The Commoners Guide To AFL Commentary

With the 2018 AFL season upon us I thought it might be helpful to provide elucidation of some common commentary terms.

A much needed goal: Some goals are unnecessary, but no one is sure which ones.

Finals hopes are still alive: When a team can still make the finals it is said to be alive, unless it is killed by percentages.

Impressive transition: When furious coach travels from the coaches’ box to the ground.

Possessions: There are many possessions in Australians Rules, but no records of any exorcisms.

Cough up the footy: Sometimes a player will cough up the footy and then be told to never eat anything bigger than their head.

Through the middle of the ground: Teams will pass the ball through the middle of the ground, but never through the middle of the street, even on Sunday when there is a lot less traffic.

Release the ball: A ball may be trapped, stolen or punched, but then it must be released according to the U.N.

Taken High:  A player can be taken high if his urine test comes in positive.

The umpire says “give me the ball”:  An umpire never says this.

Wrapped up in the tackle: AFL players will perform practical jokes on fellow players by presenting them a gift wrapped in their genitalia.

A 50/50 ball: A ball comprises of half pigskin and half hot air, like many commentators.

A good pair of hands: A player can have a good pair of hands, but never just one good hand.

Gives him the ‘don’t argue’:  This is what I’m calling this move; I don’t care what you say.

A horrible kick: Something a commentator has never done.

Nominate a ruckman: There is no record of a ruckman winning an Academy Award; however one has won a Logie.

Home and Away: A television program on before the football that no one watches.

An opportunity to present: Players sometimes buy their coaches gifts in the hope of being selected in the team.

To get numbers back: Footy teams will get numbers back and have numbers on their backs.


  1. This is great! Can I give you a few others to translate because I’m particularly bamboozled by “Off a step”, “Consolation goal”, and “Good below the knees”.

    Thank you ;-)

  2. Sell a Dummy: Football skills allowing players to go into politics or tv commentary after retirement.
    Non-preferred side: Gold Coast Suns.
    Marking Contest: Sharing the crayons around in team meetings.
    (Good stuff Matty. Us Eagles fans need to get our laughs in early this season.)

  3. I’m sick to death of hearing “An Up and Under”!!

  4. They (insert team name) are playing “a plus one” in defence – this means that a team has the usual number of players in defence, plus an additional one. Very hard concept to grasp except for grade preps.

    Inside mid – a half pint of lager drunk indoors.

    Blockbuster game – every game of every week.

  5. Few others:

    “This is schuge!!!” – means something of significance has just occurred, like a goal being kicked.

    One team is “versing”another – means they are getting together to recite Banjo Paterson.

  6. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    That’s a beauty Matty Q. Caught high indeed !
    We need to learn how to hit our targets, otherwise we won’t be able to transition the footy to the fat side for our lead up forwards and talls to be able to impact the scoreboard.
    Zippety doo dah…

  7. Any jargon that comes out of Dwayne’s gob.

  8. Brilliant stuff, Matty Q.
    I am now having visions about being wrapped up in the tackle.

    Sells him some candy: what, they have set up a lolly-shop on the field?
    It doesn’t get any better than that: well, at least not since the last time you said that, Dwayne.

    On a semi-serious note: this piece highlights just how poorly the sporting public (not just AFL) is served by commentators in this country.

  9. Les Everett says

    Thank you Matt…

    Could you please explain “Good disposal by foot”?

  10. Earl O'Neill says

    Thanks Matt. This is why I play music while watching football.

  11. mickey randall says

    Thanks Matt.

    It’s a dozen types of wrong and I’m not sure to whom it is attributed, but I’ve always loved the simple alliterative poetry of, “There’s a fight in the forward pocket!”

    Thems commentary.

  12. Like a cork in the ocean, those taking the piss out of footy commentary are always there or thereabouts having a RHG… you just get the feeling that it’s ripe for parody, don’t you?

  13. Woah there Jarrod. St Dennis is pre and post parody. I always got the feeling he patted Bruce on the head and respected Leigh, but thought BT, Wayne, Lingy and the rest were boofheads in blazers. You can say a lot with a quizzical eye and a sudden change of subject.
    Basil is his secret love child to a woman who drank too much in pregnancy. What is a father to do but give the boy a chance……………………..?

  14. You’ll find a lot of love for Dennis from me Peter, don’t you worry. Though I think even he was feeling a bit over the sublime one-liners in the last year or two.

    If that Basil story were true, I’d say the apple must have fallen onto a steep decline and rolled a long way from the Cometti tree.

  15. Warren Tapner says

    Brian Taylor and Bruce McAveney – patron saints of the mute button.

  16. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Leg Speed – found in ziplock bag tucked into burly full forward’s sock

    Wily Veteran – still has those photos of the Chairman of Selectors

    Calder Footy Factory – Jake’s dad still owes me for arranging that interview and this is my coded way of reminding him

    I’m hoping for Bruce to go with “Spins Out Of That Tackle Like Nelly Yoa On The Cha-Cha” this season

  17. Rick Kane says

    Laugh riot Matt, brilliant. Faves include the tackle and the pair of hands. Please let this be an ongoing column. I’m sure you have a stack more ready to go. And the season will gift you the rest. Cheers

  18. Yvette Wroby says

    Magnificent works

    What about the crowd favourite: Ball!

  19. Stainless says

    St Dennis is not above reproach. He frequently irritated with his indiscriminate use of the phrase “a telling kick”, usually uttered with great and prescient authority before said kick reached its destination. More often than not it wound up in the hands of the opposition or over the boundary line.

    Agree about Dwayne though. “From the paint” (a kick from the 50 metre line) is absolutely nauseating.

  20. Matt Quartermaine says

    Thanks everyone for the lovely comments.
    Georgina “off a step” is what Robert Harvey did to get a clean break on his hammy. “Consolation goal” is worth only 3 points. “Good below the knees” is used when a former tap dancer becomes a footballer.
    Nice PB, I hope we don’t need our sense of humour for the Eagles season, but I’ll have it ready.
    Jan I believe “Up and Under” is a little known AFL footballer’s porn movie.
    Dips, firing on all cylinders old mate.
    Phil, sounds like a tongue twister you could teach your class.
    Tony, luckily we cant afford cable.
    Smokie, I hate commenters hyping games when nothings happening. The game will have plenty of excitement, they just have to be patient, not shrill.
    Les, “good disposal by foot” is a nearby store you can pick up some nice khaki gear.
    Earl, I hear you.
    Mickey, “there’s a fight in the forward pocket” is an obscure Pogues song.
    Jarrod, hard to parody something that is already so absurd.
    Warren, consider me praying at your church.
    Swish, on point sir.
    Thanks Rick, I am a husk.
    Yvette, “Ball” is called when a male footaller’s shorts slide up and a kiwi fruit pops out.
    Agreed Stainless, Dennis may have over-prepared towards the end of his career.

  21. Shanked,ball drop, chaos ball,grubber (slightly lower than the worm burner),held it to him

  22. A shanked kick is much slower than it actually looks
    Ball drop is the fear held by the youngest player in the squad
    Chaos ball is linked somehow to ball on a string
    Grubber is your opponent’s kick along the ground and your tumble-ball,skidder and ruckman beater,unless he’s good below the knees
    Held it to him is hands and arms only above the waist
    Hard at it?
    Out the back?

  23. Matt Quartermaine says

    Good work Gregor.
    “Hard at it” is a footballer who used to work on a construction site.
    “Out the back” is where club disagreements are sorted.

  24. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    The other one that irks me is “Kick around the corner” . Where are the corners on an oval field FFS ?!

  25. Matt Quartermaine says

    Phil, “Kick around the corner” is a derivation of a turn of the century saying “kick around the coroner” that that became popular during a smallpox outbreak.

  26. “Banana kick” – only attempted by monkeys
    “Check side punt” (SANFL version) – my goal is in the mail
    “Screwie” – kick only ever successfully performed by Malcolm Blight
    “Drop punt” – forceful kick resulting in losing the TAB ticket you shoved in your socks
    “Flat punt” – the ticket was needed to pay the rent
    “Drop kick” – player who does drop punts

  27. Peter Fuller says

    What a joy Matt’s piece is and the comments in the thread have added some additional goals to the resounding victory.

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