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GA has penalty pass or shot in the circle and GD has to stand by their side. GA takes a diagonal step forward which places her directly in front of the GD. As the GD cannot move until the shot is taken it places the GA in a more advantageous position to shoot and perhaps gain a rebound. Is this a correct interpretation? At a recent tournament when our GA did this she was pulled up for footwork.

Broadly “Yes” but this was one of the rules which changed in 2001. Previously this would have been completely within the rules, but this is no longer the case. The relevant rule is 18.1.2 which states that, “The player taking the penalty must take up the position clearly directed and indicated by the umpire, throw the ball within 3 seconds and obey the footwork rule (refer Rules 3.1.6(xi) and 19.2)”. Thus in the example given, the umpire calls for a penalty pass; the GD (being a good player) immediately goes and stands beside the GA. The GA is quite at liberty to move diagonally forward onto her non-landing foot, without breaking the footwork rule, to put herself in front of the GD. Clearly if the GA was already in a prime position for shooting she would not wish to give this up and move forward to a position much too close, or even under, the post. This presents a problem for the umpire. Unless they think that a player is deliberately setting out to waste time, if the penalty pass (or shot) is not taken from the right spot they should stop the game and ask for it to be re-taken and not, in this example call the GA up for footwork; unless it was, such as re-grounding her foot on the ground. Also from an umpiring point of view the player taking the penalty can feel intimidated by the penalised player. The advice in Rule 18.3.2 MUST be followed. This rule starts off “The penalised player must stand beside and away from the player…”
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If a player ie. GD goes off behind the goal-line to defend the GS who has also gone off behind goal-line, is it a penalty pass/shot in the circle near where infringement occured?? If not, what is the penalty?? (both players went off court freely)

Rule 16.6.1 says “A player may defend an opponent who has chosen to go out of court provided that the defending player does not leave the Court or own playing area in order to defend.” Thus the PENALTY is a Penalty Pass or Penalty Pass or Shot on Court, “opposite the point where the infringer attempted to defend.” Remember, players cannot just go off court “freely” If two players go off court to try and gain a better position, then they cannot interfere with each other until both are back on court.
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Why is it that no two umpires umpire the “playing the ball rule” in the same way? During a recent match one umpire called for either ‘re-playing the ball’ or ‘double bounce’ seemly every few minutes whilst the other umpire hardly ever did.

Firstly there are no “dropped ball” or “Double Bounce” rules, neither is there a “lost control” rule. Its all covered by Rule 13 “Playing the Ball” the crux of the issue is did the player have control of the ball in the first instance rather than merely having contact with it? It only becomes a problem if it was controlled before it was dropped in which case it would be a ‘replayed ball’. So how do you decide what is controlled and what isn’t? Instead of just looking at the player with the ball and saying “I think she could have done something with that ball” rather, look at it a slightly different way. Ask yourself “How long was that ball in contact with the players hand(s)?” What you are looking for was the length of time that the ball stayed in contact with the hand(s)? If there was clear contact between the hands and the ball and the player then picks the ball up then it is most likely to have been replayed and should be penalised; also look at the path of the ball, was it changed as a result of the contact? If a ball goes straight through a players hands, without seemingly stopping (and there was no change in its path) then there is no way that ball could have been controlled and this should not be penalised. The other factor you need to reflect on is that a player can ‘tip’ the ball in an uncontrolled manner any number of times.
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