Terms in Aussie Rules Football

a rough guide

Australian Football has developed a unique and rich terminology.
This list is an alphabetical glossary of terms, jargon and slang.


back pocket
a playing position deep in defence
Either of the two players who defend the areas on either side of the goal front. They need good spoiling skills and are noted for their hardness. They generally play on the smaller, faster forward pockets and let the fullback play on the stronger full forward. Some are small, fast players, whose role is to clear a loose ball from defence. Others are mid‑sized defenders, with enough height and strength to contest or spoil marks, and enough mobility to play on a forward of similar size and speed. It is not an exclusive position. Tall defenders may play in the back pocket to match up effectively on a tall forward playing in the forward pocket.
five goals
Colloquialism for 5 goals scored by one player.
short for ‘holding the ball’
Usually yelled by spectators when an opposition player is tackled in possession of the ball.
ball burster
colloquialism for a massive kick
Usually a torpedo punt which travels over 70 metres.
a method of starting play at a neutral contest
When the umpire judges that the ground is too soft for a bounce, he will throw upwards several metres into the air. Until 1886 the ball was thrown into the air to start a quarter but in 1887 the bounce, now a traditional part of footy, was introduced.
banana kick ∼ checkside punt
a kick which causes the ball to swing in the air
The ball is held with ends pointing to 2 and 8 o-clock (for a right footed kick) and is kicked off the outside of the boot with the ball bending away from the body, spinning in the opposite direction to the swing of the leg. This opens up the face of the goals to give a larger goal face.
a large crêpe paper and sticky-tape banner.
image Constructed by each team's cheer squad and hoisted before the start of a match. Typically showing an encouraging or celebratory message to the team.
By tradition the captain (or a milestone-achieving player) leads the team when breaking the banner. Tracing its origins to the 1930s, it has become standard at all AFL matches.
the banner is unique in world sport
encourage, support, cheer on
The Victoria Barracks were adjacent to the South Melbourne Cricket Ground and St. Kilda Cricket Ground, both used as football grounds.A group of boys were always first to notice the Barrack Personnel walking across the playing fields to support their team, and would cry out: HERE COME THE BARRACKERS!
footy slang since the 1890s
barrel ∼ screwie, torpedo, torp
a punt kick
One that rotates the ball around its long axis, aligned with the direction the ball is travelling.Regarded as the type of kick with the longest distance, but the lowest chance of being accurate.
baulk ∼ selling candy
an evasive manoeuvre
Occurs when a player holds the ball out to the side in one hand, then runs in the other direction to evade a defender.
a score of one point
Occurs when the ball passes over the line between a goal-post and an outer or behind post, which are shorter than goal posts and stand each side of them, or by the ball hitting a goal post, or by the ball being touched prior to passing between the goalposts.
behind post
two shorter vertical posts
Positioned 19.2m apart on the goal line at each end of the ground, centred about the taller goal posts.
best on ground
one judged the best player taking part in a game
Sometimes referred to as BOG, pronounced Bee-Oh-Gee.
big dance
colloquial term for a grand final
The grand final is held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
big sticks
the goal posts
Two tall posts at each end of the ground indicating the major scoring zone, positioned 6.4m apart.
He's kicked it through big white sticks!
an exceptional performance by a player or team
bomb ∼ up and under
a type of kick
A very long kick, especially designed to gain field position, not as a pass to a specific player. Due to the requirement of kicks to travel more than 15 metres before a mark can be awarded, high short kicks (intended to send the ball straight up so players can get under it) are rarely deliberately used. When they are used they are known as up and unders.
boundary line
the line drawn on the ground to delimit the field of play
boundary umpire
an official who patrols the boundary line
These umpires indicate when the ball has fully crossed the line, executing a boundary throw-in to return the ball to play. There are typically two of these umpires per game, one on each side of the oval, but there will be four in top grade games.
boundary throw-in
the act of throwing the ball back into play by the boundary umpire
The boundary umpire stands facing away from the field and throws the ball backwards over their head.Used to restart play from neutral situations whenever the ball goes out of bounds.
boundary rider
a commentator
One who works from the sidelines of the field. They have access to the players, coaches, and medical staff on the interchange bench and during breaks in the game to provide commentary and any injury concerns. They also interview players, coaches, and medical staff after the match. It is a recent extension of the far earlier aussie use of the term – one who rides round the fences of a station, checks their status, and repairs them when broken.
a method of starting play at a neutral contest
They are performed by a field umpire bouncing the ball firmly into the ground such that it bounces directly upwards several metres into the air. When executed in the centre circle (at the beginning of each quarter and after each goal) it is known as the centre bounce, which is contested by one nominated ruckman from each team. Until 1886 the ball was thrown into the air to start a quarter but in 1887 the bounce, now a traditional part of footy, was introduced.
an annual award
The Brownlow Medal is awarded the week of the Grand Final to the player judged to be the fairest and best player in the league for the season, based on accumulated votes awarded by the field umpires at the conclusion of each home-and-away game.