Indication of Scores

Irrespective of a goal or behind decision the indication with the hands and arms needs to be crisp and precise. 

The hands shall not be raised above the head during the signal procedure and must finish level with hips and parallel with the ground, and in the case of a goal, arms should be a body width apart.

All scoring signals are to be given within the scoring area and when giving indications goal umpires should be stationary and at attention.


All goal indications are to be given from goal line in the centre of the goal area.  After replacing the flags, return to the centre of the goal area and record the score on your card.


For any ball crossing the scoring line near the goal post, or into the behind area - indications are to be given in line with the point where the ball has crossed the line (except where momentum of goal umpire makes this impractical or the straddle position has been taken in the goal or behind area).  The following advice is given for various instances where a behind has occurred:

  • If the ball hits the goal post, the first movement is to tap chest three times whilst moving to the score line.  They should then receive the 'all clear' from the Field Umpire, then signal the behind and hit the nearest goal post three times above head height and then wave the score.
  • After receiving "all clear" from the field umpire, all indications are to be given facing directly down the ground
  • A “touched” decision is given only when the ball is going through the goal area and has been touched by a player before it crosses the goal line This is done, by hitting one hand with the other above head height. Do not give a touched signal if the ball has been touched by a player, prior to crossing the behind line
  • If unable to record the score before a defender prepares to kick in, wait for a kick off and mark the card after the next act of play, which takes the ball away from the goal area or on a cessation of play (e.g. out of bounds, free kick)

Flag Waving

The first movement is for the goal umpire to raise their flag or flags above their head at a position akin to 11 and 1 on a clock face. The flag movement will be executed above the head and there shouldn’t be any embellishment.

  • The flag waving process for a goal requires the flag to be brought from the starting position across once, back once, and down to the sides
  • For a behind only one flag is required. From starting position across, back and down

General Tips

From the position of having indicated a score, move smartly to pick up the flags, or flag, looking up the field as you do so to detect any incidents that might occur just after a score. Likewise continue to check for incidents whilst returning flags to holders.

The umpires should attempt to move together when getting their flags and waving a score, and the umpire at the non-scoring end should attempt to keep in time with their partner.  If the umpire at the non-scoring end is distracted and does not see their partner signal a score, the umpire at the scoring end shall hold their flag(s) above their head ready to start waving until their partner is ready to wave.

If the goal umpire needs to move out to an incident they should wave and record the score first.

These tips have been provided by Nick Abbate (QAFL - Goal Umpires Coach)Local rules and regulations should take precedence over any specific advice provided.

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