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Why is my centre being penalised for 'delaying play'?

My centre was penalised 3 times for not stepping into the centre circle directly at the centre pass. This seems a strange application of the deliberately delaying play rule, as she certainly was not doing it deliberately. What rule exactly was she infringing here?

you must not stop or delay play when approaching the center circle.  the old times when we use to look to see if our players are on side prior to entering the circle are gone.  basically teach her to be looking to her players and calling for them to hurry up to get behind the line, and apporach the circle at a constant speed (which can be walking, jogging or running, as long as its constant), and then just step in.  i too have seen this rule applied more often during the last season.

Thanks Lee-anne. That is helpful - I wonder why umpires have decided to apply this rule differently  - the delay to play was less than half a second, compared with the time it took to give the free pass and for all the players to work out what was going on.

The idea behind applying the rule is to speed up the game.  Ultimately new rules and applications of the rules are to make the game faster, with the big picture being that it will be more viewer friendly when watching it televised at some future olympics.

Hi John, as an umpire (and a coach) I look at the level of the player before I start applying the "Delaying Play" rule - often for younger ones I will inform the coaches and signal what exactly they are doing eg circling the centre before jumping in.  At senior level there is no warning. Centres occasionally  slow down their approach to the centre to ensure all their team are behind the line - this is obviously delaying play. 

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