Eagles’ free-kick tactic queried in AFL

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    North Melbourne coach Brad Scott weighed into West Coast’s ability to draw free kicks after the Eagles won their AFL match by 25 points.

    The Eagles overcame a long injury list to beat the Kangaroos on Sunday at Patersons Stadium 17.18 (120) to 15.5 (95) to be the only unbeaten team after six rounds.

    While the number of scoring shots – 30 to 20 – indicate West Coast deserved the win, the free kick count was 29-15 their way.

    A few days after being warned for approaching the umpires at the end of a match, Scott avoided a near-certain fine by not commenting specifically about his team’s free kick treatment against the Eagles.

    But he noted how well some West Coast players are able to duck their heads to draw frees.

    The Eagles have now received 52 more free kicks than their opponents this season.

    “Most of the free kicks are there for the high contact and we spoke at length about Ashton Hams and the way he draws free kicks,” Scott said.

    “We spoke about the technique and I would not like our players to get a reputation for doing that.

    “The umpires call it as they see it. There is a specific technique that is employed and there is a specific technique to counter that.

    “Too many times today they employed their technique and we did not employ ours.”

    Richmond finally broke through for their second win of the season, beating Port Adelaide on Sunday at AAMI Stadium by 37 points.

    Tigers key forward Jack Riewoldt kicked four goals in Sunday afternoon’s 13.13 (91) to 8.6 (54) win.

    Carlton easily beat Greater Western Sydney by 67 points at Etihad Stadium, but Blues coach Brett Ratten gave his side only five out of 10 as they won 15.20 (110) to 6.7 (43).

    Playing his first game for GWS, former Carlton key forward Setanta O’hAilipin hurt his knee and might need a season-ending reconstruction.

    The Crows continued to impress on Saturday night at the SCG with their 15.9 (99) to 14.10 (94) win over the Swans, ending Sydney’s unbeaten start.

    Adelaide forward Taylor Walker leads the AFL goalkicking with 20 after kicking five against the Swans, while Sydney star Adam Goodes limped off with a leg injury.

    Hawthorn bounced back with a vital 35-point win over St Kilda at the MCG.

    Cyril Rioli was best afield with six goals and fellow Hawks star Lance Franklin kicked 5.6 in the 18.15 (123) to 13.10 (88) win.

    Gold Coast nearly staged a major upset for their first win of the season at home on Saturday against Fremantle.

    But the Dockers finished better to win by seven points, 14.10 (94) to 14.3 (87).

    The other two Saturday afternoon matches were all one-way traffic, with Essendon smashing Brisbane 19.15 (129) to 9.8 (62).

    Geelong were always in control and won 17.17 (119) to 11.10 (76).

    Collingwood had a hard-fought 22-point win over the Western Bulldogs on Friday night at Etihad Stadium.

    The Magpies pulled clear in the final term to win 15.8 (98) to 11.11 (77).

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (57)

    • Roar Guru

      May 7th 2012 @ 8:30am
      Redb said | May 7th 2012 @ 8:30am | ! Report

      Memo to West Coast players – stop dogging it!

      Ducking your head going into a contest is a cowards act – you might get away with it at Subi but you’ll be booed off the ground at Etihad next Saturday, but more importantly everyone is watching including the Martians.

    • May 7th 2012 @ 8:47am
      GrantS said | May 7th 2012 @ 8:47am | ! Report

      So, the Selwood brothers must have taught the West Coast players their technique for obtaining free kicks as the method employed by Hams and Shuey is EXACTLY the same.

      I have always considered the Selwoods to be nothing short of cheats but I would hate for a very good team like the Eagles to be labelled the same for using dirty tactics.

      Let us hope West Coast see the error of their ways and the coach tells them to cut out the crap. If a player should be severely hurt when using these tactics it would be poetic justice.

    • May 7th 2012 @ 9:13am
      Fussballs AFL tracking spreadsheet said | May 7th 2012 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      I saw two acts in the Hawks V Saints game that, whilst not directly equivalent to the ‘Selwood Duck’ were in some ways worse, one by Rioli the other by Hayes. In both cases the players took possession, then literally bent over at the waist and charged headlong at an opposition player! In both cases they drew free kicks and no doubt praise from various commentators for their ‘courage’ at ‘putting their head over the footy’ but I thought it was clear evidence the umpires need to be much more rigorous in their policing of this trend.

      • May 7th 2012 @ 9:20am
        stabpass said | May 7th 2012 @ 9:20am | ! Report

        Saw the Rioli one, not good IMO.

      • May 7th 2012 @ 1:26pm
        joe blackswan said | May 7th 2012 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

        if this tactic is now viewed as an issue that is becoming more influencial on a game, then just like other tactics considered not in the spirit of the game (eg. rushed behinds, boundary sanctuary, flooding) this will either have laws altered/added to counter or tackling technique will evolve. Many players from different clubs have done this over the years (and some use it more than others), but it is a cop out to focus on one club…in fact it sounds very whiny when coming from a losing team. It might be prudent for coaches to focus on tackling technique given that we are still at start of season.

        • May 7th 2012 @ 1:52pm
          Nathan of Perth said | May 7th 2012 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

          Flooding was/is a far larger blight on the game than this stuff and there were never any laws changed. Tactics simply evolved to punish teams that wouldn’t put outlet/counter-attacking options outside of their fifty.

          • May 7th 2012 @ 2:13pm
            joe blackswan said | May 7th 2012 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

            agree. coaches worth their salt can devise tactics/improve skills to counter….this is what makes sport (at least challenging sports like aussie rules) such a beautiful battle of strength, skills, and wits.

          • May 8th 2012 @ 1:34pm
            CraigB said | May 8th 2012 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

            umm…. except for the reduction of the bench from 4 to 3 and a sub. DEsigned to keep players out there longer, making them more tired and therefore less able to flood back.

            • May 8th 2012 @ 2:37pm
              Nathan of Perth said | May 8th 2012 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

              Designed to fight soft tissue injuries primarily, flooding was an only partly expected side benefit. For the most part it was the tactical change that did it.

    • May 7th 2012 @ 9:35am
      Vig said | May 7th 2012 @ 9:35am | ! Report

      Hams is knee high to a grass hopper, he’s also smart the way he attacks the play. It’s not one way traffic on this issue!

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

    • May 7th 2012 @ 10:24am
      Nathan of Perth said | May 7th 2012 @ 10:24am | ! Report

      Dear everyone,

      Eat Me.

      Cheers,
      Nathan of Perth

      • Roar Guru

        May 7th 2012 @ 12:42pm
        Redb said | May 7th 2012 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

        Classic response from a West Coast Eagles fan – as with the players always thinking of their head first.

        Saw a few Lions players try it in the Dons-Lions game – umpire called play on. Deliberate ducking of the head as Swampy alludes will soon attract a free kick to the opposition.

        • May 7th 2012 @ 1:24pm
          GrantS said | May 7th 2012 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

          It is not the same tactic Redb!

          The umpires have become aware of players putting their heads down and running into opponents legs and are not paying the free kicks as often as they were.

          In the “Selwood” method the player with the ball sees the tackle coming, drops a shoulder, pushes the opponents arm up and then throws his head back. In the slow motion replays you can see that the head is thrown back before the tackle has in fact ridden up.

          Unfortunately the Bombers had a player in Gavin Wanganeen who was also very good at a similar method of obtaining free kicks.

          With several players in the same team using this method it wont be long before the AFL will have to do something to prevent it. We will probably complain then that legitimate free kicks are not being paid.

          Until it is made illegal players will continue to use the ruse.

          • May 7th 2012 @ 1:37pm
            joe blackswan said | May 7th 2012 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

            “The umpires have become aware of players putting their heads down and running into opponents legs and are not paying the free kicks as often as they were.”

            Yet when you talk of the “selwood method” you say “Until it is made illegal players will continue to use the ruse”…think you might find that a ruse is a ruse and should be regarded as such by umpires, though difficult to police at times. An improved tackling technique can address the latter ruse, not sure of the former though.

            • May 7th 2012 @ 2:36pm
              GrantS said | May 7th 2012 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

              I agree with you up to a point Joe.

              Umpires are not paying the “high” contact as often when a player runs into another’s legs because they see that there was no wrongdoing by the “tackling” player. Where the umpire does not have perfect line of sight the free is still paid.

              Where I disagree is that in the “Selwood Duck” the opposing player is in fact tackling correctly but the actions of the tacked player make it appear to be a free kick or turn a legal tackle in to one which is illegal. The Selwoods have been doing this for a long time so it is a wonder that some of the more intelligent umpires haven’t caught on.

              • May 8th 2012 @ 5:58pm
                Nathan of Perth said | May 8th 2012 @ 5:58pm | ! Report

                Not the tackled player’s responsibility. If you are tackling in a method where it is a risk that you will have your tackle shifted to a proscribed area and are unable to prevent it from happening then you have tackled poorly and expect to hear the whistle.

                Fact is that the league lads are right, we have gone years with crap tackling techniques. If it weren’t a matter of tackling, the Eagles would still be giving away an average amount of them – they’re not, they’re on the ball in countering poor tackling techniques and also in executing good tackles.

          • Roar Guru

            May 7th 2012 @ 4:01pm
            Redb said | May 7th 2012 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

            Players also pick up the ball and go head first into a pack of players.

            • Roar Guru

              May 10th 2012 @ 9:42pm
              The Cattery said | May 10th 2012 @ 9:42pm | ! Report

              don’t like that either – there’s a lot of stuff happening at the moment which I don’t like

        • May 7th 2012 @ 1:48pm
          Nathan of Perth said | May 7th 2012 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

          Goes double for Essendon supporters. πŸ™‚

          • Roar Guru

            May 7th 2012 @ 4:02pm
            Redb said | May 7th 2012 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

            Prepare for your first defeat Chewbacca πŸ™‚

            • Roar Guru

              May 8th 2012 @ 6:12am
              The_Wookie said | May 8th 2012 @ 6:12am | ! Report

              Im torn as to who I support in that game. If we beat the saints and the dons win, Carlton go top and I get to mock my father who is a rabid eagles supporter. On the other hand, no one likes to see the dons win….

              • May 8th 2012 @ 9:40am
                Nathan of Perth said | May 8th 2012 @ 9:40am | ! Report

                “Carlton go top and I get to mock my father who is a rabid eagles supporter”

                Where O’ Where did you go wrong, Wookie?

              • Roar Guru

                May 8th 2012 @ 2:15pm
                Redb said | May 8th 2012 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

                The Wookie,

                “No-one likes to see the Dons win” – especially when its against the blues. πŸ™‚

              • Roar Guru

                May 9th 2012 @ 6:18am
                The_Wookie said | May 9th 2012 @ 6:18am | ! Report

                @Nathan – Eagles didnt exist when i came home from school in 1981 and proudly told my then-north loving father that I was a blues kid and there was nothing he could do about it. Turns out there was, I got sent to my room with no desert lol. Being a WA man born and bred, he transferred allegiances to the Eagles in 1987, where i remained with the club I chose.

              • May 10th 2012 @ 12:17pm
                Nathan of Perth said | May 10th 2012 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

                “Turns out there was, I got sent to my room with no desert lol”

                Brilliant πŸ˜€

    • May 7th 2012 @ 11:37am
      Swampy said | May 7th 2012 @ 11:37am | ! Report

      In a related note, there is a massive concern about the effect of concussions in the NFL. This discussion has been further pushed to the forefront with the recent suicide of future Hall of Famer Junior Seau, whom suffered numerous concussions over the course of his career. While it is noted that Seau was suffering depression, many, including his family, are questioning whether or not there is a link between his concussions and subsequent depression.

      Is winning a free kick at the risk of concussion and the resulting long term damage something that players, coaches, clubs and the league should perhaps consider too high?

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

      • May 7th 2012 @ 12:30pm
        brendan said | May 7th 2012 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

        Well put Swampy.

      • May 7th 2012 @ 1:49pm
        Nathan of Perth said | May 7th 2012 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

        So tackle around the hips already instead of trying to be cute so you can pin the arms.

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