Premiership coaches Paul Roos and Leigh Matthews dissect modern footy’s hottest tactical trends and the stat that really matters.

THIS has replaced the old-fashioned brawl and is meant to stop an opposition run-on or wind down the clock at the end of a quarter. The objective is to move the ball around by foot and keep it for as long as possible. However, you generally are trying to score, as that is the best way to stop momentum. What you are definitely trying to do is avoid a turnover that hands it back to the red-hot opposition.
Often you see the ball go backwards and sideways, but you want to keep it moving forward to leading targets. If it works perfectly you gradually get the ball into scoring position with low-risk, short kicks. If you do turn the ball over it is generally in a low-risk area and results in a ball up or boundary throw-in.

THIS means pushing numbers into the back half and has two main objectives.
First, by pushing your midfielders into the defensive 50, you are looking to block space and make it impossible for the opposition to score.It is important as a defensive stoppage tool against a dominant opposition ruckman.
The forwards must push up because they have to create a contest if a teammate wins the ball under pressure deep in their defensive 50. The forward will often be outnumbered and his role is to bring the ball to ground, compete at that level and allow his midfield time to get to the contest.

The second objective is to leave space behind the forwards to run back into and score on the rebound. How often in wide-vision TV shots do you see no one in one half of the ground? When it works well, a team wins the ball in defence and uses their extra numbers to run and handball the ball out of defence. Once they get to the centre of the ground, they kick long to space for the forward running back to score an easy goal.

EASY to explain, a lot harder to carry out. When a player is getting tagged you know what the tagger’s job is — stop the star player from getting the ball and don’t leave his side. If the star player is getting beaten it can create an enormous opportunity for his coach, but it takes a disciplined, team-oriented star, to carry it out.

What you are trying to achieve is one of your players covering two of theirs. This allows a free player to have an impact on the game at stoppages or in general play. For instance, if Chris Judd is tagged by Brett Kirk and Judd goes and plays on Adam Goodes, Kirk’s instructions are still to go to Judd. Judd follows Goodes, Kirk follows Judd. Potentially the player that Goodes is on, now has no one. If that player is smart and a good ball winner, he can be very destructive.

THIS can cause some of the biggest headaches in the coach’s box and is probably the one message I sent more than any other. The way the game is played today, forwards are often outnumbered. Whether it be a loose man dropping back, a smart backman dropping back off his direct opponent at a stoppage or a midfielder filling space when the ball is up the ground.

There are many times in a game when a free player is behind the ball.
You don’t want that loose player sitting in a dangerous area by himself.
If there is a quick kick from a stoppage and it lands in his lap with no pressure, the ball can often go straight up the other end for a score. You want one or often multiple forwards rounding up the lose player to at least make a contest.

It is a numbers game. A one versus two can still be hard to win, so if you can create a three versus four it gives you more chance to either win the ball yourselves or at least create a contest which allows teammates up the field to get to the contest quickly.

THIS is the latest in the football vernacular. And to be perfectly frank, it has me a little confused.I think it is an extravagant term for a loose man in defence.
The basis for the plus one is firstly to make it difficult for the key forward to score. The extra player must block dangerous space in front of the forward and work closely with the key defender. If he achieves this objective and the ball comes to ground there is an extra player to bring the ball out of defence.

This can be a game of Russian roulette. Because if your team has plus one, then so does the opposition at the other end of the ground. Generally, it comes down to which team can use the ball better and ultimately the scoreboard to determine which coach will blink first and man-up the opposition’s plus one.
This can be one of the most fascinating tactical battles in a game of football.

Most metres gained in a match this season
Gary Ablett (GC) 940m v Coll, Rd 10
Brent Stanton (Ess) 904m v NM, Rd 1
Matthew Boyd (WB) 897m v Adel, Rd 2
Ryan Griffen (WB) 872m v Coll, Rd 6
Danyle Pearce (Port) 867m v NM, Rd 8
Rhyce Shaw (Syd) 866m v WB, Rd 10
Clinton Young (Haw) 831m v Frem, Rd 8
David Zaharakis (Ess) 826m v Melb, Rd 10
Lewis Jetta (Syd) 825m v Adel, Rd 6
Patrick Dangerfield (Adel) 816m v Port, Rd 5

Gary Ablett has copped criticism for drawing too much of the ball from his Gold Coast teammates but Champion Data statistics show no player gains more metres for his side than the Brownlow medallist.
Distance gained by carrying and disposing of the football
Gary Ablett (GC) 8 38 655 17.4 68.4 5239
Ryan Griffen (WB) 9 27 584 21.6 60.9 5254
Brent Stanton (Ess) 10 28 583 20.6 69.6 5832
Danyle Pearce (Port) 8 21 579 27.7 61.1 4633
Matthew Boyd (WB) 10 32 535 17.2 65.7 5580
Andrew Gaff (WC) 10 26 535 20.8 71.6 5350
Nick Malceski (Syd) 9 19 535 28.6 64.3 4812
Brett Deledio (Rich) 10 28 528 18.7 73.9 5279
Dane Swan (Coll) 8 33 510 15.6 67.0 4076
Patrick Dangerfield (Adel) 10 27 505 19.0 70.3 5045
Liam Anthony (NM) 7 27 487 18.0 70.0 3409
Heath Shaw (Coll) 7 22 481 22.0 75.8 3367
Clinton Young (Haw) 6 16 468 30.2 61.3 2808
Lance Franklin (Haw) 10 20 467 23.8 61.7 4674
David Zaharakis (Ess) 10 24 465 19.4 72.9 4653

Contact Us

A: 13-15 Little Burton St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
P: +61 2 9332 9111

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top