AFL Glossary

There are a lot of terms used in AFL, many of which are specific to the sport. Here’s a quick glossary of some of the most common terms you’ll hear when watching or talking about AFL:


# | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z



1-2 – The one-two refers to when a player handpasses the ball to a teammate, who immediately receives the ball back

6-6-6 rule – A rule that was introduced in 2019, means all players should set up with six back, six in the middle, and six in the forward sections of the ground before a centre bounce to create an even playing field.

50 metre penalty – The team with possession from a mark or free kick will move upwards of 50m towards the goal without halt. This occurs when a player infringes after a mark or free kick has been paid. For example, umpire abuse after a free kick, creeping over the line where the opposition marked the ball.



Advantage – The play continues if there is an advantage to the team that has won the free kick, rather than stopping the play to take the free kick

AFL – The abbreviation for ‘Australian Football League’

After the siren goal – A goal that is kicked after the siren (commonly used for goals kicked after the final siren)

All-Australian – A player that has been chosen in the best 26 (22 + 4 on bench) of the competition throughout the home and away season

ANZAC Day – A traditional match played between the Essendon Football Club and Collingwood Football Club at the MCG on ANZAC Day (25th April) every year



BALL – Screamed by fans when appealing for the holding the ball rule to be paid by the umpires

Ball magnet – Is a term used to describe a player who picks up a lot of disposals during the match/season

Ball Up – When the umpire throws the ball up at a stoppage in any part of the ground

Banana – A kick off the side of the boot that moves in the air in the opposite direction

Barrel – A type of kick that rotates the ball around its axis, typically used for kicking long distances

Behind – A score that equals one point that travels in between the goal and behind posts or touched before crossing the line

Bench – The place where interchanges throughout the match are (four on the bench)

Big Dance – Is another name used for the AFL Grand Final

Blinder – Is used to describe someone who is having an exceptional performance during a match

Blind Turn – When a player spins 360 degrees to avoid a tackle

Block – To obstruct/hinder an opponent’s charge towards the ball. It is often illegal in a marking contest

Boundary – The boundary is the line around the oval to determine the field of play

Brownlow – Is awarded to the best and fairest player in the competition throughout the home and away season

Bump – When a player makes contact on an opposition player with their shoulder/hip



Centre Bounce – The bounce to signify the start of play after a goal has been kicked or to start a quarter

Centre Square – The 50m large square in the middle of the ground

Charlie – Is another name used for the Brownlow

Checkside – Similar to the Banana, a kick off the side of the boot that moves in the air in the opposite direction

Clanger – A word used to describe a blatant unforced error by a player

Clearance – To clear the ball out of the stoppage

Coast-to-Coast – When a team transfers the ball from one end of the ground to the other end in quick succession, typically ending in a goal

Coathanger – Dangerous high contact that involves a player using a stiff arm to make contact with the opponent

Coleman – Awarded to the player who kicks the most goals in the competition throughout the home and away season

Contested Possession – Is a possession won in a contest

Corridor – The corridor refers to the passage directly through the middle of the ground

Crumb – Is typically when a smaller player picks up the ball after it hits the ground from a marking contest



Deliberate – A free kick for when a player deliberately knocks the ball out of play

Derby – A match between two direct local rivals

Diehard – Often another word used to describe a fanatic fan

Disposal – When a player has a successful kick or handball

Don’t Argue – When a player uses a stiff arm and an open hand to fend off an opponent

Down the Line – When the attacking team moves the ball adjacent to the boundary line, usually by a long kick

Dreamtime at the G’ – The match between Essendon and Richmond in the annual Indigenous round to recognise the contributions made by aboriginal and torres strait islanders to the AFL

Dribble – A kick that deliberately dribbles along the floor, typically to specifically move in one direction

Drop Kick – A kick when the ball hits the ground directly before making contact with the kicker’s foot

Drop Punt – A kick that makes contact with the bottom spike of the ball causing it to rotate backwards and is the most commonly used type of kick

Duck – When a player intentionally ducks their head or dips their shoulders to encourage a high-contact free kick to be paid

Dummy – When a player fakes a handpass or kick to improve their chances of getting past an opponent

Dynasty – A team that wins multiple premierships in a short period of time, usually in consecutive seasons



Evade – When a player uses his body to avoid being tackled



Falcon – When you unintentionally get hit in the face by the ball

Fat Side – The opposite side of the ground that has most amount of space with the least number of players

Fifty – A shortened term to describe a 50m penalty

Final Siren – The siren indicating the end of the match

Finals – The knockout series involving the top eight placed home and away season teams to determine the winner of season

Flag – A shortened term to describe the “premiership flag”

Flanks – The area of the oval between the wings and forward/back pockets

Flood – To push a large number of players ahead of the ball

Follower – A position that starts in the middle of the ground, aiming to win the ball from a clearance

Footy – A slang term used for the ball of the game. It is also used as a shortened word for the sport

Free Kick – An unimpeded kick given to the opposition when committing an infringement



Goal – The maximum score achieved, when kicking the ball between the two large upright posts

Goalsquare – The small square beginning from the goal line on either side of the ground

Grand Final – The match at the end of the finals series to determine the premiers

Granny – A slang term for the ‘Grand Final’

Guernsey – The shirt worn when playing the match

Guts – A slang term for the middle of the ground



Hammy – A slang term used to describe your hamstring, ‘he’s pulled a hammy”

Handball – When you use your fist to hit the ball to a teammate

Hanger – To take an incredible mark on top of an opponent

Hard Ball Get – To get a disposal in a contest (contested possession)

Hard Nut – A tough/courageous/brave player

High Contact – A free kick for when a player is tackled or hit above the shoulders

Hip-and-Shoulder – Another term for a bump

Hit the Post – When the ball collides into the two large upright posts from a shot on goal

Hitout – Being the first player to knock/tap the ball away from the ruck contest

Holding the Ball – A free kick for when you dispose of the ball illegally whilst being tackled

Holding the Man – A free kick when you hold/tackle an opposition player that doesn’t have possession of the ball

Home-and-Away Season – The regular 23 round season that determines the positions on the ladder for the finals series

Hospital Pass – A handball or kick to a teammate that immediately causes them to be tackled

Hot Spot – A term used to describe the top of the goal square

Huddle – When players group together before the game, at quarter-time, and at three quarter-time



Inside 50 – To pass or move the ball into the forward 50

Intercept – To turn the ball over from an opposition pass

Interchange – The bench that consists of four players in constant rotation throughout the match

In the Back – A free kick paid when an opponent pushes you in the back or falls into your back during a tackle



Jumper – The playing shirt worn during the match

Jumper Punch – When you punch a player whilst grabbing hold of the jumper (typically around the collar)


Key Position – The key positions are full forward, centre forward, centre half back and full back. They often consist of the taller players in the team

Kick In – The return of the ball in play after a point has been scored



Ladder – The positions of the team based off win/loss and percentage

Lead – When a player runs toward the ball carrier to receive a pass

Legged – To be tackled below the knees, resulting in a free kick

Long Bomb – To kick the ball as far as you can

Lower the Eyes – To kick the ball to a teammate on a lead that is closer to you rather than kicking the ball to the furthest teammate possible



Major – Another term used for a goal

Man-on-Man – A traditional tactic that sees the players play on their direct opponent

Mark – To catch the ball from a kick that has travelled at least 15m. You can then stop on the spot and take an unimpeded kick

Metres Gained – The total distance a player moves the ball forward with a possession

Midfield – The area of the ground in between the two 50m arcs

Minor – A slang term given to describe one point being kicked

Minor Premiers – The team that finishes on the top of the ladder at the end of the home and away season



Norm Smith – The award given to the man of the match in the Grand Final

Nuffy – Someone unknowledgeable about the game of AFL, who doesn’t know what they are talking about



Omitted – To be dropped from the playing squad despite not being injured or suspended

On the Ball – A player that plays in the midfield/follows the ball around the ground

On the Mark – The defensive player that stands where an offensive player has marked the ball, he can not move from that spot

One Percenter – The little defensive acts (eg. bump, shepherd, smother

Out on the Full – To kick the ball out of play over the boundary line without it bouncing

Out the Back – When a player waits for the ball to be passed or fall towards the back of the contest



Pack – When a group of players collide to try and take a mark

Pick-Up – To smoothly grab the ball off the ground

Play On – A call made by the umpire for when it’s time to move the ball on or move off the line of your mark

Pocket – The areas of the ground in the corners of the 50m arcs

Possession – Another term for a disposal

Premiers – The team that wins the Grand Final

Premiership Quarter – A term to describe the third quarter of the match

Protected Zone – The imaginary zone that the opposition can’t enter around a player who has taken or mark or received a free kick



Q-Clash – The match between the two Queensland teams (Brisbane and Gold Coast)



Rebound – To move the ball from the defensive half of the ground to the forward half

Reigning Premiers – The most previous team to win the premiership

Reserves – The reserves team (also known as the 2nd’s)

Reported – When a player commits an act that warrants a suspension

Rookie – A player that is on an AFL list, but can only play in the top league if they are replacing a long-term injured or retired player

Rotation – A planned interchange

Run-and-Carry – To run and carry the ball up the ground rather than passing the ball immediately

Runner – A club official that runs onto the field of play to give players instructions from the coaching staff

Rushed – When a defensive player concedes a behind (one point)



Sausage Roll/Snag – A word used to describe a goal

Screamer – To take an incredible mark/speccy

Selling Candy – When a player shows the opposition the ball by moving outstretching his arm in one direction but moves in the opposite direction

September – The month when the finals series is played out “september football”, “to play in september”

Set Shot – To stop on the spot and take an unimpeded kick at goal

Shank – A term describing a terrible misdirected kick

Shepherd – When a teammate protects the ball carrier by using his arms as a shield to block other players from tackling his teammate

Sherrin – Another term used for the ball. It is also the company that makes the balls

Showdown – The game played between the two South Australian teams (Adelaide and Port Adelaide)

Sledge – To trash talk an opponent

Sling Tackle – To sling the player in a tackle to the ground

Smother – To block the ball with your hands immediately after it has been kicked

Snap – A kick around the body, typically used as a method for a shot on goal from a tough angle

Spine – A term used to describe the middle of the ground

Spoil – A defensive act that punches the ball away from an opponent attempting to mark the ball

Stoppage – When play stops for a ball-up or a throw-in

Switch – To transfer the ball laterally to the other side of the ground



Tackle – To grab an opponent that has possession of the ball between the shoulders and the knees

Tagger – A player that plays on the most damaging player of the other team to try and limit his impact on the match

Three-peat – To win three consecutive premierships

Throw In – A term used to describe the boundary umpire throwing the ball back into play over his head

Time On – The time added at the end of each quarter for stoppages of play

Torpedo – The style of kicking the ball in a spiral/rotating manor, usually used to kick long distances

Touched – When the ball is touched by a defensive player before crossing the goal line or before a mark has been taken

Tribunal – The judicial system to decide the length of suspensions

Turnover – The loss of possession to the opposition



Uncontested Possession – A disposal without any pressure near the player

Utility – A player that can play multiple roles/positions



Wing – A position on the ground that is on either side of the centre square

Wooden Spoon – An award given to the team that finishes in last place



Zone Off – A tactical style that covers both the open space and the opponent