Glossary Of Terms


wrapping , holding or wrestling a player to the ground
The player being tackled must have possession of the ball. Players not in possession of the ball are not allowed to be tackled, and will receive a holding-the-man free kick if tackled.
As there is no offside rule, players can be tackled from any direction, and are often blindsided.
For this reason players are allowed to shepherd and bump their opponents within 5 metres of the ball, to protect the ball carrier.
Legal Tackles
  • Perfect Tackle – when a player lays a tackle on an opponent that has had prior opportunity to dispose of the ball and in the process makes it impossible for their opponent to dispose of the ball.
    For example, if a tackler pins an opponent's arm, then the opponent cannot possibly handball, and if they pin both arms, then it is nearly impossible to legally execute a kick.
  • Bump (Hip & Shoulder) – a tactic for both dispossession of the player with the ball and also impeding players involved in a contest but not in possession of the ball.
    Arms are not used in a bump, which must be made side-on using the hip and/or shoulder.
  • Diving Tackle – when a player leaves the ground in attempting to tackle.
  • Sling Tackle – a player slung to the ground in a tackle
  • Chicken Wing Tackle – when one arm is pinned in a tackle.
  • Gang Tackle – when the player in possession is tackled by more than one opponent at the same time.
  • Broken Tackle – when a player is able to break free of a tackle
Illegal Tackles
  • Coathanger – high contact to the head, usually by a stiff arm, which causes a player to land flat on their back.
    The penalty may be a free kick if deemed accidental or a reportable offence which may result in suspension.
  • High Tackle – any tackle which infringes on the opponent's shoulder, neck or head.
    The penalty is a free kick.
  • Push in the back – any tackle from behind which forces the player forward, into the ground, or both.
    The penalty is a free kick.
  • Spear Tackle – a tackle in which a player lifts another player into the air and drops them such that they land on their back, head or neck.
    Spear tackles have caused serious injury including spinal damage, dislocations, broken bones in the shoulder or neck, and death.
    It is a reportable offence, and players found guilty face the tribunal and possible suspension with at least a two match ban.
a defensive player
Whose task is to prevent an opposition midfielder from having an impact on the game.
tall timber
a very tall footballer
Collingwood have got some tall timber amongst their forwards.
time on
allocated for extra play
The portion of each quarter allocated for extra play which could not occur due to time being stopped.
Each quarter has a specific length of playing time, which can vary in different forms of the game, but at senior level is usually 20 minutes.
When the umpire stops play for a score, ball-up, boundary throw-in, injury, the blood rule, to award a 50-metre penalty or to reset play for a mark or free kick, he raises one hand above his head and blows his whistle; this is called blowing time off. This tells the timekeeper to stop his clock and stop counting down playing time.
When the umpire again raises his hand and blows his whistle, called blowing time on, or when the ball is bounced or thrown in, the timekeeper starts his clock again.
torpedo ∼ torp, torpie, screwie, barrel
a kick in which the ball spins around its axis
A punt kick that rotates the ball around its long axis, which is aligned with the direction the ball is travelling. Gordon Rattray, who played his football with the Fitzroy Football Club between 1917 and 1928, is credited as the first player to use the torpedo punt.
With extra distance, this type of kick is also more difficult to accurately judge depth.
If kicked correctly, a torpedo can travel up to 80 metres, while a normal punt will travel slightly less far.
In flight, the ball spins about its long axis, instead of end over end (as the drop punt does) or not at all (as a typical punt kick does), making the flight of the ball more aerodynamic, but more difficult to mark. Regarded as the type of kick with the longest distance, but the lowest chance of being accurate. Also known as screw punt or spiral punt, the kick has become less common since the 1980s, as modern tactics have meant that accuracy has become typically more important than distance in field kicking; as such, coaches now prefer the use of the drop punt, and discouraging the use of the torpedo in general field play as a comparatively low percentage kick.
The kick may still be seen when a player needs additional distance.

Glossary of Terms

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

Positions on the Oval