Half-back line

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In the sport of Australian rules football, the half-back line refers to the positions of the 3 players on the field that occupy the centre half-back and left and right half-back flank positions.

Australian rules football positions
B: back pocket fullback back pocket
HB: half-back flank centre half-back half-back flank
C: wing centre wing
HF: half-forward flank centre half-forward half-forward flank
F: forward pocket full-forward forward pocket
Foll: ruckman ruck rover rover
Int: Interchange bench Interchange bench Interchange bench
Coach: coach

Centre half-back[edit]

The role of the centre half-back is similar to that of a defensive midfielder in association football. As the first line of defence, the centre half-back must aim to break down opposition attacks before they can get into a scoring position.[1] Given that a centre half-back's opponent is usually the centre half-forward, the role is regarded as a key position in the team, and is usually reserved for tall and well-built players.

As one of the team's leaders, centre half-backs must be able to read the play and have good communication skills.[2] Although their first responsibility is to defend,[2] the great centre half-backs have proven to be equally creative in attack as well as reliable in defence.

Notable centre half-backs from over the years include:

Half-back flank[edit]

The half-back flank was traditionally a defensive position, where reliability and toughness were more important than attacking flair.[1] In the modern game, reliability and toughness must now be combined with the ability to run and carry the ball as well as take on the opposition in a counter-attacking style.[5]

Notable half-back flankers over the years in Australian football include:


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Pascoe, 1995, p. 28
  2. ^ a b Northey, John (24 March 2010). "Playing Position Centre Half Back". Archived from the original on 31 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "TEAM OF THE CENTURY". norwoodfc.com.au. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Pascoe, 1995, p. 29
  5. ^ "Team Play and Game Plans: Position descriptions". AFL Youth Coaching Manual (PDF). Australian Football League. 2012. p. 92. 


  • Pascoe, Robert (1995). The winter game : the complete history of Australian football. Port Melbourne: The Text Publishing Company. ISBN 0 85561 644 X.