Terms in Aussie Rules Football

glossary of terms

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


sausage roll
rhyming slang for goal  
selling candy
colloquialism for a baulk
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 year of a competition  
set shot
a kick for goal
In which the player has sufficient time to set himself, rather than have to quickly react during the play.It occurs when a player has been awarded a free kick, or has taken a mark within kicking range of the goal (typically inside the fifty-metre arc).There is always one opponent allowed to be on the mark (the place where the mark was taken), who can attempt to distract the kicker by gesticulation or verbal intimidation.The game clock continues to run during the preparation for a set shot, although time on may temporarily be blown to return the football to the kicker.From 2016 in the AFL, the thirty seconds is counted down on a shot clock visible on some ground scoreboards. Players are given up to thirty seconds to begin their approach for a set shot. The kick itself may be taken outside the thirty seconds if the approach is commenced. Umpires will call play on if the player does not begin his approach within this time.This rule was introduced in 2006; prior to this players had no formal limit on how long they could take – the umpire could at his discretion penalise the player for time-wasting, but this was rare. The new rule was commonly known as the Lloyd Rule after Essendon full-forward Matthew Lloyd, whose set shot ritual was one of the longest in the AFL.
Known for his ritual when taking set shots at goal, invariably he took time to go far back on the mark, pull both his socks up, then grab some grass and throw it into the air to measure the wind and take a very long run up before kicking.
In 2006, the AFL introduced a "shot clock" to limit the amount of time that players had to take set shots. Lloyd adjusted his ritual to fit into the new rule, and still retained the most famous aspect – throwing grass – until the end of his career.
a block placed on an opposing player
It is the legal act of preventing an opponent from obtaining the ball or tackling a team-mate.
A player uses his body to push, bump or block an opposing player who does not have possession of the football and who is no further than 5 metres away from the football at the time when the shepherd occurs.
This can be to stop him tackling a teammate in possession of the ball, or attempting to gather it; to stop him intercepting a ball heading for goal; or just to stop him possessing the ball himself.
see one-percenter for more team tactics
an aggressive front-on bump
A head-on charge that knocks an opponent to the ground.
a game between port adelaide and the adelaide crows
image image
held annually at the adelaide oval
1procedure for sounding siren
10.3 Procedure for Sounding Siren
The Timekeepers shall sound the siren at the times and on the number of occasions listed below.
First Quarter
Five minutes prior to scheduled starting time of the Match and as Umpires enter the Arena ⦿ once
Two minutes prior to the scheduled starting time ⦿ twice
One minute prior to the scheduled starting time ⦿ once
Scheduled starting time (start of Match) ⦿ once
quarter time interval
A maximum period of six minutes between the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second quarter.
Second Quarter
Two minutes prior to the scheduled starting time ⦿ twice
One minute prior to the scheduled starting time ⦿ once
Scheduled starting time (start of quarter) ⦿ once
half time interval
A maximum period of 20 minutes between the end of the second quarter and the beginning of the third quarter.
Third Quarter
Five minutes prior to scheduled starting time of the quarter and as Umpires enter the Arena ⦿ once
Two minutes prior to the scheduled starting time ⦿ twice
One minute prior to the scheduled starting time ⦿ once
Scheduled starting time (start of quarter) ⦿ once
three quarter time interval
A maximum period of six minutes between the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Final Quarter
Two minutes prior to the scheduled starting time ⦿ twice
One minute prior to the scheduled starting time ⦿ once
Scheduled starting time (start of quarter) ⦿ once
2 bringing play to an end
10.4.1 End of Quarter
The Timekeepers shall sound the siren to signal the end of a quarter until a field Umpire or the emergency Umpire acknowledges the siren and brings play to an end, by blowing a whistle and holding both arms above their head.
snap ∼ snap shot, snap kick
a kicking technique
Usually executed under pressure from an unlikely scoring position. Players use a tilted grip and kick around the body to cause the ball to spin sideways. It usually occurs when a player is kicking for goal, and is used a lot when kicking from a tough position, such as forward pockets. It is the reverse of a checkside or banana, and is almost invariably a kick across the body (for a right footer, a kick aimed to far left) and typically exaggerates the natural tendency of the ball to drift slightly right‑to‑left from a right footer, (and left‑to‑right from a left footer). There can be variations of the kick, such as over the shoulder in front of goal. Sometimes players kick it lightly from the pocket when there is no player near the goals, causing the ball to bounce in through its special spin.
the defensive act of stopping a kick
Generally undertaken with the hands or body, immediately after it leaves the boot of the opposition player.
to kick the ball off the ground
Without first taking the ball in the hands, as is the primary means of disposal in the sport of soccer.
a punch or slap of the ball
Which hinders an opposition player from taking a mark
speckie ∼ screamer, hanger
a spectacular overhead mark
Regarded by many fans as the epitome of skill. a spectacular overhead mark
Refers to the act of leaping onto the back or shoulders of another player known as the stepladder in order to take a high mark, usually in a contested situation.
a high mark
Commentators will often call an individual mark>a contender in reference to the AFL's annual Mark of the Year and it's likelihood to win.
to be interchanged off the ground
To have a spell gives a player a short break.
Coaches often interchange a player who has just goaled.
a loose ball
Occurs when a ball comes off the top of a pack of players attempting to mark.
severe scolding of players by their coach  
spray shot
a poorly executed kick at goal
One that comes 'off the side of the boot' and produces a point.
squad number
a number on the back of a guernsey
Players traditionally wear numbers on the backs of their guernseys, although some competitions may feature teams who wear smaller numbers on the front, usually on one side of the chest. The number being worn is usually not relevant to the player's position on the ground, although occasionally a club will allocate the # 1 guernsey or an otherwise prestigious number to the team captain, such as Richmond, which allocates # 17 to its team captain in honour of Jack Dyer, who wore that number with distinction. Port Adelaide assigns # 1 to the team captain.It is usually customary for players who relinquish the captaincy to switch to another squad number. AFL clubs generally do not retire numbers, although Geelong temporarily retired the # 5 between 1998 and 2005 after the retirement of Gary Ablett Sr, but instead will often choose to give their more prestigious numbers to highly touted draftees or young up-and-coming players who are shown to have promise and may share certain traits with the previous wearer, such as position or playing style. Sons of famous players will often take on their father's number, especially if they play at the same club.
Sergio Silvagni, son Stephen and grandson Jack wear # 1 for Carlton, Matthew Scarlett wore his father John's # 30 at Geelong.
In contrast, some sons of famous players also prefer to take on other numbers in the hopes that it will reduce the burden of having to fulfill high expectations. Notable examples of this are Gary Ablett Jr. at Geelong, who wore # 29 instead of his father's # 5, and Jobe Watson at Essendon, who passed up Tim's # 32 in favour of # 4. Clubs will often feature retiring champions "passing on" their famous guernsey numbers to the chosen successors, usually in ceremonial fashion, such as a club function or press conference. The highest number worn in a VFL/AFL game is # 65 by Andrew Witts of Collingwood for seven games in 1985. With the demise of Reserves and Under 19's teams it is highly unlikely that any player will play senior football in a number as high again.
stab pass
a kick that travels very low to the ground to a teammate
Until the 1970s this was usually a drop kick.
the player upon whose shoulders another player jumps to take a specky
In the past, fullbacks have been renowned for inadvertently acting as stepladders.
stacks on the mill
a stand-alone statement made by commentators
Indicating that the ball is covered by a large pack of players on the ground and is unable to move.
the goalposts
To find the big sticks is to score a goal.
stiff-arm fend ∼ don't argue
a very powerful offensive weapon
The ball-carriers run towards defenders who are attempting to tackle them. By positioning the ball securely in one arm, the ball‑carrier can fully extend his other arm, locking his elbow, and outstretching his palm. Then, the ball-carrier pushes directly outwards with the palm of his hand onto the chest or shoulder of the would-be tackler.The fend is a pushing action, rather than a striking action.
The Don't Argue is a powerful weapon
The fend is particularly effective because its force is applied down the length of a straight arm, directly into the shoulder. This puts the arm bones exclusively under compressive axial stress, the stress to which bone is strongest, and ensures that minimal torque is applied to the shoulder joint. As such, the force that can be applied by a stiff-arm fend can easily repel or topple an oncoming defender.
The term don't argue describes what a commentator imagined the ball-carrier might be saying as he shoved his opponent in the face or chest, and is used as a noun.A fend may cause the tackler to fall to the ground, taking him out of the play. Even if the tackler keeps his feet, it becomes impossible for him to complete a tackle, as he cannot come close enough to wrap his arms around the ball-carrier.Ball-carriers in Australian football must be careful to avoid fending opponents in the head or neck, otherwise they will concede a high tackle free kick. The same techniques are practised by some schools of martial artists when striking or punching; by ensuring that the direction of the force is directly down a locked, straight arm, martial artists can punch through bricks and tiles without damaging their arms.
the term don't argue was coined in australia
an interchange player
Who cannot be freely interchanged, but may be brought onto the ground to replace a player for the rest of a game.
super goal
a method of scoring
Used in the AFL's pre-season competition. Under the rule, a goal scored from a distance greater than fifty metres is awarded nine points, instead of the regulation six points. This innovation is not used during the premiership season.
a player who has been refused permission to play by a legislated tribunal
See reported.
a player who plays loose across the half-back line
In order to act as a link between the backline and midfield.
to move the ball laterally across the ground
With the objective of finding an easier path to the forward-line.

An alphabetical glossary of terms, jargon and slang in Aussie Rules Football.