The Roar
The Roar


KNOW YOUR LAWS: Can a dropped ball going forward be counted as a legitimate pass?

13th June, 2018

It’s the try that makes the controversy over James Maloney’s match-winning pass to Josh Addo-Carr look like nitpicking.

At first glance, the referee’s call – or lack thereof – can be described as nothing short of a Barry Crocker. But could this really be a legitimate try?

First of all, the player is attempting to offload the ball, which straight away puts this interpretation straight into the forward pass territory, not a knock on ruling.

Section 10.1:
The direction of a pass is relative to the player making it and not to the actual path relative to the ground

In layman’s terms, it means that the ball must leave the hands in a backwards motion but can travel forward with the player’s momentum.

Physics, right?

When watching the video in slow-motion, his hands appear to be passing the ball in a backwards motion. Where the ball lands in relation to the ground is inconsequential based on the above, ruling out the possibility of a forward pass.

But wait, there’s more.

Who can ignore one gobsmacked spectator’s infamous words: “He can’t! He dropped it!”


We all know what constitutes a knock-on. The ball being knocked towards the opponent’s dead ball line.

In this instance, the player is facing towards the sideline when the ball leaves his hands.

With the positioning of his body (and the camera), it’s difficult to determine whether the ball travelled towards the opposition’s dead ball line. In fact, you could actually feel more confident calling it a knock-back than a knock-on.

Sorry to cause you more pain anonymous sideline friend but… “He can! He didn’t drop it!”

What do you think Roarers? Let us know in the comments below.