If you’re active in footy tipping AFL games, you’ve probably at least thought about how various on-field strategies can affect your performance in tipping. Tipping is in large part about expanding your knowledge about the AFL and gaining insight into how teams play and how those playing styles will interact on the pitch. Some teams are stronger in the midfield, some in defence and some on the attack. Some teams have key players that can play a strong influencing role in game outcomes and other teams rely on teamwork and team synergy to get the job done on match day. The more you understand about the individual skills and strategies that are in play, the better equipped you’ll be to succeed in tipping when you analyse your favourite teams this weekend. Read this short guide which deals with on-field strategies. You’ll learn what methods teams use to move the football around the pitch and score goals – information that can help you make the right tips in your office pool or online.
Learn the Rules of the AFL First and Foremost
The AFL is such an exciting sport that many people who are caught up in the enjoyment neglect to fully understand the rules and nuances of the game. This is really a testament to how exciting and simple the game is – you can watch and love it without having much technical knowledge. In America’s NFL, most viewers who don’t understand the rules have no idea what is happening or why. The AFL released an excellent video explaining the game which can be found on their website at www.afl.com.au/laws. You’ll learn plenty of terminology in this video that will help you understand some of the more complicated and insightful statistics that you’ll come across later on. Once you’re familiar with the rules of the game, it’s a good idea to start checking out some team statistics and understanding how stats could indicate team performance in an upcoming match.
The Home Team Wins 62% of the Time in Team Sports
It seems shocking, doesn’t it? The away team wins just 38% of the time in team sports. Many fans find it difficult to believe this statistic, but it comes from analysis across several sports in many countries. This is why the fans are referred to as the extra player, because they have the ability to influence or intimidate the opposing team. If the Adelaide Crows are playing at home, they have the support of the fans and will continue to have it even if they’re losing by a small margin. The home fans will urge them forward and cheer for them to push harder for the win. If the game is away from home, it’s easier to capitulate without the support of the fans. Players can become demoralized when losing or start to lose energy, and the backing from the fans makes a big difference. This leads to strategic ideas for both the home and away team. The home team is expected to show energy and be adventurous on the attack, looking to create opportunities. The away team is expected to take a more cautious approach and try to take the fans out of the game by playing an uninventive and, by some standards, dull match. If the away team can dissipate the energy of the home fans early in the game, they can equalize the home field advantage and stand a better chance at winning. A team that ventures to do this is normally in a highly confident state against an otherwise evenly matched opponent. In other cases, look for the away team to take a more possession oriented or defensive approach and try to force the home team into making bad mistakes. The Home vs. Away dynamic can reveal a lot about potential outcomes in AFL matches. Pay attention to how teams perform at and away from their home stadiums. Tip in favour of the home team more often, especially when the home team is a clear favourite. When a much weaker side plays an away game to a strong side, they are likely to take a defensive approach.
Basic Offensive Strategies
Coaches employ various offensive strategies that you can look for in games. Some teams have a single designated target man who becomes the focus of play inside the opponent’s 50 metre arc. Every ball into the area is aimed towards him and he is usually big and strong so he can contest air balls consistently throughout the game. You’ll have to find out if the opposing team has defenders that can deal with the target attacker and tip accordingly. Some teams apply heavy forward pressure, like the Brisbane Lions when they won 3 consecutive Grand Finals with forward Jason Akermanis. This beast loved to chase down defenders and steal goals and this tactic has become more common in recent years. Other teams employ a cluster tactic where forwards cluster together to help contest a ball. This makes it more likely that they will crowd out defenders and get a mark. Teams also employ a version of clustering where the cluster disperses with players running in different directions. Here, the team is using a predetermined play and the kicker taking the mark already has an intended target. Predetermined plays, called set plays, are very confusing for the defence.
Defensive Flooding and the Rolling Zone
Coaches sometimes direct their forwards to flood backwards and defend in order to protect a slim lead late on in a contest or to prevent a rout against a heavily favoured opposition. This can produce hotly contested games where one team is dug in defensively and challenges the other team to break them down and score. The rolling zone is a type of zone defence employed by some coaches that aims to close down space everywhere on the field and prevent opponents from moving forward into attacking areas. This defensive set-up relies on a fit and willing squad but can be very effective. It’s hard to get a lot of disposals when you’re being swarmed in the zone defence, and attacking sides will often be forced to play more direct football when the zone defence is employed.
Hopefully by now you have a better understanding of both the laws of the game and some of the basic strategy that goes on in the AFL. You’ll certainly enjoy watching AFL football much more now that you understand more about rules and tactics. And who knows, you’ll probably enjoy tipping even more now too!