WHEN discussing defensive tactics with a Winfield Cup coach recently I
was amused to hear him say, dismissively, that "umbrella defence went out with
I wanted to tell him the straw hats analogy went out with the hole in the
ozone layer, but thought it best not to be pedantic.
Anyway, I got the gist of what he was saying. Something like umbrella
defence went out with Viking saunas, traditional softening up periods and the
hooker wearing number 12 jersey.
You know, therein lies one of the attractions of the Greatest Game of All.
It's an ever-changing landscape.
One day your team's wearing a footy jersey, the next a cola can with
sleeves. One day your half-back's a Queenslander the next he's a New South
Welshman. The tackle that made you a hero last season could send you to Coventry
And nothing reflects the ever-changing landscape of league more than its
Forwards who used to go for barging runs now register "hit-ups". Teams
that used to be dangerous from broken play are now good at "ad-lib football" and
old bread-and-butter statistics like scrum and penalty counts these days take a
back seat to measurements like "time in possession" (which, I understand, is
also becoming an important statistic for cricketers in the West Indies.)
Are you keeping up? Or are you the type who's re-assured rather than
embarrassed by seeing the Passing Competition back on TV?
Find out - by completing this quick jargon-awareness quiz:
1. What's an ADVANTAGE LINE?
a. A marking on a tennis court.
b. A 0055 number footballers call to get advice.
c. An imaginary line that runs from sideline to sideline that marks where
the play-the-ball is.
2. In what situation would teams use COMPRESSION?
a. When talking about the engine on the team bus.
b. When trying to fit too many players on the team bus.
c. When setting their defensive line.
3. What is a FIRST RECEIVER?
a. A position in American football.
b. A position in a company that's gone into liquidation.
c. First man to receive off the ruck.
4. A SECOND MAN PLAY is:
a. An American theatrical piece written about Al Gore.
b. A fall-back plan for a football groupie.
c. A move with a decoy runner.
5. Where would you find the RED ZONE?
a. Kings Cross.
b. Around the eyes of a Balmain or a Cronulla supporter.
c. In your own quarter.
6. COMPLETION RATE refers to:
a. The number of footballers who finish high school.
b. Problems getting things done in the housing industry.
c. The number of times the attacking team holds the ball for a full six
7. What is a FACE BALL?
a. A black-tie function for famous people.
b. Footballing slang for a pimple.
c. A pass that drifts across the front of one player but is meant for
8. When a coach wants his side to get some GO FORWARD he means:
a. They should try getting away with some forward passes.
b. They should buy a box of special dry kibble for forwards (similar to Go
c. They should advance the football.
If you selected a. or b. to four questions or more you have very little
understanding of league jargon. You'll probably win your office tipping
If you answered a. or b. to less than four questions you can almost bluff
your way through a footy conversation. You are suited to football commentary or
If you answered c. to every question you're a know-all. You have won a
ticket to a David Waite post-match press conference. Second prize is two tickets
to a David Waite post-match press conference plus Jack Gibson's Guide to Stand