Fullback (rugby league)
Fullback (or full-back) is a position in a rugby league football team. Typically wearing jersey number 1, the fullback is a member of the team's 'back-line' (1-7). The position's name comes from their duty of standing the furthest back in defence, behind the forwards (8-13), half backs (6 and 7) and the three-quarter backs (2-5). Fullbacks are therefore the last line of defence, having to tackle any opposition players and regather the ball from any kicks that make it through their team-mates. It is for this reason that the fullback is also referred to as the sweeper or custodian. Being able to secure high bomb kicks is a sought after quality in fullbacks.
Fullback is also one of the most important positions in attack, handling the ball nearly every set of six and often running into open space on the field. Therefore, together with the two half backs and hooker, fullback is one of the four key positions that make up what is referred to as a team's 'spine'. Because the fullback makes the most support runs, players in the role complete more very high-intensity running than any other position.
The Rugby League International Federation's Laws of the Game state that the 'fullback' is to be numbered 1. However, traditionally players' jersey numbers have varied, and in the modern Super League, each squad's players are assigned individual numbers regardless of position.
Fullbacks who feature in their respective nations' rugby league halls of fame are France's Puig Aubert, Australia's Clive Churchill and Charles Fraser, Wales' Jim Sullivan and New Zealand's Des White. Churchill's attacking flair as a player in the 1950s is credited with having changed the role of the fullback. So too is Darren Lockyer's.
- Hickey, Julia (2006). Understanding Rugby League. UK: Coachwise. ISBN 9781905540105.
- news.bbc.co.uk. "Positions guide: Full-back". Rugby League: Laws & Equipment. BBC Sport. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- Rob, Lancaster (6 October 2011). "Final battles". Sky Sports. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
- therfl.co.uk. "Understanding Positions". A Guide to the Game. Rugby Football League. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- Hall, Sam (30 Nov 2011). "Rejuvenated Denan Kemp puts hand up for custodian spot". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- halifaxcourier.co.uk (15 August 2008). "Fax is Miles better for me: Greenwood". Halifax Courier. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- Chris, Garry (26 June 2012). "Safety stats add up to Greg Inglis at Maroons fullback". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
- Stannard, Damien (29 June 2012). "Brisbane Broncos goggle-eyed over high-ball threat". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
- Kent, Paul (5 September 2012). "Evolution of the game: Fullback goes past halfback as NRL's most important position". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- Bryan, Andrew (29 June 2012). "Back yourself in Origin Dream Team". nswrl.com.au. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- Read, Brent (11 February 2012). "Coach Tim Sheens yet to crack Wests Tigers' backbone". The Australian. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- Sirotic AC, Knowles H, Catterick C, Coutts AJ. "Positional match demands of professional rugby league competition". PubMed. University of Technology, Sydney. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
- The International Laws of the Game and Notes of the Laws (PDF). RLIF. 2007. p. 9.
- Middleton, David (2008). League of Legends: 100 Years of Rugby League in Australia (PDF). National Museum of Australia. p. 31. ISBN 978-1-876944-64-3.
- Jackson, Glenn (2011). Benji: My Story. New Zealand: Hachette.