The "Rewarding the Tackler" framing

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Liam Boy

Premiership Player
Oct 12, 2008
AFL Club
North Melbourne
would love to know where this phrase came from. i've always found it ridiculous, the purpose of the holding the ball free kick (along with all free kicks) is to penalise a player for breaking the rules, there's no "reward" about it. are we going to start talking about rewarding the fall when a guy gets shoved in the back? maybe rewarding the neck when a guy gets taken high?

as far as i can tell it's just a commentator invention, but if it creeps into the umpire interpretation it could further muddle the already near-indecipherable holding the ball rule. we already often see situations where guys who didn't really have a chance to get rid of it pinged for holding the ball, seemingly just because the tackle looked really good, i'd hate to think this has anything to do with it.


Club Legend
Jan 23, 2014
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
I've always heard since I was a kid playing football mid 90's same as rewarding the player in front for a marking situation

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Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 12, 2010
AFL Club

HTB is a penalty, not a reward.

Players taking the ball are making the play, and should be rewarded before tacklers are.

Likewise in some situations (especially if the ball carrier goes low, and the tackler approaches from the front), the notion of "how am I supposed to tackle him legally" comes up; sometimes you simply are not in position to easily lay a legal tackle. There is no such inherent right in the game

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Norm Smith Medallist
Jul 11, 2005
On the Road to A.G
AFL Club
Other Teams
I only remember hearing the phrase growing up "reward the tackler" being used in the context of if you tackle someone near goal and the free kick is awarded, instead of a team mate taking the ball and taking advantage and possibly ******* up a shot at goal, leave the tackler to have the set shot.

Very specific context, that was early 2000s for me.

Hate it in its current context.

The Dodger

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 12, 2010
AFL Club
West Coast
I think i've mentioned something similar previously talking about how they want to speed the game therefore when a good tackle is laid instead of saying well done you stopped the opposition now its a 50/50 ball up its come to that a free kick has to be rewarded to the tackler otherwise "the game is just a maul".

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