Full Rules

These are the full comprehensive rules of the game. 

Full BugPolo Rules

Basic Rules – Social Grade Competition

These are an easy to read version to get you started.

Basic BugPolo Rules – 2020
  • Players Per Team: Six on the pool.
  • Playing Time: 24 minutes


  • The pool is divided by the centre line and the “bucket lines” placed eight metres from either end of the pool.

Starting Each Half

  • Teams must be touching their end of the pool when the referee throws the ball onto the halfway line. Goalies must be in their goal mouths.


  • Goals: 2 points when scored by a male, 3 points when scored by a female, plus 1 point extra when thrown from outside the bucket line.
  • Penalty shot: 2 points
  • Starting points: 2 points per female player to a maximum 6 points.

Bug Rules

  • A player must be seated in their bug to take part in the game.
  • No touching an opposition player’s bug, except for the goalie when “tagging”.
  • No barging unless competing for a ball on the water.
  • A bug has right of way if it is ahead, or will cross ahead of an opposition bug.
  • Blocking: Opposition bugs may be deliberately blocked from advancing by using the “right of way rule” only when they are in possession of the ball, or are in the defenders half of the pool.

Ball Rules

  • Possession: A player may only maintain possession of the ball for 4 seconds, unless they are continuously advancing towards the opposition’s end of the pool or the goal.
  • Passing the ball: The ball must be thrown, not handed.
  • Obstructing: No grabbing or knocking the ball from an opposition player’s hands. No blocking their throw from inside the perimeter of their bug.
  • Out of play: The ball is out if it, a player (or their bug) while in possession of the ball, touches the side of the pool. The ball is out if it touches the ceiling.
  • Restart Throws: Side line, corner, goalie and free throws must be two handed over the head.
  • Corner throw: Taken from the side of the pool at the bucket line. All attacking team players must be outside the bucket line.

Goal Rules

  • Goal Zone: An area extending two metres directly in front of the goal mouth. The goalie is the only defending player allowed in this zone, unless they are close marking (<1m) an opposition player or retrieving the ball.
  • Tagging: A player whose bug is “tagged” (hand touched) by the goalie while inside the bucket line, must surrender the ball, or if not in possession they must retreat completely outside the bucket line before their team can score.
  • Goalie: Outside the bucket line the goalie becomes a normal player.
    The ball is dead as soon as it is held by the goalie inside the bucket line.
    The goalie restarts the game after a goal is scored. The goalies team are ruled “offside” if a player is over the opposition’s bucket line when the restart throw is taken.

Revised: 03/08/2020