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Game play and Rules

The general rules for TheBench™ are as follows.  There may be some variation for a particular Code, eg. AFL or NRL but this will give you a general feel for what is what.  League and Competition managers also have access to change a large selection of rules and how they are applied and also to make changes to teams after the round has closed so local rules may apply.   Use the following a general starting point on the system enforced rules and terminology on which your Competition Manager build upon:

League Manager:

  • The League Manager governs the rules of all Competitions within a given League.
  • The League Manager is typically the user who first creates the League.
  • The League Manager defines the scoring rules, positions on the field, squad sizes and Trading rules.
  • A League Manager has access to act as a Competition Manager for each Competition within the League.

(to understand the difference between a League and Competition, see the story here).

Competition Manager:

  • The Competition Manager(s) are the ultimate decision maker regarding rules of each Competition.
  • A Competition Manager may override scores and can retrospectively make changes to teams in closed rounds based on their discretion.
  • A Competition Manager may define local rules which complement or override the rules below.


  • For a Custom League, the scoring rules are completely customisable by the League Manager.  For more information on scoring see this post here.

Player Draft (Draft Competitions Only):

  • The initial order of selection for the draft is selected at random.  Only the Competition Manager can customise this order.
  • For a Snake style Draft mode, selection in the draft is from first to last, last to first and then continues until all Coaches have a full squad.
  • A given player can only be selected for one Club for a given Competition.


  • The fantasy season runs through the standard season of the Code it is following.
  • Finals are run in the last four rounds of the Season where applicable for a given Competition.  Competitions can opts to disable finals.
  • Clubs in the top of the ladder will progress through to the finals.  The number of clubs in the finals is defined by the Competition Manager.
  • Where no finals series exists, the club at the top of the table/ladder at the end of the season is the Competition champion.


  • Each Club must submit a team prior to the closing of each round.
  • A round will close at the first bounce of the first game of the round as defined by the date/time on the Fixture page.
  • If a team is not submitted for a round before it is closed, a default team from the previous week will be selected. For the first round a default team will be selected at random.
  • For Competitions enabling the Position Restriction option, each Players will have a pre-nominated Position Group.  A Player may only be picked in a position matching this pre-nominated Position Group.
  • For Competitions with a “Bench” or “Emergency” position, any player picked on the field who does not play for a given Round will be automatically rotated with this “Bench” player after the Round is complete.  For Position restricted Competitions, the Player on the “Bench” must have a matching Position Group to be rotated.
  • Some round will have a rolling lockout available (see rolling lockout below)

Rolling Lockouts:

  • Some select rounds may have a rolling lockout feature available as indicated on the Fixture page
  • Rolling lockout is off by default in custom Leagues.  The League Admin must enable rolling lockout at the League level to make the feature available.
  • When the round closes (ie. first bound of first game for the round), all unfilled positions will become locked
  • As the real live games for each player’s respective Clubs start, their position will be locked and cannot be changed.
  • Only players in a Club that have not yet started the given round’s game can be selected in an open position.
  • Positions changed after the initial round closure in anyway (ie. changes via the rolling lockout) will not be eligible for bench rotation.  Even if a position is changed and then returned to the original starting line-up, the system will still record it as a change.   This rule prevents a coach placing an injured player on the field to force a player off the bench (eg. the bench player had 11 tackles so I change my tackler to an injured player, forcing the bench player with 11 tackles to come into play).   Notes that from season 2014, your League Manager can disable the enforcing of this ‘loop-hole’.


  • For draft games, a coach may choose to trade players with another coach at anytime during the season, excluding the finals and before the Last Trade Round.
  • The Last Trade Round is set by the Competition Manager
  • You League Manager can choose who needs to approve trading which can include the trading coaches only (ie. the actual coaches trading players), the trading coaches and the Competition Manager or all coaches in the Competition.


  • The number of times Coach can delist and draft a new player is limited. In customised Leagues, Competition Managers can set to a custom amount.
  • For Draft Competitions, if a player is injured indefinitely (“Long Term Injury”), has retired or for some other reason is determined to not be playing for the remainder of the season, this play may be delisted at no cost after this player is marked as “Long Term Injury”. It is up to the Competition Manager discretion to mark a player as “Long Term Injury” and is not enforced by the system in any way.
  • If a new player is drafted during the season, they must be named in the team for the next round.
  • A Coach cannot delist players unless they have a future game schedules unless the Competition is in Draft Mode or in the Pre-season.


  • Finals will be held in the final 4 rounds of the season.
  • Finals will be played by the highest ranked clubs on the ladder.
  • During the finals, if any games end in a draw, a count back will be taken, to which the highest ranked club on the ladder, at the end of the home and away season, will be awarded the win.
  • The number of clubs in the finals will depend on the number of clubs in your competition.  Finals structures can be seen here.


  • Competition Managers will be responsible for managing any competition awards, prizes and/or fees for their own Competition.

Late Team Submissions:

  • The Competition Manager has access to change teams after the round has closed and may use their discretion to do so.
  • Under normal circumstances, TheBench™ does not accept late team submissions.  In exceptional circumstances, where, due to an issue with TheBench and prior opportunity to submit a team was not available (eg. the site is off-line), then late submissions will be considered where approved by your Competition Manager and when submitted prior to the round closing.
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Ben is founder of TheBench. Famous for being relegated two years in a row in his League on TheBench so perhaps more capable in running the site than running his team.

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