player down. They may request that the other team remove a player as well, but the opposing team does not have to comply.

2.4.5.   Handling the Skull

The Qwik is the only player to touch the Skull or place it on the goals. Enforcers are permitted to move the Skull with their spar(s), however, players must exercise due caution when moving the Skull with a spar. Dangerous moves may incur penalties at the discretion of the referee.

The Skull may be thrown along the field by an active Qwik, but it cannot be kicked by any player (3 Stone penalty). The Skull may not be thrown by a Qwik after they have been hit.

Deliberately throwing the Skull after a hit, deliberately throwing the Skull out of bounds, or deliberately throwing the Skull with force at another player may result in penalties at the discretion of the referee.

If the Skull rolls out or gets carried out over the side lines, play continues while the Skull is returned to the point that it left the field by the referee, lines people or substitutes. A Qwik may also retrieve the Skull, WITHOUT PENALTY, by exiting the field at the closest point to Skull, running in a straight line to pick up the Skull, and returning to the field immediately and at the same point that they left the field. Any other player who leaves the field to retrieve the Skull suffers a 3 Stone penalty. If a player is already out of play on a Stone count, they may retrieve the Skull, but their count resets when they return to the field.

2.4.6.   Scoring

A point is scored when a Qwik places the Skull on the opposing team’s stake or into the opposing team’s molehill.

The Qwik must PLACE the Skull wholly on the stake, or into the molehill, so that it doesn't bounce out, for the goal to be valid.

If the Qwik has been tagged and then places the Skull on the stake or into the molehill, the point will not be counted and the Skull will be removed from the stake/molehill.

If a point is scored, play stops and starting positions are taken up. The

Stone count resumes from where play stopped.

2.4.7.   Breaks in Play

If at any time the referee sounds a whistle, play must stop immediately and players HOLD their position until a reason is called.

If this is for a point being scored players may move once the point has been announced.

If play is stopped for an injury or a broken spar players should hold position as much as is practical until the injured player has recovered/been replaced or the broken spar replaced. Common sense should prevail here, as to whether it is practical to hold position awaiting a restart in play. If it is not practical for players to hold position then play will be recommenced at the referee’s discretion for starting positions and possession of the Skull.

2.5. Penalties

2.5.1.   Out of bounds

If a player steps on or over the boundary line so that any part of their body touches the ground past the boundary line, they must kneel for 3 Stones.

The count begins when the player has FULLY returned to the field.

2.5.2.   Other Penalties

At the referee's discretion, a penalty of 3 Stones or more applies to any player not complying with the rules of play.

Also at the referee's discretion, players who repeatedly hit a player who is already down and has not completed their penalty count may be given a 3 Stone penalty.

Referees also have the power to remove a player from the game, usually until that period of 100 Stones has been counted but may be longer. Serious infringements of the rules can result in a ban from that days play or longer.

These penalties result in removal of an offending player from the field WITH-

OUT substitution at the discretion of the referee:

  • ·       excessive force,
  • ·       dangerous play,
  • ·       bad language of any sort,
  • ·       abusive behaviour.

Players removed from the field on penalties are NOT to communicate with players still on the field in any manner; this may result in extension of the penalty. Referees may also, at their discretion, direct players remaining on field on penalties NOT to communicate with other players or face an extension of the penalty.

2.6. Loss of Spars

2.6.1.   Losing a Spar

If a player drops his/her spar(s), that player must recover their spar before attacking another player.

If a player loses their grasp on the club section of the Aussie Chain they must recover it and grasp it by the designated Grip section before engaging another player. It is not permitted to swing the Aussie Chain while the club is dangling loose.

If a spar falls outside the boundary it may be recovered at the expense of a 3 Stone penalty or, if tagged, within their down time, returning to the point they were tagged.

2.7. Safety

2.7.1.   Wrestling and Tackling

Although Qwiks are permitted to wrestle and tackle to gain possession of the Skull, it is not permitted to use any locks, strikes or holds that push safety past play-wrestling. Any use of headlocks/choke holds may result in offending players being removed from the field.

Body checking between Qwiks and by shield users is not permitted and will receive warnings or penalties at the discretion of the referee. Repeated use of this tactic may result in removal from the field.

One Qwik should not lift another Qwik off the ground any higher than waist height and should NEVER drop the Qwik on the ground.

2.7.2.   Tangles

If the chain tangles about a body part, one or both players involved should call `Tangle'. At this point, neither player may be attacked until the chain has been removed from the entangled body part. Under no circumstances is the chain to be pulled while it is entangled about another person.

A chain tangled about a spar does not get called as a `Tangle' and both players may still be hit.

2.7.3.   Personal Protective Gear

As with all contact sports there is a risk of injury. All players should wear as much protection as THEY deem necessary for their chosen position. Gloves, helmets, chest, shoulder and shin pads are all highly recommended. If a player chooses to not wear any equipment, they do so with the knowledge that they do so at their own risk.

Any player with long fingernails, especially the Qwik, may be told to cut them or wear appropriate gloves.

3.    Optional Modifications

Optional modifications (such as Children's Games or playing with fewer numbers) and training variations are to be detailed in an Appendix to this document [not yet available].

4.    General Notes

  • ·       The game is aimed at sportsmanship, competition and enjoyment.
  • ·       There is no recognition of difference between male and female players. Male and female players play on the same teams and against each other.
  • ·       Building advice for spars is purely suggestive (padding advice is NOT). Common sense and practicality should prevail (not forgetting SAFETY) when building spars.


Change log:

2015 04 26 Number of hands for chain players required for a valid hit changed from 2 to 1 as per the vote by Ordinary members on 2015 03 21 through the jugger forum. 

20150621 Removed Official Spar and Padding Specifications to separate document now called Spar Specifications. 

Reverted pinning rule to previous iteration from 2011 rules. (ie no restriction to which player can apply the pin) No official change was recorded, assumed error during rules revision. 

As per voting held in May 2015, rule changes to ensure the Spar Specifications usage was valid were voted in. The following is a summary of the changes: 1.4.2 defined a chain. 1.4.3 added that doubling up of chains is not permitted. 2.4.1 and 2.4.3 defined "gripping" of spars for valid striking/pinning. 2.6.1 specified Aussie chain cannot be swung without holding the grip. 

2016 01 31 Pinning rules vote: As per vote, moved to pin anyone at anytime (from one player within 1 stone of strike). Qwiks can be pinned. Players can only pin one other player. Edited sections 2.4.2 and 2.4.3

2016 12 31 As per vote 2016 12 31: 2.2.1, 1.4.2 Removed requirement for chain on each team. 1.4.3 Removed restriction of only 2 of any spar type to be fielded per team.