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.


captain ∼ skipper
a player who has additional roles from a regular player
They are an onfield leader (second to the coach) who has various roles including to inspire the players and sometimes address umpires and the media.
coin toss
A coin toss between the captains determines which end of the ground each team will kick to. The away captain calls while the coin is in the air; the winner makes the choice of end.
This decision usually depends on weather conditions — the direction & strength of the wind gives a significant advantage.
addressing the players
Before the game and during the quarter & half time breaks the captain will address the players in a huddle.
Whereas the coach address typically discusses strategy and field positions, the captain's address is usually purely motivational.
Will visit the rooms of each team before a game and advise the captains on any rule interpretations that they will be strict on and what they will and won't tolerate.
The captain is the only player who is allowed to question or discuss an umpires decision.
Any other player who does so can be penalised or reported. A captain may also be reported if he becomes abusive.
The captain will take a role in media relations on behalf of the team.
team selection
The captain may be asked to participate on the selection committee to determine which players make the squad.
representative for the players
If a player does something detrimental to the playing group, such as inappropriate behaviour like taking drugs, the captain will act in the interests of the other players and request that the club take appropriate action.
head count
The captain may request the game to be stopped for a head count to determine if the opposition is fielding too many players.
grand final
Traditionally the captain and coach hold up the premiership cup before it is handed to the players.
The captain is required to make a speech, including thanking the opposition team.
multiple captains
A coach may appoint multiple captains for the following roles.
Used for multiple captains.
Second to the captain.
deputy vice-captain
Used only when both captain and vice-captain are injured.
come on!
A sporting barrackers cry.
Carn the Blues!
centre bounce
executed in the centre circle
image Six Players from each Team are permitted in each area defined by the Boundary Line and the Fifty Metre Arcs.
Of these six Players, at least one Player from each Team is positioned within both Goal Squares.
Four Players from each Team are permitted in the Centre Square.
Of these four Players, one Player from each Team will be the Ruck and is positioned within the Ten Metre Circle in their defensive half.
One Player from each Team is positioned in each shaded area.
laws of the game
centre half-forward
a key position on the half-forward line
This role is usually the most demanding of any player on the field, with a tall frame (for good marking skills), strength and athleticism required.
The directly opposing player is a centre half-back
centre line
a set of positions on a footy field.
It consists of three players, two wingers either side of a ruckman in the centre.
chewie on your boot!
a cry intended to disconcert a footy player taking a kick
chicken wing tackle
an illegal move , originally from rugby league
A player locks an opponent's arm so that he or she cannot legally move the ball. It became a controversy after Kangaroos' skipper Brent Harvey was chicken winged in 2009 and suffered a dislocated elbow that caused him to miss months of play. In July 2012 Carlton captain Chris Judd was involved in an incident in a game against North Melbourne. North player Leigh Adams had been tackled by another player and was lying on the ground. Judd grabbed his arm and pulled it backwards in the chicken wing style.
Judd was widely criticised and was cited for misconduct and suspended for four games by the tribunal.
a turnover or a silly mistake made by a player
Examples include:
  • Any disposal or deliberate knock-on that goes directly to an opposition player.
  • Any free kick conceded.
  • Dropped marks or fumbles under no pressure.
  • Stepping over the line when kicking in after a behind.
Its vague description in statistical tables is
Errors including frees against.
coined by champion data founder ted hopkins
a type of zone defense
Consisting of a grid-like arrangement of fifteen or more players, particularly used to oppose a kick-in.
the manager of the team
Who controls the team's tactics during a match.
coast-to-coast goal
scored by delivering the ball the full length of the oval
It can only be scored after one team scores a behind.
After the ball is returned into play from the goal square, it is travelled to the opposite goal by kicking, handballing, marking, and running, without the defending team touching the ball.
a dangerous high tackle
It occurs when a running player is stopped by an arm to the chest or neck and usually gets knocked onto their back.This type of tackle can cause serious injury and is almost always a reportable offence.It is similar to the clothesline move used in professional wrestling but involves more speed with the players running in open space and therefore, higher likelihood of the hand or arm damaging the tackled player's throat.
coin toss
for choice of goal
12.1 Choice Of Goal
The end of the Playing Surface to which a Team shall attack shall be decided by the toss of a coin as follows:
(a) the field Umpire (or such other person approved by the Controlling Body) shall toss the coin;
(b) before the coin is tossed, the captain of the away Team shall call ‘the fall of the coin’;
(c) the captain of the Team who wins the toss of the coin shall choose the end to which their Team shall attack in the first quarter; and
(d) at the conclusion of each quarter, the Teams shall change ends.
a condition affecting the collingwood football club
image A play on the words Collingwood and Collywobbles, meaning a state of intestinal disorder, usually accompanied by a rumbling stomach. It is an affliction which causes them to consistently lose premiership matches, referring to the period between their 1958 and 1990 premierships.
This era was dubbed as the colliwobbles because they sometimes lost by small margins.
During that time the Magpies reached the Grand Final nine times, for eight losses plus one draw which resulted in a replay, which was lost. It is a specific term for choking when done by Collingwood. The era ended in the 1990 Grand Final, when Collingwood defeated Essendon, and reappeared in 2018 when they were defeated by West Coast. The term remains in common usage to describe any upset losses by Collingwood.
coined by lou richards
an in-game scenario
Where two or more players have an opportunity to win the ball.
contested possession
a possession achieved as a result of winning a contest
Includes hardball gets, looseball gets, contested marks, free kicks won in a contest, and contested knock-ons.
colloquialism for a corked muscle
Which is a deep bruise, usually in the leg.
the imaginary strip of the ground that runs through the centre from goal to goal
A team who moves the ball in this area is said to play through the corridor.
crow throw
a handball technique
Involves using a significantly shorter arm swing from the punching hand.
The style was somewhat unusual to SA in the SANFL and ultimately to the Adelaide Crows.
As a result the technique was given the pejorative name crow throw (derived from croweater, a common name for South Australians).
a ball that spills loose from a contest
A player who collects this ball is described as a crumber.
To crumb a goal is to score after getting the crumbs.