Up and under

An up and under is a type of kick in various codes of football. It is a high short punt onto or behind the defending team is a useful tactic both for attacking and defending. In Australian rules football and rugby league it also known as a bomb (kick), while in rugby union it is also called a Garryowen after the Garryowen Football Club that popularised the use of this tactic.

Australian rules football

The technique is used to a lesser extent in Australian rules football when kicking from deep in a forward pocket or half forward to full-forward and the goal square. The ball is given extra height so that a tall forward has a chance to mark it above other players in front of goal rather than the player risk a low percentage kick from an angle or too far out to score.

Rugby league

The execution of a bomb is similar to the punt kick, with the main difference in execution being the angle held relative to the body and the position of the ball where the foot makes the contact. The ball is held vertically (upright) or parallel with the body. It is released with one hand on each side and the boot makes contact on the bottom point of the ball.

The result is a towering ball which should rotate end on end. The height of the kick makes the ball susceptible to wind which causes the ball to change direction. Also, the ball gathers speed as it falls closer to the ground and this combined with the swirling can also cause the ball to change direction.

In Australian rugby league, the bomb was popularised by Easts' and Parramatta's John "Bomber" Peard in the 1970s. However, by the 1980s, it became increasingly seen as a negative or unexciting tactic, and a rule change was made to lessen its effect: A bomb (or any type of kick) caught on the full in the in-goal area by the defending side now resulted in an automatic 20 metre tap restart, sometimes colloquially known as defusing the bomb. Grubber kicks or cross kicks are now sometimes used in preference to bombing into the in-goal area.

In recent times the "Up and Under" was mastered by Bobby Goulding helping St. Helens to the inaugural Super League title, and several others after that. It was a common feature of the Saints and though it suffered criticism for its 'negative' quality (at the same time rugby union was under similar scrutiny for turning into a 'kicking' game) it was an extremely effective tactic. The risky nature of the ball (for the catcher) and the opportunity for the pursuing players to challenge for it made it an often comical, and controversial move particularly in the case of defensive players 'chickening out' under pressure.

Rugby union

In rugby union, the "Up and Under", also known as the "Garryowen", allows the attacking team to disrupt the defensive line, take the defence's pressure off themselves and put offensive pressure on their opponents. However, the kicking team risks losing possession of the ball, after which the opposing team may counter attack. In rugby union, the opposing team may choose to call for a mark if the ball is behind the opposition's 22 metre line line and caught cleanly.

See also


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