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Field Umpire Signals

High Tackle

Definition: Any attempt to tackle an opposition player above the shoulders will result in a free kick to the player who was tackled.
Signal: Blow the whistle, touch one hand to the opposite shoulder.
Explanation: “High tackle, your free kick number 8, Cats.”

Tripping (Low Tackle)

Definition: When a player trips, or attempts to trip an opposition player below the knees, whether by the use of hand, arm, foot or leg.
Signal: Blow the whistle, raise one leg and touch the shin with both hands.
Explanation: “Tripping, your free kick number 10, Swans.”

Illegal Disposal

Definition: When a player throws or hands the football to another player or when a player has not disposed of the ball legally when being tackled. For example, when a player punches the ball after dropping it or throwing it.
Signal: Blow the whistle, in a sweeping motion extend both arms straight out to your sides with a slight lean forward.
Explanation: “Throwing, your free kick number 1, Bulldogs.”

In the Back

Definition: When a player pushes or tackles an opposition player from behind.
Signal: Blow the whistle, extend both arms straight out in front of you.
Explanation: “In the back, your free kick number 9, Saints.”

Holding the Man

Definition: When a player holds or throws an opposition player who is not in possession of the football, including after that player has disposed of the ball.
Signal: Blow the whistle, grip your shirt in both hands, at the waist.
Explanation: “Holding the man, your free kick number 20, Lions.”

Holding the Ball

Definition: A player who has had prior opportunity and does not immediately dispose of the ball by hand or foot before being legally tackled will be deemed to have been caught holding the ball. NOTE: Players that have not had prior opportunity must be given a reasonable amount of time to attempt to kick or handball before being deemed to have been holding the ball. Please refer to the Spirit of the Laws, 4. Tackling section.
Signal: Blow the whistle, start with your arms crossed over your chest, lean forward and extend your arms out at your sides to finish in a parallel position.
Explanation: “Holding the ball, your free kick number 18, Eagles.”

Illegal Shepherd

Definition: When a player pushes, bumps, holds or blocks an opposition player when the football is further than 5 metres away or out of play.
Signal: Blow the whistle, stretch your arms out to your sides, parallel to the ground.
Explanation: “Illegal shepherd, your free kick number 9, Bombers.”

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