There’s an art to the AFL stoppage and it’s shaping the Magpies’ results

It truly is as near to a 50-50 condition as there is in Australian football.

The umpire retains the ball and the gamers jostle for placement. You can find a bump here, a delicate get of the jumper there. Absolutely everyone is angling to get into the correct spot.

It can search chaotic, but there is certainly exactly practised motion and positioning at enjoy. A maintain or force that may seem defensive at first look could possibly essentially be an attacking action to produce house.

Stoppages can contain as number of as eight contributors or numerous additional. Congestion at the stoppage is not new.


To some, stoppages are the most critical factor of the sport. To other people, they are swiftly losing significance in contrast to the intercept sport.

Unique groups worth clearances in distinctive means. A great deal can depend on who is winning it. Then there’s the exactly where and when.

A number of teams like to gain them out of the centre but will area fewer emphasis on them close to the floor.

And some get a good deal of clearances without them getting significantly affect on the scoreboard.

When Collingwood was on the march to the 2018 Grand Remaining, it rated first in the AFL for stoppage clearance differential. In 2020, it is useless final.

The Magpies are likely to damage their opponents when they gain stoppage clearances. But this 12 months they’re just not profitable adequate of them.

With its period in the harmony, does the art of the stoppage hold the critical to Collingwood’s fortunes?

The part of the sweeper

A major element of the Magpies’ 2018 stoppage good results was positioning and the use of the sweeper.

Most groups placement a sweeper at the back again of stoppages when not inside of possibly arc. The job serves two primary responsibilities.

To start with, the sweeper functions as a fall short-harmless target for a retreating handball, entrusted to facilitate a defensive-aspect exit from the stoppage. 2nd, it has the vantage point to swiftly assess the contest and react with either an attacking or defensive action.

Profitable the ball in tight at the again of the contest can make it tough to locate clear room. Relatively than immediately attacking just after winning possession, groups can typically get trapped in a handball loop as they glance to operate the ball out.

You will find also nuanced positioning in the outer layer of the stoppage. Teams need to choose whether to guy to up the opposing sweeper to make them accountable or gamble on owning a spare somewhere else.

Likely forward

As highlighted by The Shinboner internet site, Collingwood’s Adam Treloar lately disclosed his side has shifted its focus to coming out of the front of the stoppage this year.

The attractiveness of going speedily ahead from stoppages is very clear: it gives opposing defences much less time to respond.

It truly is the essential motive why the clearances that Collingwood does win are so harmful.

Ruckman Brodie Grundy is adept at different his hit-out zones, but no issue where the ball lands the Magpies consider to assault with goal. If this have been quick, just about every crew would do it. It truly is not.

Not all groups have to have to be so aggressive to delight in stoppage achievements however.

In this play, Giants midfielder Jacob Hopper knows where by ruckman Sam Jacobs needs to hit the ball, but is worried his opponent David Swallow will defeat him to it.

The strictest interpretation of the Legislation of the Activity may well decide his keep on Swallow to be a no cost kick, but his maintain-and-go allows Hopper to safeguard the ball drop, achieve possession and use it.

It can be assault by defence.

Blocking or screening for a teammate has also develop into a important element of stoppage perform.

Seem right here at how Dom Sheed impedes Gryan Miers, clearing a path for Liam Ryan’s run at the ball.

Defenders need to have to make a rapid decision: do they change opponents and try out to make up floor or do they try to battle via the block and drop time on the pursuit?

A further new example was witnessed in this significantly talked about incident involving Carlton’s Patrick Cripps.


While most of the debate centred on Shaun Higgins attempting to block Cripps, the critical motion occurs prior to that, when Matthew Kennedy dives in the direction of Cripps’s opponent Jed Anderson to power the mismatch.

Cripps’s managing start off and actual physical toughness allow for him to shark the Todd Goldstein faucet, but he is grabbed by Higgins and the play is neutralised.

A lot less than a moment later the Blues repeat the manoeuvre, with Kennedy attempting to display screen for Eddie Betts at one more forward 50 stoppage. It really is simple to overlook it at the base of the screen in close proximity to the 50m arc, as most eyes drift to the ruckmen.

The least complicated and safest location for a ruckman to faucet the ball is near to his entire body. But different the goal site is important since going ahead all the time can make a workforce also predictable. A prepared hit-out to a specified facet can be as successful as exactly choreographed motion.

The risk of finding burnt

As Collingwood is identifying this year, an intense stoppage strategy can be dangerous.

Trying to move the ball ahead by means of visitors can direct to easy intercepts, which at periods occurred from Fremantle final weekend.

Opposition teams have been feasting on the Magpies’ stoppage missteps.

From time to time Collingwood has moved a participant out of the stoppage to use behind the ball.

This has turn out to be significantly critical given that the damage to All-Australian defender Jeremy Howe. Up right up until Howe was injured, the Magpies had boasted the league’s most productive backline. It was retaining them in video games when their forward line located its groove.

Following two straight losses in the West, the Magpies are now perched exterior of the best 8 with much less than 50 percent the season remaining.

To flip all-around their variety they’re going to want to come across the proper stability involving employing clearances as a weapon and profitable sufficient of them in general.

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