A try is the major way of scoring points in rugby league football. A try is scored by grounding the ball on the opposition's goal line, also known as the try line or in their in-goal area.


The term try comes from try at goal, signifying that originally, grounding the ball only gave the opportunity to try to score with a kick at goal.[1]

In early forms of rugby football the point of the game was to score goals. A try was awarded for grounding the ball behind the posts; it had zero value itself, but allowed the team that touched down to try to kick at goal without interference from the other team. This kick, if successful, would convert a try into a goal.

Modern rugby league favours the try in place of goals and thus the try has a definite value, which has increased over time and now eclipses the value of a goal. A conversion attempt is still given, but is simply seen as adding extra 'bonus' points. These points however can mean the difference between winning or losing a match, so thought is given to fielding players with good goal-kicking skill.

Scoring a tryEdit

  • The player holding the ball to score a try and the ball itself must not be in touch or touch-in-goal (including on or over the dead ball line). The touchline, touch-in-goal lines and dead ball lines count as being 'out'. There has to be contact with the ground or corner flag by a player or the ball for it to be ruled in touch or touch-in-goal. Parts of the body in the air above the lines and outside the field of play or in-goal are not touch, and it is common to see players who are partly in the air over the lines still ground the ball successfully.
  • The in-goal area in which the ball must be grounded includes the goal line but not the touch-in-goal and dead ball lines.
  • Grounding the ball in both codes means either holding it and touching it to the ground in-goal, or placing hand, arm or front of body between waist and neck (the front torso) on top of the ball which is on the ground in-goal.
  • A player does not need to be holding the ball to ground it. If the ball is on the ground or just above it, it can be touched to the ground with a hand, arm or front torso. Match officials interpret dropping the ball in-goal as a knock-on, and disallow a try. For a try to be awarded they consider whether the player had the intention to ground the ball and the control of it when they did. Grounding of the ball can be instantaneous, it does not matter if the player immediately lets go and the ball then bounces forward.
  • An attacking player who falls to the ground before reaching the goal line scores a try if momentum carries the player so that the ball touches the in-goal including the goal line.
  • The laws of rugby league still refer to the need for "downward pressure" to be exerted in grounding the ball with hand or arm.
  • The laws of rugby league specify that a try is scored if an attacker grounds the ball simultaneously with a defender.
  • An attacking player whose momentum does not allow the ball to reach the try-line or in-goal after their ball-carrying arm touches the ground may not reach out to score if a defender is in contact with them; this is disallowed by interpretation as a "double movement".
  • The goal posts and padding are not part of the goal line so grounding the ball at the foot of the posts will not result in a try.
  • Players who are in touch-in-goal and not carrying the ball may not score a try by pressing a loose ball still in play to the ground.
  • A try may not be scored in a scrum which crosses the goal line, but when the ball comes out of scrum a player may pick it up and 'bore through' their own scrum to score a try.
  • Video referees in rugby league are given a wider scope to look at the validity of a try and if the video is inconclusive, the decision is sent back to the referee ("ref's call"). Referees often give the benefit of the doubt in favour of the attacking team in such cases.

Point valueEdit

A try is worth four points, having been this case since 1983. Before that, a try was worth three points.

Penalty tryEdit

If the referee believes that a try has been prevented by the defending team's misconduct, the attacking team may be awarded a penalty try. Penalty tries are always awarded under the posts regardless of where the offence took place. The referee "may award a penalty try if, in his opinion, a try would have been scored but for the unfair play of the defending team."[2]


When a try is scored, the scoring team gets to attempt a conversion, which is a kick at goal to convert the try from one set of points into another larger set of points. The kick is taken at any point on the field of play in line with the point that the ball was grounded for the try, and parallel to the touch-lines. This is so the kicker can position the ball in a more advantageous position to increase the chance of scoring. If successful, additional points are scored. For the conversion to be successful the ball must pass over the crossbar and between the uprights. A conversion may only take place as a place kick. The game clock will continue during the preparation and execution of a conversion, hence a team may decline a conversion attempt if recommencing play as quickly as possible is advantageous to them.

To make the conversion easier, attacking players will try to ground the ball as close to the centre of the in goal area as possible. The attacking player will however usually ground the ball when confronted by a defender rather than risk losing the ball by being tackled or may pass it to a team mate.

A conversion is worth two points; a successful kick at goal converts a four point try into six points.

Note, that in sevens and nines, conversions may only take place as drop kicks.


  1. Rugby Heaven Extra point more than a bonus
  2. The International Laws Of The Game, The Rugby Football League (2002), p.13
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