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.


key position
full-forward ‧ centre half-forward ‧ centre half-back ‧ full-back
These positions are considered the most difficult roles to play.
key position player
a player in the main forward or defensive roles
Usually tall and strongly built, these make up what is known as the spine of a team.
a legal disposal of the ball by foot
By formal definition, contacting the football with any part of a player's leg below the knee is considered a kick.
a defender kicking the ball into play from the goalsquare after an opposition behind
The team kicking in (sometimes known as a kick-out) may elect any one of its players to take the kick-in. The man on the mark stands five metres in front of the goal square. The player kicking in is given approximately ten to fifteen seconds from when they pick up the ball to take their kick before the umpire will call play-on, at which point the man on the mark may advance. Players kicking in may either kick to a teammate, or kick to themselves to allow themselves to play on. Whichever option is taken, the player must kick from wholly within the white lines of the goal square, even if the umpire has already called play-on for taking too much time - if their foot touches the line of the goal square, then play is stopped and the umpire will bounce the ball at the centre of the kick-off line.
If a kick-in goes out of bounds without being touched by another player, the boundary umpire will signal out on the full and award a free kick to the opposition, whether or not the ball has bounced before going out. This is to prevent teams from getting their longest kicker to kick for touch. Kicking to oneself satisfies the kick-in condition, so any further kick taken will be treated normally. Historically, kick-in strategy would be that the team's longest kicker would send the ball as far down the field as possible, resulting in a marking contest; this way, even if an opponent took a contested mark, they would be one long kick plus ten metres away from the goal line, and would be hence unlikely to score. The 1970s saw the birth of the huddle, which pioneered the act of pinpointing a shorter pass to a teammate. In the modern game a quick kick-in exists when a behind is scored in a largely vacant forward-line; the rule change (see below) means that the opposition cannot man up, and the first couple of kicks generally come very easily. For non-quick kick-ins, huddles are sometimes used, which require man coverage. Otherwise, zone coverage is most common. Some teams will set their players up 25-50m out from goal, and these teams aim to take a couple of safe short passes to progress 30m down the field, at which stage the field is wider and the downfield options are more free. Other teams set up a longer kick-in, leaving the first 30m largely vacant. Teams who do this will seek to find a 40-50m pass on the lead; if no leads are available, then the player will kick to himself and begin to run into the empty space, forcing the downfield options into a wider area and potentially an easier pass. Rule changes: In 2005, a player who kicked to themselves from the kick-in was allowed to do so by a simple tap-kick (kicking the ball clear of hand and foot). Prior to this season, the kick must have begun behind the white line, and ended over it; this was deemed to be an irrelevant technicality, and was accordingly removed. In 2006, new rule changes meant that a player did not have to wait for the Goal Umpire's flags to be waved before kicking out, and could kick out as soon as a behind was signalled. This sped up the flow of the game significantly but angered some.
kicking in danger
swinging one's leg to kick the ball when an opponent is moving head-first towards the ball
The penalty is a free-kick.
kick-off line
the line on the goal square which is parallel to the goal line
king hit
an illegal physical attack on a player behind play
Generally to the head, which leaves the victim in a dazed or unconscious state.
a pastime and well-known tradition of footy fans
It is used as a warm-up exercise for many Aussie rules clubs, and has been the beginnings of many clubs in far-flung places.
It has long been a pitch invasion tradition immediately after the final siren, but in the modern era the practice has been discontinued at most AFL venues, a notable exception being Metricon Stadium at Carrara, home of the Gold Coast Suns. It is a casual version of aussie rules, similar to the relationship between backyard/beach cricket and the established forms of cricket, and is a recognised Australian term for kick and catch type games. Although not a sport in itself, the term is used to describe a social exercise played in parks, fields, streets, back yards and also as a playground game that requires at least two people.
kicks after the siren
an allowed kick
If a player takes a mark or is awarded a free kick shortly before the siren sounds to end a quarter, the player is allowed to take the kick after the siren.
Often, the result of this kick is of little consequence, but if the player is within range of goal, any score will count towards the final result.
an allowed ball tactic
Occurs when a player uses their hands to move the ball to a teammate's advantage, either by knocking it through the air or along the ground rather than take possession within a chain of play.