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This ball game was played by South Australian Aborigines in the vicinity of Adelaide (Kaurna language). The parndo (ball) was made with a piece of opossum skin, flattish in shape and about the size of a tennis ball.


Teams of 12 players on a soccer or rugby field and 15 players on an Australian football field

Playing area

A rugby, soccer or Australian football field


A soccer ball, rugby ball or Australian football

Game play and basic rules

This is a kicking and hand passing game. Play starts and re-starts with a throw-up of the ball at halfway. When a player is in controlled possession of the ball (not a ‘loose’ ball) it must be passed to another player before a kick for goal is made. A player who catches/marks the parndo from a kick (at least 10 metres in distance) is allowed to move up to 5 metres without being touched or interfered with. Players who are not touched may run up to 10 metres with the parndo and then bounce or touch it on the ground and run for up to another 10 metres before playing the ball. A player has 3 seconds to play on after they catch/mark the ball from a kick.

A player may not kick straight for goal from a catch/mark but may kick to another player. A player may kick for goal only after they receive a pass/ handball from another player from the same team. A player must kick for goal and score without being touched for it to count - if a goal is scored after a touch, no points are given. If the ball is loose on the ground, players may tap or hit it with open hands, or kick it along the ground but a controlled hand pass has to be made to another player before a goal can be scored. A player contacting a loose ball is not considered to be in possession.

When a player gains possession of a loose ball they may run with it or kick it to another player but it must be passed to at least one other player before a kick for goal can be made. A score cannot be made unless a pass/handball is made to another player. 

In attempting to catch/mark the ball players should attempt to avoid all contact — a player in position first is usually entitled to catch the ball. A player may not punch the ball at any time; only a hit with an open hand is allowed.

A player who is touched while stationery must pass or kick the ball immediately (a quick ‘one and two’ count) or release the ball to the ground for another player to play. After being touched a player cannot

interfere with another player as they attempt to play the ball but they can touch them when that player has possession.

For safety reasons players are not to dive on the ball on the ground but must bend over and pick it up — no other player may contact a player or kick at the ball as they do this (this is judged to be dangerous play).

A ball on the ground cannot be kicked for goal.A kick may be charged down but a player cannot be contacted.

No shepherding/obstructing opposing players is allowed at any time.


Rugby: Drop kick over crossbar 3 points; punt kick over crossbar 2 points; kick off the ground no points; punt or drop kick below the crossbar all 1 point; hit or pass between the uprights 1 point.

Australian football: Normal scoring but can be played with 8 points for a drop kick between the goal posts.

Soccer: Either same as rugby or score 2 points for a goal when the ball is kicked from the hands and no points if kicked from the ground.


• Players are only allowed to kick the ball if they have received it from a pass/handball.

• The game may be played with teams going to either goal if they gain possession.


Refer to the rules of Australian football for the basics of the game.

This game is an attempt to include some of the intent of the traditional game in a version that will allow for a more modern game.


In the Kaurna language spoken in the southern parts of South Australia a parndo was a ball to play with.

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