Role of the Assistant Referee

There are two different types of match official in addition to the Referee.

  • Assistant Referees
  • Touch Judges

Assistant Referees must be offically appointed by the match organiser. If they have not been appointed by the match organiser then they perform the role of Touch Judge.

Both are responsible for signalling touch, touch in-goal and the success or otherwise of kicks at goal, however Assistant Referees provide assistance as the Referee directs, including the reporting of foul play

Further information on the differing roles of the match officials can be found here.

The Referee may:

  • ask the Assistant Referee to assist with additional areas in the game beyond their standard duties
  • overrule any decision of the Assistant Referee
  • ask for the Assistant Referee to be replaced if their performance is unsatisfactory
  • send the Assistant Referee off if they are guilty of misconduct.

The Assistant Referee/Touch Judge:

  • adjudicates whether the ball goes into touch, touch-in-goal and goes dead.
  • signals where on the touchline the ball is to be thrown into a lineout
  • signals which team is to throw in the ball at the lineout
  • adjudicates whether a kick at goal has been successful.

If officially appointed, the Assistant Referee may assist the Referee by:

  • signalling incidents of foul play
  • verbally communicating foul play to the Referee in accordance with accepted protocols
  • providing appropriate recommendations relating to the severity of foul play on request
  • providing assistance to the Referee in the performance of any of the Referee’s duties as directed by the Referee.

From the purposes of this module, we refer to the role of Assistant Referee, which may mean some elements may not be relevant for those performing the role of Touch Judge.