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In Australian rules football, the centre half-forward is a position on the half-forward line of a football field. The directly opposing player is a centre half-back. Wayne Carey of the North Melbourne and Adelaide football clubs is often considered to be the greatest centre half-forward of all time.
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 solid combination of both centre half-forward and full-forward will seriously stretch a defence.
If a team in the AFL played without a reliable centre half-forward, then they would often struggle to win games or make an impact on the competition. Great centre half-forwards have the ability to turn games on their heads and practically win a match singlehandedly for their team.
A primary skill needed is good marking ability, with long-range goalkicking also being of great value. CHFs frequently line up shots on goal from about 50 metres out, often as wide as the boundary. At AFL level especially, kicking goals on-the-run while running into the 50-metre arc is a significant and requisite skill, as well as being able to pick out markers closer to the goal square.
The position is very strenuous, and players who specialise as CHFs 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 typically preserves the longevity of their career. A good example is James Hird, who often played on the half-back flank towards the end of his career.
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