Australian Rules Football

Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by Jimmy the Saint, Mar 21, 2020.

  1. Obelix

    Obelix Well-Known Member

    lol I'm not sure how to answer that. Do you want the short answer or the long one? There are a bunch of reasons why it's happening and I'm happy to accept all of them except for one. It's kind of interesting that you mentioned last year's other finalist because that club is a bigger part of this than people realise.

    It's not easy to say who'll be in the GF. The dees have looked like the most complete team so far this season and they've been playing some great footy. If it was played today, I'd probably tip them to win it. Having said that, if history's anything to go by, they're likely to crumble once the pressure of finals heats up.

    The dogs have the best midfield in the league - but they also have serious defensive lapses at times. If they can sort that out before finals they'll be tough to stop.

    The lions are only going to get better between now and September. They have a lot of strengths and no obvious weaknesses. They've got plenty of finals experience now too so they won't be phased by the pressure. Yeah, they'd probably be my bet to win it - but we're still a long way out.
     
  2. Pharoh

    Pharoh king tuttchdown
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    I’m in. Need to choose a team to roll with. Where do I start?
     
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  3. Barves2125

    Barves2125 "Ready to drive the Ferarri" - Reuben Foster
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    Go look at the team names and mascots and jerseys and just go where your heart takes you. Or base it off who has the best song but that's Fremantle (who I pull for).

    If you want to watch a game, Fremantle vs. Hawthorn will be tonight at 10:45 CT.
     
  4. Jimmy the Saint

    Jimmy the Saint The future is a benevolent black hole
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    May I suggest not picking North Melbourne?
     
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  5. Gomez35

    Gomez35 Walker of the world’s weird wall

    I feel targeted.

    (And it’s been really fun/informative watching the worst team slowly improve. They actually have looked pretty damn good recently. If not for some yips in front of goal last week, they were on the edge of beating the Bulldogs, who are right at the top of the ladder).
     
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  6. Gomez35

    Gomez35 Walker of the world’s weird wall

    Like I said, I’m trying to learn and absorb as much as possible about the game and would love any explanation you’ll give. I can come to my own conclusions about teams/matches (occasionally they’re even correct!) but having an expert’s opinions always helps. Especially interested in how you think Geelong is connected.
     
  7. Pharoh

    Pharoh king tuttchdown
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    Done. I pull for enough bad teams already.

    Going to have to analyze all the data and see what team the algorithm tells me to go with.

    Looking forward to some beers and watching my first game later tonight.
     
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  8. IowaHuskerFan3

    IowaHuskerFan3 I husk hard
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  9. Obelix

    Obelix Well-Known Member

    I'm definitely not an expert but fair enough. Let me run through the obvious reasons first.
    • Old Age: Father time has caught up with some of our ore senior players (Houli, Astbury etc.) and the old joints just don't seem to bend like they used to.
    • Injuries: Our starting midfield (i.e. Cotchin, Prestia, Edwards, Lambert etc.) has spent more time on the sidelines than on the field. Our number 1 ruck (Soldo) was lost for the season with a torn acl and our number 2 (Nank) has been out for several weeks with a medial problem. We've lost our key defenders in Balta and Broad for the rest of the year - and Vlastuin is in the rehab group as well.
    • Thinning depth: One of Richmond's strengths over the last 5 years has been our depth. So even when we had injuries, a pretty good player came in. Unfortunately, other clubs have poached those players (Ellis, Butler, Higgins etc.). So now the guys stepping in just don't have the ability to perform at that level.
    • Departed coaches: Each time we won a flag we lost some really good assistants to other clubs - so now those sides have either adopted elements of Richmond's game or figured us out somehow. This has definitely hurt us.
    • Spending cuts: Speaking of losing coaches, we lost two elite coaches at the end of last year because the AFL halved the spending cap due to covid affecting the revenue of smaller clubs (yes, clubs are only allowed to spend a certain amount on coaches, staff, equipment etc.). One of those coaches is now at Hawthorn but the other left the industry because he makes more money doing other things.
    • Inexperienced (or just crap) coaches: I hate harping on it but the new guys just don't seem to be as good as the old guys. We win enough ball to score a ton of points but our transition play going into forward 50 has been woeful. The poor coaching seems to be impacting player development as well.
    Now, I can accept all that because it happens to every good team and that's just a part of life. But there is one more reason that this has happened and I find it very hard to swallow.

    As big an impact as those factors have had on our performance, by far the biggest issue has been the rule changes. At the start of the season, the AFL changed the "man-on-the-mark rule" to eliminate Richmond's pressure game. This is not a conspiracy theory - you can find media articles on it. The guy in charge of making the rules for the AFL (Steve Hocking) is a Geelong man and he was so incensed with the way the tigers beat the cats (not only in last year's GF but also in the 2017 and 2019 finals) that he studied Richmond's game to find a way to nullify the tiger's trademark full-ground defence. Apparently he even had discussions with the Geelong coaching staff (the senior coach is a friend of his) to figure out ways that this could be achieved.

    After we strangled the cats in the 2019 PF, he introduced the 6-6-6 rule (I'll explain it later) and he changed the rule for kick-ins to allow the player to run out of the box in the hope that the added distance would enable the ball to get past our forward defensive set up. They also cut the interchange limit in the hopes that it would wear down our hard-running half-forward flankers. None of that worked. We still won it.

    So this year he decided to change the man-on-the-mark rule.

    Anyway, he finally got what he wanted. The rule change has worked a treat as far as he's concerned. Where Richmond was able to pressure the opponent all the way up the ground and create turnovers, now teams find it very easy to bring the ball out of the back half and transition from one end of the field to the other. And... oh what a surprise - this rule now suits Geelong's style of play perfectly. They can dispose of the ball precisely with very little pressure.

    So that's why Richmond has gone down the drain and Geelong has stayed on top. Honestly, I really don't care who wins it now - as long as it's not Geelong.
     
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  10. Obelix

    Obelix Well-Known Member

    Sacrilege! Richmond has the best song and it's not close :moon:
     
  11. Obelix

    Obelix Well-Known Member



    It might not be to everyone's taste but I kinda like it.
     
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  12. Barves2125

    Barves2125 "Ready to drive the Ferarri" - Reuben Foster
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    This >>>>> that.
     
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  13. Barves2125

    Barves2125 "Ready to drive the Ferarri" - Reuben Foster
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    Freeeeee O!

    Freeeeee O!
     
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  14. Gomez35

    Gomez35 Walker of the world’s weird wall

    Thanks for this. Appreciate the insight. I knew Hocking's name from folks online bitching about the rule changes and saw that he just moved on to a position w/ Geelong, but had no idea how targeted at Richmond some of those changes were. I guess that always happens in pro sports when defensive-minded teams start winning: the NBA cracking down on the Pistons/Knicks physicality in the 90's, the NHL whistling more holding/hooking and shrinking goalie pads, the NFL tilting calls toward WRs/QBs, etc. And it's funny you mentioned the 6-6-6 rule, as I was literally just yesterday reading about the "super flood" that Western pulled out vs. Essendon back in 2000 - I know the rule wasn't instituted for quite a while afterward, but it seems tailor made to weaken that strategy, similar to your take on the Tigers.

    Also, w/ how quickly the umpire calls play on most of the time, the man-on-mark rule doesn't seem like a huge deal to my amateur eyes, but I also don't have a great frame of reference for how things went before...
     
  15. Gomez35

    Gomez35 Walker of the world’s weird wall

    I only watched a bit, but they looked really strong tonight. I think they'll end up solidly in the top 8 if they play even close to that from here on. Seeing highlights of Fyfe's first match was hilarious too - he looked somebody's dorky little brother snuck on the field in a stolen uniform.
     
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  16. Jimmy the Saint

    Jimmy the Saint The future is a benevolent black hole
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    I picked them because they are blue, white, and kangaroos.

    Honestly I just enjoy watching matches Fox Sports puts on. It's a fascinating game.
     
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  17. Odin

    Odin social distancing since 1990
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    ive always wondered what the game would look like with...good athletes...instead of a bunch of dudes with moustaches and mullets. many of which are probably solid athletes but yeah, australia.
     
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  18. Obelix

    Obelix Well-Known Member

    Super flood? Defensive minded? Okay, I think I understand what you're saying and I don't have a problem with it. But I do want to clarify this point in case you've conflated the two (though I'm not sure you have): Richmond's full-ground defensive pressure is not the same thing as "flooding". Those are two entirely different defensive concepts.

    If I can just borrow this analogy from soccer: In Aussie Rules, "flooding" the ground is a defensive philosophy that's a bit like "parking the bus" in much the same way that Jose Mourinho used to get his Inter Milan side to defend many years ago. It's about putting all of your players behind the ball to ensure that they take up all of the space between the goal and the player with the ball. With all those defenders behind the ball, the attacking player has no options in front of them. It's a zero-risk and zero-reward approach to defence. It makes for a dour and boring game and it puts the viewer to sleep.

    Terry Wallace's dogs used the flood concept all those years ago and they borrowed elements of it from a strategy known as Pagan's Paddock. Flooding eventually became a very common tactic from 2005 until around 2015 when the Swans, Hawks, Pies, Saints, Dockers etc. used it very successfully. But it clogged up the game and made for very boring and dull footy.

    Conversely, the Richmond pressure system is a defensive philosophy that's more akin to the gegenpress that Jurgen Klopp used at Dortmund/Liverpool. So rather than fall back passively behind the ball when they lost possession, the defensive players as a team must instantly press forward to attack the person with the ball as well as the player that he is likely to pass it to, and try to force a turnover. They do this by denying the opponent the time and space they want to make the decision they want to make.

    By putting the ball-carrier under pressure, the idea is to force the opponent to dispose of the ball immediately to another player who is also under pressure and so on. That's why it requires the whole team to work together across the whole ground to pressure both the ball-carrier and the player who he is passing it to. This rushes the opponent's decision-making - often leading to mistakes and turnovers. But everyone has to chase and tackle. No passengers and no weak links allowed (unless his name's Dusty who can never be bothered chasing).

    This approach would often lead to Richmond regaining possession in the forward half of the ground. So from the turnover, the tigers would immediately counter-attack and move the ball towards goal as quickly as possible before the opposing team has the chance to set up their defensive structure. It's an extremely aggressive and attacking defensive philosophy. It's a very high-risk approach for very high reward. It's fun to watch - very fast-paced, aggressive, physical and exciting. And it creates fast transition attacking play.

    You might have noticed from last year's finals that when Richmond had the ball, they moved it as quickly and creatively as possible. It was very spontaneous and unstructured (almost chaotic and ad-lib at times). And the reason why they were able to do this was because their defensive pressure created a lot of opportunities in the attacking half of the ground which allowed them to strike before the opponent's defence had the chance to set up behind the ball.
     
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  19. Obelix

    Obelix Well-Known Member

    Sorry mate, in writing all of that I forgot to explain how changing the man-on-the-mark rule affects Richmond's pressure defence. As you know, once the player marks the ball, his direct defensive opponent cannot move forward off the mark. But for the previous 160+ years of Aussie Rules, the man-on-the-mark was allowed to move in every other direction. He could move left, he could move right, he could move backwards if he wanted to - as long as he didn't move forwards he was fine.

    This made it possible for the man-on-the-mark to immediately assess the situation ahead of the ball and move sideways to take away the angle that the ball-carrier had between them and their preferred option - forcing them to go sideways, backwards or to pass it to an option that was in an unfavourable position. If the ball-carrier wanted to swing around and kick the ball quickly, the man-on-the-mark could move sideways at the same speed as the ball-carrier and pressure the kick. The man-on-the-mark was also in a position to move sideways to take away space from an attacking player who was about to receive the pass from the person with the ball and tackle them instantly if they happened to be close enough. They could also drop back into the space behind the mark if necessary should an attacking player move into that area in anticipation of a pass.

    The man-on-the-mark's role is an integral element in the full-ground pressure defence. If players do this well enough, this can force the ball-carrier to kick or hand-pass the ball to a team mate who is under pressure - and from there the team's full-ground defensive pressure kicks in. Well it did until now.

    This year, for the first time in 160+ years, the man-on-the-mark must stand perfectly still until the umpire calls "play on". and this means that he cannot do any of the things I just explained.

    The ability to make good decisions with the ball and execute when you're under pressure is what separates the great from the good. Think of how much easier it would be for a quarterback to pass the football in American Football if the defensive linemen were told that they had to stand still (not a perfect analogy but it's the best I can come up with right now). The great ones can execute a pin-point pass even as they're running for their life and about to get smashed. It's exactly the same in AFL.

    Now that there's so much less pressure on the person disposing the footy, teams are finding it much easier to move the ball from one end to the other. It also seems to have taken some of the physicality out of the game. Worst of all, it's making some very ordinary footballers look like superstars. My yellow and black bias aside, I'm definitely not a fan of this new rule.
     
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  20. Obelix

    Obelix Well-Known Member

    Nah mate, it's the other way around. All athletes should have cheap mullets and dodgy moustaches - especially the elite ones. In my book, there just aren't enough blokes running around with mullets in the NBA. Lift your game America!

    :blount: :gocho:
     
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  21. Gomez35

    Gomez35 Walker of the world’s weird wall

    Cheers for taking the time to explain things so clearly.

    Yeah, I knew flooding and Richmond's pressure were opposite types of defending, I was just using them as examples of strategies teams use that rules-makers feel like they need to makes changes to limit... No matter what sport, the folks in charge always seem to prioritize scoring over outstanding D.

    I actually was just recently watching this guy's videos, and he used Richmond as an example of perfect pressure forward play. Your explanation matches his really closely - and I did indeed notice how the GF flipped in Q3 once Richmond was able to start pressuring better in Geelong's back end. In retrospect, I think I attributed a lot of their success to "lucky bounces" or Geelong just missing on disposals, but that seems like it was all part of their plan.\

    And since I'm so new to the game, I didn't realize how much people moved around from the mark before. Watching some older highlights I can see exactly what you mentioned (cutting off angles, midfielders switching out with defenders so they can drop back inside the 50, etc.). I'd love to know what players/coaches think about the rule.
     
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  22. Obelix

    Obelix Well-Known Member

    Lol, if I'd known channels like that existed I would've just posted a link and saved myself writing a 10000 word essay. It's all good though. I'm blown away that you're really sinking your teeth into the strategic side of the game. It's really something dude.

    Honestly, after the initial hubbub, there's been very little talk from anyone about this issue - which is a bit odd to me because it's really made a huge difference to the way the game is played. Richmond supporters like me are a pretty ticked off about it obviously but we barely hear anything about it in the footy media.

    I guess opposition coaches and supporters are happy that they can now get through the tigers much easier so there's no reason for them to bring it up. And Richmond's coaches seem to have taken a stoic "we've got no excuses" approach to their recent performances. What else can they say really? What's done is done and it's out of their hands.

    It looks like they'll have to go back to the drawing board at the end of the season and completely revamp their game plan because it's just not going to work under these rules. Some really good players will need to be moved on as well because they no longer fit the modern game. It's a shame because, under the pre-existing rules we had a good enough team to be a top-4 side for at least another 3-4 years, and with Dusty still in his prime we probably would've won a couple more flags.

    It'll be interesting to see if Richmond can turn this around quickly or whether we'll have to go through a proper "North Melbourne" style re-build that takes several years.
     
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  23. Pharoh

    Pharoh king tuttchdown
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    Some early morning action today
     
  24. Obelix

    Obelix Well-Known Member

    Wet night. Slippery Ball. WC are keeping north in this.
     
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  25. Pharoh

    Pharoh king tuttchdown
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    I loved the chaos of it all
     
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  26. Gomez35

    Gomez35 Walker of the world’s weird wall

    North was awesome in the 4th. Super fun game to watch for once. Their progress from that Good Friday mauling is wild.
     
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  27. Obelix

    Obelix Well-Known Member

    Hey if anyone's interested in the strategic side of AFL then you might enjoy this video.

    Basically Amazon Prime went behind the scenes of last year's GF and recorded the Richmond and Geelong coaches through the entire game. It shows Hardwick and Scott making tactical changes up in the coach's box in real time and it shows what is happening on the field as they do it. We get to listen in on their quarter-time and half-time speeches etc.

    I found it interesting to see all the angst in the Richmond box while while they struggle to figure out how to restructure their defensive set-up to cover for the loss of Vlastuin - all while the cats are ripping them to shreds. Eventually Hardwick figures it out and the tide starts to turn so now Scott is the one who has to make adjustments. But every time he makes a move Hardwick is one step ahead of him. Brilliant stuff. Finally it shows Scott walking into the Richmond box to concede defeat and congratulate Hardwick with 2 minutes still to go - that just blew me away.

    I got a heap of insights out if that I've never seen before. It's kind of reminiscent of what NFL films used to do and I hope they make more of these in future.

    Anyway, hopefully it's not geo-blocked or anything. It's 30+ mins long so make yourself a coffee and enjoy.
     
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  28. Gomez35

    Gomez35 Walker of the world’s weird wall

    Wow - thanks for posting that. Just got around to watching and it was totally awesome.

    I had seen a bit of that footage/coaches' commentary from Making Their Mark, but this was so much more in depth and infinitely more interesting and informative. I was really struck by how everything about the game seemed so freeform, with the coaches making a million tiny random changes throughout the game that somehow add up to a cohesive cumulative effect. I think having so many more players than any of the standard US sports makes it seem even more chaotic and random too. I'm still not totally clear on how it all came together to flip the game so decisively, but that second half comes across as even more dominant for the Tigers on a second viewing. Their pressure just totally confounded Geelong. And I agree re: Hardwick being one step ahead of Scott that whole 4th quarter. There were a couple shots where he'd mention what Geelong was going to do, then they'd cut to Scott saying exactly that. Probably a little selective editing, but still pretty impressive IMO.

    I also heard Hardwick mention the terms "skinny" and "fat" a couple times when talking about Richmond's kicks forward down the boundary - a little help on what that means exactly?

    Again, cheers - was a great watch. Appreciate it.
     
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  29. Obelix

    Obelix Well-Known Member

    Good question re "fat" and "skinny". This essentially refers to the two different sides of the football field as it relates to the person in possession of the ball.

    Perhaps the best reference for an American football fan might be to think of how a "field" cornerback is different to a "boundary" cornerback - i.e. the "field" corner lines up on the side of the field that has more space or more ground to cover, whereas the "boundary" corner lines up along the boundary on the near-side or the short side of the ball. That's basically what this is talking about.

    In Aussie Rules, the "fat" side of the ground is the side of the ground that has more wide open space. Because defenders tend to gravitate towards the player with the ball, this is usually the opposite side of the ground to where the ball is in possession (from the coach's box it sticks out like a fat man's belly). Therefore, from the perspective of the person with the ball, the skinny side of the ground is the narrow side or short side along the boundary.
     
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  30. Obelix

    Obelix Well-Known Member

    Btw, you've set me off watching AFL YouTube clips. Been at it all week now. Thanks for that

    :beerchug:
     
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  31. Gomez35

    Gomez35 Walker of the world’s weird wall

    :heythere:
    Make sure you post the best ones here, amigo.
     
  32. Obelix

    Obelix Well-Known Member

    Lol, I'm not sure if you guys would get much out of what I've been watching. It seems like all of the best stuff was shot in the 80's and 90's - so it's kinda hard to make out what's going on between on all those pixels. Plus it's mostly Richmond highlights...
     
  33. Obelix

    Obelix Well-Known Member



    I had a good chuckle at this one though. A nice little reminder of just how soft the game has become.
     
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  34. Gomez35

    Gomez35 Walker of the world’s weird wall

    So, uhhhh... how many deaths on the field did I just witness?

    You're right - that's a totally different game than the one played today, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing. Speaking as a coach (basketball) and parent in the current age of concussion and CTE awareness, I can't imagine watching any of my players or kids taking those kinds of hits on a regular basis. Some of those seemed like fair, solid hits but a lot looked way too brutal for me TBH.

    Relatedly, I've been curious about the shirt-grabbing, tugging "fights" that happen in virtually every game - like, why the hell are NO punches thrown when that sort of scrap is so accepted as part of the game? It's obvious in the video that there used to be plenty of fisticuffs, so I'm guessing the league disincentivized it enough that players just eventually cut that part of it out all together.
     
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  35. Obelix

    Obelix Well-Known Member


    Yup, that's basically what happened - and you can blame Barry Hall for that. He's the guy in the swans jersey (0:43 mins) who smashes the Eagles player's jaw with a monster left hook. The public outrage in the aftermath was so great that mums started steering their kids away from footy towards soccer etc.

    Because of that, the AFL cracked down hard on that kind of stuff in a big way. Nowadays, if anyone throws a punch (no matter how soft), then they'll cop a hefty fine and find themselves sitting on the sidelines for a few weeks. Any unwarranted contact to the head can lead to a suspension as well.

    Before that incident (2007-ish I think), it was basically the wild west. I wouldn't say it was a bloodbath (though some games were) but it was a fairly rough sport. You'd see fights in pretty much every game and you could count on there being an all-in-brawl at quarter time. Even during play, you'd see fights breaking out left and right and the umpires would just call "play-on" and pay no attention to it. The carnage was glorious.

    Not anymore sadly.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm all for eradicating cheap-shots and concussions etc., but they've gone way too far in my view. This game has become a watered down, sanitised ghost of what it should be. It's a real shame.
     
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  36. Obelix

    Obelix Well-Known Member

    Actually, I should probably point this out because you mentioned those "shirt-grabbing and tugging" fights. Next time you see it in a game, take a closer look. You might notice that there's a bit of method to the madness.

    The thing is, when a player has taken hold of the opponent's jumper and they're holding it just under the chin with a clenched fist (or both fists most commonly), they're able to jerk their fist back and forth in a sudden violent jerking motion (causing the opponent's face to jerk back-and-forth towards their fist) - and this can lead them to land a punch of sorts on the opponent's chin or jaw if they're lucky.

    This is called a "jumper punch". When they do this, the player is basically trying to land a punch on the opponent's head - all while holding their jersey. It's basically a clever work-around the "no punching" rule that the players have figured out.

    The reason for this is, if you punch the opponent while you're holding their jersey (and you're sent to the tribunal for cracking his jaw), then you can honestly point at the footage and say "I wasn't punching him, I was just holding his jersey and kind of shaking him! See, look for yourself." For a very long time, no one was penalised for doing it but they've been cracking down on this too. Some of the more obvious ones get punished - though most players still get away with it.

    It does look a little odd though. From a distance, it can look as though they're trying to shake the opponent violently like a rag doll or something. But what they're really trying to do is land a punch on the opponent's chin without getting suspended for it.
     
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  37. Obelix

    Obelix Well-Known Member



    I went looking for some footage just to illustrate what I'm talking about. Around 0:22 of this clip there's a good example of a "jumper punch" (the commentator calls it a "jumperie"). This one's a bit more obvious than most though. Unless they're in a proper melee, most players will try to disguise it a little better than that. And they'll often use a two-handed punch to make it look a little more like an "inadvertent" wrestling type shove that's gone wrong.

    Notice how it's right in front of the umpire and he doesn't bat an eyelid - no free kick or anything. It isn't much but that's about as far as they'll let them go nowadays unfortunately.
     
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  38. devine

    devine hi, i am user devine
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    Pretty fun sport
     
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  39. Gomez35

    Gomez35 Walker of the world’s weird wall

    Great explanation for a layman. Thanks.
     
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