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The centre half-forward's role is usually the most demanding of any player on field, with a tall frame, strength and most importantly, athleticism, required. Usually the best backman will be used to cover a quality CHF, unless the opposing Full-Forward is so good they take priority. Thus an attacking team with a pair of good CHF and FF will seriously stretch a defence.
If a team in the AFL played without a good centre half forward then they would often struggle to win games and make an impact on the competition. Great Centre half forwards have the ability to turn games on their heads and potentially win a match single handedly for their team.
A primary skill needed is good marking ability, and long-range goal kicking. CHFs frequently line up shots on goal from circa 50m out, often as wide as the boundary. Kicking at goal on-the-run while running into the 50 is a significant skill, as well as being able to pick out markers closer to goals in the square.
The position is very strenuous, and players known as CHF often have unnaturally shortened careers - Dermott Brereton is a good example of a great player worn out too quickly. In the modern game, coaches preserve these players, playing them in a variety of relief positions, often in the opposite position at Centre-Half-Back. This preserves their longevity. A good example is James Hird, who played mostly HB towards the end of his career.
Widely regarded as the three best centre half-forwards ever to play the game were Wayne Carey, Brereton and Royce Hart. Wayne Carey's career was also significant for his battle with Glen Jakovich, one of the modern game's greatest individual rivalries. Current notable centre half-forwards include Jonathan Brown, Nick Riewoldt, Jarryd Roughead, Matthew Pavlich, Taylor Walker and Michael Hurley.
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