Bomb (kick)

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A bomb (also known as an up and under or Garryowen) is a type of kick used in various codes of football. As the names suggests, it is a high kick intended to send the ball relatively straight up so players can get under it before it comes down.

Australian rules football[edit]

The technique is used to a lesser extent in Australian rules football when kicking from deep in a forward pocket or half forward to full-forward and the goal square. The ball is given extra height so that a tall forward has a chance to mark it above other players in front of goal rather than the player risk a low percentage kick from an angle or too far out to score.

Rugby league[edit]

The execution of a bomb in rugby league involves putting up a high kick in general play.[1] the ball often does not travel very far forward, giving the attacking team time to run ahead to where it is expected to land, providing the possibility of re-gaining possession amongst an un-set defensive line. Bombs are often used when close to the try-line, so that the attacking team's best jumpers have a chance to leap for the ball and come down with it in the in-goal area.[2]

The result is a towering ball which should rotate end on end. The height of the kick makes the ball susceptible to wind which causes the ball to change direction. Also, the ball gathers speed as it falls closer to the ground and this combined with the swirling can also cause the ball to change direction, making it difficult for the opposition to take the ball cleanly.

In Australian rugby league, the bomb was popularised by Easts' and Parramatta's John "Bomber" Peard in the 1970s. However, by the 1980s, it became increasingly seen as a negative or unexciting tactic, and a rule change was made to lessen its effect: A bomb (or any type of kick) caught on the full in the in-goal area by the defending side now resulted in an automatic 20 metre tap restart, sometimes colloquially known as defusing the bomb. Grubber kicks or cross kicks are now often used in preference to bombing into the in-goal area. In the 1970s the phrase "up and under" became associated with Rugby League in Britain, when it became the catchphrase of Eddie Waring,[3] an English rugby league coach, commentator and television presenter.[4]

In recent times the "Up and Under" was mastered by Bobbie Goulding helping St. Helens to the inaugural Super League title, and several others after that. It was a common feature of the Saints and though it suffered criticism for its 'negative' quality (at the same time rugby union was under similar scrutiny for turning into a 'kicking' game) it was an extremely effective tactic. The risky nature of the ball (for the catcher) and the opportunity for the pursuing players to challenge for it made it an often comical, and controversial move particularly in the case of defensive players 'chickening out' under pressure.

Being able to secure bombs is a sought after quality in fullbacks[5] and wingers.[6]

Rugby union[edit]

In rugby union, a bomb (also known as an up and under or Garryowen[7] after the Garryowen Football Club that popularised the tactic) allows the attacking team to disrupt the defensive line, take the defence's pressure off themselves and put offensive pressure on their opponents. However, the kicking team risks losing possession of the ball, after which the opposing team may counterattack. In rugby union, the opposing team may choose to call for a mark if the ball is behind the opposition's 22 metre line and caught cleanly. [1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ therfl.co.uk. "Glossary". Official Laws. Rugby Football League. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Hirsch, Suzan (2013). Rugby League Reads magazine. Australia: Macmillan Education. p. 46. 
  3. ^ Eric Partridge, Tom Dalzell, Terry Victor.The concise new Partridge dictionary of slang and unconventional, Routledge, 2007, ISBN 0-415-21259-6, ISBN 978-0-415-21259-5 p. 677
  4. ^ Dave Russell. Looking north: northern England and the national imagination, Manchester University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-7190-5178-9, ISBN 978-0-7190-5178-4. p. 260
  5. ^ Chris, Garry (26 June 2012). "Safety stats add up to Greg Inglis at Maroons fullback". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Stannard, Damien (29 June 2012). "Brisbane Broncos goggle-eyed over high-ball threat". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Nick Cain, Greg Growden (2011). Rugby Union For Dummies. UK: John Wiley & Sons. p. 62. 

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