Just pick it up!

Are we coming to the stage when kicking the ball off the ground in AFL will be banned? It might just be me, but I reckon it is getting more common in games this season.


My biggest issue is that is a low percentage act, with the ball ending up in the opposition hands most of the time or going out of bounds (deliberately?). It is not a skill that is part of the game. There are no drills at training and it can be dangerous when you are trained to put your head over the ball while someone else is trying to tee-off.


Kicking the ball off the ground is already banned in Junior AFL (Under 14s and below) across the country. This forces the young players to pick the ball up when they are developing their skills. A simple but effective rule. Otherwise, junior games could descend into a soccer match with an oval ball (not a pretty sight), a flock of seagulls crowding around the ball, wildly swinging their little legs at the Sherrin, especially at those wet games on a Saturday morning.


I am happy to concede that kicking a goal off the ground is pretty exciting, so we can leave that one alone. Some of the most mercurial goals in the history of the Sport have come via the mad scramble on goal line or some fluky attempt from the boundary line.


While I have your attention, it is worth mentioning some of the other Junior AFL rules that could also be considered for the Seniors. The Chris Judd Rule is a particular favourite of mine: only two bounces are allowed. This rule was introduced in response to a 13 year old Chris Judd getting his hands on the ball at full back and proceeding to run the length of the field without anybody else from his team (or the opposition) getting their hands on the ball. Being a Bombers man, this would stop the likes of Buddy Franklin streaming off the wing, with Cale Hooker in hot pursuit, and slotting goals from the boundary line.


The game of AFL is highly skilled affair involving hand and foot. Kicking an oval ball off the ground is not that pretty to watch and as the intensity of the game increases I suspect we are going to see more of it. My advice is just pick it up!



Bombers tragic based in Darwin


  1. Citrus Bob says

    I recall a certain soccer kick winning a premiership for Geelong not that long ago – beautiful!
    If you look at Hawthorn games in their halcyon days the soccer kick forward was very prevelent.

  2. Not sure where you are coming from TP.

    When it’s wet, kicking the ball off the ground opens the game up, whereas if players try to pick it up there will be pack after pack. Have a look at the first few minutes of the Anzac Day game – Essendon got their early break by some judicious kicks off the ground.

    It’s a skill that deserves to stay in the game.

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