Are You a Defender or an Attacker in Australian Football? Advice for Junior Players

A famous Hawthorne coach named Alan Jeans had this idea that he continued to drum into his players. There are only two positions on the field. You will be both a defender and an attacker. If your team has the ball you become an attacker no matter where you are on the field. That means get yourself in a position to get the ball. If the opposition has the football, or the football is in dispute, you become a defender, again no matter where you are on the field. So you cover your opponent. A player who can understand this idea and can put it into practice; becomes a very valuable addition to his team.

When the football is in dispute or the game is to restart at the centre square:
When the game restarts, position yourself between your opponent and the ball. Place a hand on his/her chest so you know where he/she is. Once the ball is in play use your hand on your opponent’s chest to push off your opponent to get a head start towards the football onto the next contest or to give a lead for your team mate.

When your team is in attack:

When your team has the ball, you need to become a loose player ready to lead and receive the football. When you lead, run into space and towards the player with the football. Be careful not to crowd the area into which your other team mates may lead.
Try to anticipate where the football will be kicked and, by watching the ball carrier, anticipate when he is ready to deliver the football. That is when you should lead. Remember to lead strongly even if you believe you will not receive the football. This keeps your opponent’s mind on you and not the football. If you don’t receive the football, be ready to back up the play I. e. run to the contest to offer support to your team mates or take the “crumbs” from the contest.
Once you have the football and if you are clear, run hard into space, immediately to get away from your opponent. Run 15 metres before you bounce the football. Then continue to run getting yourself balanced before kicking the football towards a leading player. (This means you can run up to 30 metres from one bounce). Make sure you kick the football in front of the leading player on the opposite side to the defender who is chasing your team mate. Always follow you kick towards the contest to swoop on the ball if it is spilt in the marking contest. If the ball is marked, run past to receive a handball.
If you are clear but being chased, weave to get the chaser directly behind you. You then have control of the chaser because you can swerve either way. Being directly behind you means he can’t shorten the distance to catch you if you swerve.
If the ball falls to the ground in front of you or you are chasing the ball into space, and are

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