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.


a passageway for players to access the ground at a football field
a very high kick
a kicking style that results in long kicks
the act of moving the ball forward
After winning it as the result of a turnover in the defensive end of the ground.
the state of a player after an umpire has written their name into a notebook
For an act, during play, that may result in the player being suspended.
recycled player
a player continuing a career at another club
The term is used to refer to senior players who, unwanted by their original club, continue a career at a second.Recycled players have somewhat of a stigma attached to them, and it is considered that if they are seen to have played poorly at one club, they will not find things much better at another club.
However, many recycled players work through this and go on to moderate success at their new clubs.
Recycled players are generally delisted by their club at the end of the season, and are then selected in the preseason draft by another.
Alternatively, a recycled player is traded from his original club to a new club; since he is no longer wanted by his original club, his new clubs usually needs only to part with a fourth or fifth round draft selection, or another recycled player, to obtain him.
a follower
Typically the smallest player on the ground, his role is to lurk around centre bounces and stoppages to receive the ball from a ruckman or ruck rover and complete a clearance. One of three players called followers because they follow the ball around the ground, as opposed to playing in a set position.In modern football, the rover, ruck rover, centreman and wingmen are often grouped together as midfielders.
rocket handball
a handball technique which causes the ball spins backwards in the air in the same fashion as a drop punt
It was pioneered by Kevin Sheedy and is now the most common handball technique in modern football. It is considered the most effective style of handball in terms of distance and accuracy, although it can take longer to execute than other styles.
rookie list
a means to maintain additional players
The rookie list is a means for AFL clubs to maintain additional players outside of the 38-man primary or senior list. Listed players are not eligibile to play in home‑and‑away or finals matches, unless they are elevated to the senior list, either to replace a retired player, or a player with a long-term injury.
a very long kick
a planned interchange designed to minimise fatigue of midfielders
the contest following a bounce, throw up or boundary throw in
For the avoidance of doubt, where there is uncertainty over who is the designated ruckman, the ruckman for each team will be the player nominated to the field umpire by each team. laws of the game
typically a tall and athletic player
One of the most important players on the field, contesting at centre-bounces, boundary throw ins and ball-ups. When he beats his opponent by contacting the ball, it is called a hit out and measured as a statistic and performance indicator of effective ruckwork. He uses his height (typically over 200cm tall) to palm tap or fist the ball so that a ruck rover or rover can run onto it. With no offside or knock on rules, he can tap the ball in any direction. Traditionally they have simply been tall players with limited skill and speed, whose only job was to provide a contest in the ruck. In recent times they have become faster and more skilled, playing as an extra midfielder in between ruck contests. Rucking often involves vigorous mid-air collisions with the opposing ruckman. It is one of the most physically demanding positions on the ground, both in terms of fitness and body contact. Where there is uncertainty over who is the designated ruckman, the ruckman for each team will be the player nominated to the field umpire by each team. laws of the game
ruck rover
a follower
One who roves around the ruck, as opposed to playing in a set position.
The ruck rover's role is to be directly beneath the flight of the ball when a ruckman taps the ball down, allowing an easy take away or clearance from a stoppage.
running bounce
a skill necessitated by the laws of the game
A running bounce (or simply bounce) occurs when a player – while running – bounces the ball on the ground and back into their hands. The rules of football state that a player running on the field with the ball must take a running bounce or touch the football on the ground at least once every fifteen metres, irrespective of whether the player is running in a straight line or otherwise. If they run too far without taking a bounce the umpire will signal running too far by rolling their clenched fists around each other, and will pay a free kick to the opposition at the position where the player oversteps his limit. While the distance of 15m is explicit in the rules, the lack of markings on the ground makes it impossible for umpires to accurately judge these free kicks.
Regular watchers of football generally have a feel for the average time between running bounces which "feels right", and umpires usually penalise players when they exceed this by more than a few steps.
Instead of executing a running bounce, players may bend over and touch the ball onto the ground. It must be touched with both hands or a free kick will be rewarded to the opposing team. This has the disadvantage of taking much longer, increasing the risk of being tackled by an opponent, but it has the advantage of reducing the risk of making a bad bounce and dropping the ball. This technique is often used on rainy days when the mud or water on the ground makes a regulation bounce much more difficult, but is also used by some players, particularly in lower levels, who have yet to master the running bounce.
rubbed out
colloquialism for being suspended
a club official
Whose job is to run onto the ground to give the players messages from the coach during play.
run through the mark
when a player runs between the player on the mark and the player who is taking a free kick
Also called run across the mark.If a defending player does this, and they are not immediately following their direct opponent, a fifty-metre penalty will be awarded.
rushed behind
a defensive tactic
It occurs when the ball passes through the goalposts and was last touched by a defending player.
A rushed behind scores one point against the defending team, but also prevents the attacking team from scoring a goal, worth six points.
Rushed behinds are statistically credited to no player; scoresheets will simply include the tally of total rushed behinds credited to a team's score. Since 2009, it has been illegal in AFL matches for a defender to deliberately concede a rushed behind when he is not under any pressure from the attacking team.
17.10.2 Free Kicks - Deliberate Rushed Behinds
A Free Kick shall be awarded against a Player from the Defending Team who intentionally Kicks, Handballs or forces the football over the Attacking Team’s Goal Line or Behind Line or onto one of the Attacking Team’s Goal Posts, and the Player:
(a) is greater than nine metres from the Goal Line or Behind Line;
(b) is not under immediate physical pressure;
(c) has had time and space to dispose of the football; or
(d) from a Ruck contest, hits the football over the Goal Line or Behind Line on the full.
In the event that a defender does this, the umpire awards a free kick to the attacking team on the goal-line at the spot where the defender conceded the score. The defender may still deliberately concede a rushed behind if he is under pressure from an attacker.