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Office of Sport


This is a ball game played by the Kabi Kabi people of southern Queensland. The game was played with a ball made of kangaroo skin which was called a buroinjin. Spectators used to mark their applause by calling out ‘Ei, ei’.


  • Teams of up to eight players
  • Mixed teams of four girls and four boys are recommended

Playing area

A designated area approximately 60–70 metres long and 30-35 metres wide


A size 3 soccer ball or touch ball as the buroinjin

Playing time

Play games of 15 minutes each half with a break of 5 minutes at half time

Game play and basic rules

This is a running and ball passing game. The aim is for a player of one team to run with the buroinjin (ball) and fully cross over the score line at the other end of the field to score a touchdown. The game is started and restarted after a touchdown with a pass by a team from behind their own score line - halfway for younger players. Play to four touches before possession changes.

The referee will call ‘one’, ‘two’, ‘three’ and ‘four — change over’ as the touches are made. Players call out ‘touch’ when they touch the player with the ball. There is no offside and players may run with the buroinjin and pass in any direction. If a player is touched by a defender while running with the buroinjin they have two running steps (and before the third step lands on the ground) from when touched to play the ball (kick or pass/throw).

A player cannot play the buroinjin and regain it unless it has been intentionally played at by another player of either team. Players who are touched while standing still or walking have a ‘one and two’ (and before ‘three’) count to play the ball.

The buroinjin may be passed/slapped from player to player, but it cannot be hit with a closed fist or contacted by the leg below the knee.

The buroinjin may contact the ground, and bounce passing off the ground is allowed. The game is played by running and passing and does not stop if a player drops the buroinjin. Players may run with the buroinjin as far as they can until touched by an opponent.

If the buroinjin is on the ground, players may not dive on it — they must bend down and pick it up. A player juggling, slapping or hitting at the buroinjin and regaining possession is considered to be in possession if touched — they must play the buroinjin.

If a player drops the buroinjin and re-gathers it but they have been touched (as they or after they have dropped it and regained possession) they are still considered to be in possession and must play the buroinjin. This stops a player intentionally dropping the ball to avoid a touch.

A player who drops a pass and has not been touched may pick up the buroinjin and play on. Passes may be blocked using the body (above the knees) but no contact other than a touch (with minimum force) can be made on the player with the ball. Guarding/marking of opposing players (without contact) is allowed.

A buroinjin cannot be hit from a player’s hands when they are in possession — penalty is a free throw. If a touch is made on the buroinjin while it is in the possession of a player, a touch is called.

Possession changes through infringements such as intercepts, a player running out, and holding or obstructing an opponent. On a change of possession for an infringement or other stoppage, a player either throws the ball in (if it is out) or passes it to another player from where the infringement occurred. For a changeover on the field of play defenders must be at least 3 metres away until a pass is made (within the count of 3 seconds).

A player cannot deliberately play the buroinjin into another player. If they do, possession changes to the other team. Advantage should be played as much as possible. In certain cases, such as disputed possession or double infringements, the referee will perform a bounce ball (ie drop the ball to bounce to waist height) between two opposing players a metre apart.

If a touch ball is used in the game the referee will throw the ball in the air and two opposing players will jump for it (ie same as a jump ball in basketball). All other players must stay at least 3 metres away.


A player scores 1 point if they are able to run over the score line with the buroinjin, without being touched by an opponent.

If an attacking player is touched and the two running steps they are allowed takes them over the score line, a change of possession must be given 10 metres back from the spot where they crossed the score line.

If the defending team are touched behind or knock the buroinjin behind their own score line, the attacking team take possession 10 metres out from the score line opposite the spot where the infringement occurred.

To score a touchdown a player must receive the buroinjin with two feet in the field of play and cross the score line completely without being touched. Players may not receive a pass and score when they are over the score line.

If a player is touched as they are crossing the score line a change of possession is given 10 metres out.


  • Players are not allowed to dive on the buroinjin on the ground — they must bend over and pick it up
  • An additional safety rule could be no diving touches below the knees
  • In competing for a loose buroinjin players must avoid contact Comments
  • For any situations not outlined use the basic rules of touch for general guidelines. Note: The buroinjin can be ‘played’ by hitting (with an open hand only), heading, throwing/passing or any other method of moving the ball within the rules outlined.


  • Play with six touches for inexperienced and/or younger players.
  • There is no limit on the number of touches which can be made on a team but passes must be longer than 2 metres (a lead-up game).
  • Immediately a player with the buroinjin is touched, it has to be thrown up and away (at least above head height in the air) by that player for teammates or the opposing players try to pick it up (traditional version).
  • Players must cross the score line untouched and place/ground the buroinjin to score.
  • Allow players to be over the score line to receive a pass.
  • Players may not re-gather the buroinjin when it is dropped.
  • Allow kicking of the buroinjin.
  • Do not allow the buroinjin to contact the ground (penalty is change of possession). Play the ball back under the legs after a touch is made. Suggestion The game outlined is the result of requests to refine the traditional game to one which could be played as a competitive sport or could be used as a variation of the sport of touch.
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