Rugby League


​​​Guideline review date: 28 October 2021​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​This guideline is provided to support schools in implementing the managing risks in school curriculum activities procedure.

The CARA planner (DOCX, 600KB) must be used for the specific school context in conjunction with this guideline considering additional risks, hazards and controls and including environmental, facility, equipment and student considerations.

For activities beyond the scope of this guideline, complete a CARA record using the CARA generic template (DOCX, 488KB).

Activity scope

This guideline relates to participation in rugby league as an activity to support curriculum delivery.

For activities conducted at a non-Department of Education venue, and/or when engaging external expertise, request written risk assessment advice and attach it to this CARA record.

For activities conducted off-site, schools must comply with the school excursions procedure.

For activities conducted as part of representative school sport programs, schools should consult with Queensland School Sport​.​

Medium risk
Rugby league activities involving minimal risk of oppositional contact and/or mouth injury.
High risk
Rugby league activities involving risk of oppositional contact and/or mouth injury.

Activity requirements

If any requirement cann​ot be met, the activity must not occur.

If any other safety recommendation cannot be met, modify the activity (or elements of it) and/or identify and use the hierarchy of controls to implement alternative control measures to meet or exceed the minimum safety standard.

Competition rules and procedures with additional or more stringent safety requirements must take precedence.​

Schools must consult NRL coaches handbooks​ ​for age-appropriate activities.


Parent consent (DOCX, 306KB) is required for all activities conducted off-site and strongly recommended for high risk activities conducted on-site.

Additionally for high risk activities

Mouthguards and a medical declaration are required for activities when there is a high risk of mouth injury. The medical declaration must include the following statement:

'I understand that mouth protection is mandatory in this sport. I have read the information provided to me about mouth protection and accept responsibility for the type of mouth protection I/my child will wear whilst playing this sport.'


Principals make final supervision decisions for the activity. Sufficient adult supervision must be provided to manage the activity safely (including emergency situations).

The number of adult supervisors required to fulfil emergency and supervision roles must consider the nature of the activity, students’ ages, abilities and specialised learning, access and/or health needs.

Before the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be familiar with the contents of the CARA record
  • must assess weather conditions prior to undertaking the activity, inspecting the intended location in order to identify variable risks, hazards and potential dangers.

During the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be readily identifiable
  • must closely monitor students with health support needs
  • must comply with control measures from the CARA record and adapt as hazards arise
  • must suspend the activity if the conditions become unfavourable (e.g. extreme temperatures, thunderstorms).

Supervisor qualifications

Principals make final decisions in determining supervisor capability (competence, relevance and currency) and are responsible for encouraging and enabling school-based activity supervisors to raise their qualifications to improve safety standards.

All adult supervisors must comply with the working with children authority—blue cards procedure and be able to identify, and respond to, risks or hazards that may emerge during the activity.

A registered teacher must be appointed to maintain overall responsibility for the activity.

For medium risk activities:

  • At least 1 adult supervisor is required to be a registered teacher with competence (knowledge and skills) in teaching rugby league; or 
  • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with NRL Community coach accreditation/s for the current season appropriate to participant age group/s.

For high risk activities:

  • At least 1 adult supervisor is required to be a registered teacher, or other adult supervisor working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with NRL Community coach accreditation/s for the current season appropriate to participant age group/s.
  • Qualified coaches and officials must be in control of competition games.
  • Referees must have NRL referee accreditation for the current season. Note: Any registered referee who is currently a student of a participating school must not be appointed to referee an unmodified game.
  • If Touch judges are not provided by the Referees’ Association, each school should provide competent officials (such as parents with knowledge and skills) to fulfil these roles.

Facilities and equipment

The qualified adult supervisor of the activity, in consultation with the principal, determines the requirements for facilities and equipment appropriate to the local context.

Location must be suitable for the activity being undertaken, including sufficient space to ensure safe participation and that safety rules and procedures can be followed.

Participants must wear personal protective equipment appropriate to the activity (e.g. footwear).

Fit-for-purpose goalpost padding made from impact absorbing foam is required.

 Common hazards and controls

Further to those listed, include any additional hazards and control measures considering the local context of the activity.

Environmental hazards Control measures

Biological hazards
Body fluids (e.g. blood, saliva, sweat)

Manage bodily substances (e.g. blood) and open wounds before, during and after the activity.

Consult infection control guidelines and Queensland Health's exclusion periods for infectious conditions poster (PDF, 1.5MB) for hygienic practices and first aid.

Follow appropriate cleaning and hygiene management practices when using shared equipment (Departmental staff search "cleaning advice for shared equipment" in OnePortal).

Environmental conditions
Weather, sun, humidity

The school's sun safety strategy must be followed.

Assess weather (Bureau of Meteorology) and environmental conditions prior to participating outside.

Follow the managing excessive heat in schools guidelines when participating in very hot or extreme heat conditions.

Ensure drink breaks occur regularly. Make water available for individual participants between drink breaks.

Facilities and equipment hazards Control measures

Boundary clearance

Establish a 3 metre safety zone around the playing area. If this cannot be achieved, consider ways of reducing risks (e.g. reducing the field size, padding the obstacle).

Ensure there are no sharp or rough edges (e.g. portable signage) facing the field of play.


Lines are marked on grass in accordance with the line marking of sports fields fact sheet.

Faulty or dangerous equipment

Use corner flags and markers made from non-injurious material (e.g. cardboard, foam).

Check equipment for damage before and during the activity.

Check footwear before each match to ensure they provide sufficient protection for the feet. Look for non-slip soles, no buckles or zips, no loose, sharp-edged or excessively worn studs and no sharp-edged soles.

Playing surface

Conduct a field check to identify and manage surface hazards. Clear the playing surface from loose items or debris. Do not participate on a surface that is slippery, unduly rough or chopped up.

Cover/fill playing surface hazards (e.g. sprinkler heads, holes) to be level with the surrounds.

Student considerations Control measures

Physical contact
Breaks/sprains, cuts/abrasions/grazes, concussion, accidental bumping

Use body padding and headgear (recommended for activities involving collision).

Enforce rules to prevent rough play. Consult Play by the Rules (conduct and behaviour resources) and the NRL Safeplay Code.

Manage injuries according to established procedures. If in doubt, do not allow students to return to play after injury until medically cleared.

Physical exertion
Exhaustion and fatigue

Conduct warm-up/cool-down activities.

Continually monitor participants for signs of fatigue and exhaustion.

Student issues
Student numbers, special needs, high risk behaviours, medical conditions, separation from the group

Select students for on-field position(s) on the basis of ability, size and suitability.

Choose team members with an age difference of no greater than 2 years, as per the Queensland Rugby League age groups.

Remove accessories (e.g. jewellery, lanyards) before participating.

Ensure fingernails, hair and clothing (e.g. support strapping) do not interfere with the activity.


This information is developed and distributed on this website by the State of Queensland for use by Queensland state schools only.

Use or adaptation of, or reliance on, this information by persons or organisations other than the State of Queensland is at their sole risk. All users who use, adapt or rely on this information are responsible for ensuring by independent verification its accuracy, currency and appropriateness to their particular circumstances. The State of Queensland makes no representations, either express or implied, as to the suitability of this information to a user's particular circumstances.

To the full extent permitted by law, the State of Queensland disclaims all responsibility and liability (including without limitation, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs arising from the use or adaptation of, or reliance on, this information.

Links to external websites are for convenience only and the State of Queensland has not independently verified the information on the linked websites. It is the responsibility of users to make their own decisions about the accuracy, currency, reliability and correctness of the information at these external websites.

Last updated 14 July 2022