Video Analysis: Kurtley Beale, Wallaby Fullback - Green and Gold Rugby

Video Analysis: Kurtley Beale, Wallaby Fullback

Video Analysis: Kurtley Beale, Wallaby Fullback

The standout Wallaby back for the last two tests has been Kurtley Beale. He’s been fundamentally involved in just about every major attacking play, and as Lance asked in his What’s happened to the Wallaby Specialists? post, Beale is making a strong case for becoming the first choice Wallaby 15.

Maybe it was because of the hype that started at a ridiculous age, but critics always seem to come flooding out for Kurtley, often ignoring the rare talent he has to offer. I’ve pulled a few clips together predominantly from the game in Pretoria looking at what makes him such a revelation at fullback.

  • dobduff11

    great vid gagger, beale looks really energetic in these past few matches and he’s actually effective,

    the break against RSA was unbielevable footwork and he looked so quick when he straightened and went for it at 0:28. Completely burned gurthro at the goal-line.

    If beale ever goes back to 10 he should stay at this weight because hes electric at the moment

    • Patrick

      Completely burned who again? The THP???

      That non-sequitur aside, I agree that he is a good option to have. I’m not convinced that he is better than AAC though.

    • realist

      I completely agree with you and gagger. Kurtley would make an outstanding Touch player where his consistent defensive lapses and heart tremors under the high ball would be less conspicuous. Gagger would make a first rate Touch coach so this could be the making of a McQueen/Eales type relationship for Touch Football.

  • Skip

    I honestly can never see him playing at 13 against a top side.

  • Blinky Bill from Bellingen

    Like others in the team Beale is guilty of producing great things one moment and a shocker the next. But that’s what you get with a risk taker and we need someone to chance their arm. He’s our boy!

    Personally I’d like to see him given a chance to let his free spirit express itself on the paddock as he’s just so bloody dangerous on attack and pops up in support all over the place. Clearly he needs to work on his defence. It is coachable.

    Stay trim KB, it’s a far better look & helps with the zip.

  • Bullrush

    I agree with Dubdoff…..he should keep playing more at 10

  • Big Paddy

    I think 15 is his best position. He has more time at 15 than he gets at 10 and he seems to thrive on this. in attack, he has shown some real genius, but that said, still think I would prefer to see Adam Ashley-Cooper at full back, if we had a better option at 13 that is.

  • Langthorne

    Thanks for the great video Gagger. It is nice to have a few things to be positive about.

    Keeping this backline together will reap plenty of attacking benefits. Giving them some decent defensive drilling will fix the other issues – I think they can all tackle (but maybe in some cases could do it better), but it is the work as a group that will make the difference.

  • Joe Blow

    Having Beale and QC in the same side gives the Wallabies some heavy duty attacking ability.
    What they are missing is the foil of a Morty type player in the centres to take advantage of the gaps and half gaps that these two create.
    I have been a long term Giteau fan but with both these guys in the run on side there may be cause to send Gits to the bench.
    Once Davies and Will Chambers return they will add the finishing touches to an amazing backline.

    • Rocky Elboa

      I agree with the need for hard straight runners, but I think Hynes and Ioane are the better options
      Not sure about Gits though

    • dbla

      I think AAC is the man for outside centre (rather than chambers at this point) and he is capable of taking those opportunites thats gits, beale and QC offer but it is simply a matter of deciding which position is his and letting him settle there because he has to be in the team.

      I’m hoping that beale can get his D and high ball into shape because if he continues to look assured at fullback then maybe AAC can get the whole spring tour at outside centre and given extended time there we all know he could make the position his own. I agree with you when you imply we need a direct runner who can get over the gain line at 13 and from what I’ve seen of his games at 13 every now and then he has the ability to make metres back on the angle and in contact but just hasn’t been given time to develop that facet of his game.

      Throw in Ioane on the wing and you have two very useful toilers for getting over the gain line allowing players like JOC, Mitchell or Hynes to create havoc wider.

  • sammy

    Great attacker – i don’t see him keeping the weight off long term. But maybe by that time he’s capable of controlling a game from 10 or playing 12 again.

    Tackling is 80% coachable..but i would be surprised if a guy who has been training almost every week fo his life for the last 10+ years hadn’t been given the technique already – it’s guts and venom that creates a really committed tackle – same goes for JOC, mitchell and cooper- they know who to smash blokes but occasionally flinch or relax and it costs us.

    No way he’s a 13, he’d be just as capable as JOC on the wing, but I have my own opininion about leaving fkn good wingers out of the 22 just to have ‘a livewire’ on the field (show me a winger that isn’t).

    He’s a great impact player and deserves a spot on the bench once the playing roster is back to full strength.

  • D.

    As a Beale nay sayer, I will now say that he it starting to look the goods in the fullback position. He is definitely not the player he was at the end of the S14. Just like Qwade’s (got those on hand for saturday) season with the Wallabies last year, he is maturing as a player and that is good news for us.

    Also like Quade, his defense needs help. In the clip you showed him chasing down Habana, if the support players weren’t there, Habana was gone like yesterday. Get him a few pints of ‘Harden the Fuck Up’ and he’ll certainly be a future superstar.

  • Joel

    Surprised to see no mention of his fallibility under the high ball, especially with a Reid or a Spies bearing down on him at full pace.

    My money is on AAC, who doesn’t need the unpredictability as he just so damn good at doing the predictable. Pace, power, bravery, technique – how many times have you seen him go up for the ball, catch it out of an opponents’ grasp, land, twist out of contact and sprint away into space? AAC is wasted out in the no-man’s land of 13 with Cooper skipping Gits inside him.

  • Rocky Elboa

    Beale needs to work on the High Ball and defence, and I don’t think he is strong enough to play 13
    To be honest I am just happy that (if) when all our back line players are fit there will be some real competition for positions
    15 – AAC/Beale/Shepard
    Wing – JOC/Davies/Mitchell/Hynes/McCabe
    13 – Morty/Horne/Chambers
    12 – Gits/Barnes/Fingers
    10 – Quade
    9 – Genia/Burgess
    I know a lot of our players are considered utilities but I don’t want to double up there names as I believe it would give a false sense of depth

    • Andrew

      I’ve got a feeling Luke Rooney will be challenging for fullback/wing next year. He’s another who can add some weight and punch to the backline

  • DPK

    Great vid Gagger, one small error I picked; on the play that led to AAC’s knock on almost try, the backline passes went Genia – Cooper not Beale – Cooper.

    Great vid though, as I said.

    • Ashley-Cooper was on the deck with his beard in the ruck that Genia passes from, so it defo wasn’t him (check out Austin’s latest attack vid). Think it was Beale in the line, but hard to make out

  • dbla

    Big thing for me about having Beale at fullback is that if god forbid Australia ever gets forced into a position where they need some long range kicking from fullback I feel more assured about his long kicking game than the other fullback options bar Shepherd. This is a skill set that I believe every fullback should still possess and while AAC isn’t a terrible kicker I certainly don’t feel confident when I see him put foot to ball.

  • CJ

    I’ve always been a Gits fan. He is a very talented individual and was an excellent 12 for many seasons, often bringing the creativity to work with hole/impact runners like Burke, Latham, Tuqiri, Sailor etc.

    But, when you have distributors with the vision and ability to put people into space like Genia, Cooper and Beale (possibly even JOC)… what the Wallabies need now more than anything is too go back to what works in the early 2000’s… and that was having big and strong hole runners, impact runners to work off Cooper and Beale etc.

    There’s an old saying – too many chiefs and not enough indians. I see that with the Wallabies at present. We haven’t got the Herberts and Mortlocks, Tuqiri, Rathbone, Sailor etc running hard and straight and into spaces that Latham etc created.

    I don’t think you can carry a small 12 outside of Cooper. Gits is a good defender but like Barnes tends to tackle low and thus leaving the opponent to stand or off load in contact or fromt the floor. We need dominant tacklers like Nathan Grey, Herbert, Mortlock etc in the centres to cover for Coopers failings but also drive the opposition backwards in the contact zone and not fall backwards whilst tackling low.

    We need to bring on the EOYT and in 2011 players like Ioane, Chambers, Mortlock (hopefully), AAC needs to hit the weights big time… and then leave players like Davies, Turner, Shepherd, JOC, Rooney, Hynes, Mitchell etc to fight for the wing positions.

    We need blokes who are strong and hard and direct… we got the people to pull the strings and create space (Cooper, Genia, Beale etc) but we need big boys to run through them.

    Sorry to his supporters but Anthony Faingaa is not the 12 answer and never will be. He is not test standard and never will be. He is not exactly big. He worked well at Qld being direct outside of Cooper but Super rugby is a lot looser than Test football. Gits has had a good career but Australia doesn’t need another chief in the midfield. After supporting him and defending him for so many years, sadly I think Gits in the 12 jersey is not in the best interests of a balanced team.

    We need a big nasty pack to provide the ball and I can see Cooper and co carving up out wide with some big backs and strong finishers to get over the whitewash.

    • CJ – I’m with you on what you’re saying here. Problem is – we’ve got no-one in that mould at 12, apart from Tom Carter.

      Horan wasn’t a monster, what do you reckon about JO’C at 12?

    • Patrick

      That must be the first time I have seen someone say that AAC needs to hit the weights big time! He is only 98kgs after all, surely a competent 13 needs to be at least 100?


  • dobduff11

    Yeh JOC at 12, we would score alot of tries but might concede a fair few aswell

    Horan wasn’t a monster but he was a better defender than JOC and bernie was a better defender than quade

    • Garry

      yes, I’d say with that pairing, you’d see opposition aiming a lot of traffic at that channel.

      If their defense needed work, well, at least they’d get the practice come game time. ;)

    • I think JO’C is a different defender at 12, he has good head-on technique (albeit around the legs and non-dominant) and has handled Nonu well in the past at S14. It’s when he’s out of position like at wing that things get iffyer.

  • CJ

    I think long term JOC will only get more physically bigger and stronger and may become a good 12 option. I think when fit our best 12 options for the next 12-18 months should be Mortlock, Horne and Chamber although the World cup might come too soon for Chambers at 12 as he may need more time to learn the position especially if he isn’t playing at 12 in the Super 14.
    To be honest, at present you are right… we are devoid of options and Deans isn’t stupid and perhaps Gits etc is getting picked for lack of options. Much like Ma’afu, Mumm and co.

    Just throwing it out there but what about that massive unit Mitch Inman from the Force?

    The problem for aus rugby is the super 14 is not conducive to producing/coaches not selecting ball running/crashing 12’s anymore. Its fast flowing rugby and that’s why we see players like JOC, Halangahue, Gits Beale etc playing 12 in Super 14. To the detriment of the national game. Super rugby was a massive contributor to the decline of Australian scrummaging as all of a sudden we wanted props to be more mobile and ball players and scrummagers second. Thankfully we addressed this issue over the last few seasons.

  • Pedro

    I think what everyone forgets is that if you put palu, tpn and Alexander back in the forwards all of a sudden direct running backs aren’t such a premium. I think the all running all passing back line will be good for the future and aac will only get better at 13, I think he’s more suited there than at fb just because of his lack of instinctual kicking.

    • Garry

      let’s hope we get some go forward from our piggies this weekend.

  • Gallagher

    Im with you Pedro, bring back the biff in the backrow and all we need in the backline is 6 X fast footed blokes!!

    Rocky Elboa – I’d go with a slightly different set of options. Dont get the hype on Horne, never have, think Beale (defence issues) is not as good a first choice at fullback as Hynes, Hynes is the full package without a doubt, AAC def needs to stick to 13 to build depth and I think barnes should be backup 12…not convinced with Fingers as a Test 12 yet either…
    15 – Hynes/Shepard/Beale
    Wing – Davies/JOC/Mitchell/Turner
    13 – Morty/AAC/Chambers
    12 – Gits/Fingers?
    10 – Quade/Barnes
    9 – Genia/Burges

  • Lee Enfield

    The other issue, Rocky has been acting like a direct running back in all the tests this year. Sometimes it has worked, sometimes the ball has ended up in his hands, instead of the back just outside him, and his lack of speed has shut down any further opportunity.

    Beale has come along in leaps and bounds and if he continues to improve at 15 he will provide Deans with a good headache. Chambers is looking like he could be a solution for the Wallabies at 13, maybe not in time for the RWC. It would be good to see him ready in time for the spring Tour so he can be tried out at international level to see if he can be our 13 at the RWC. Once Ioane comes back, all of a sudden Deans will have some difficult decisions to make regarding the backline, the forward pack will sought itself out when the injured players return.

    As good as JOC will be, I can’t see him being anywhere but on the bench for the RWC. I think the RWC will come one year too early for Chambers, but a good spring tour could change that.

    Ultimately I think Deans will go with a back line will be something like this,

    9. Genia
    10. Cooper
    11. Mitchell
    12. Giteau (Running out of time to blood another 10/12 Combination)
    13. Ashely-Cooper
    14. Ioane
    15. Beale (High ball, tackling development required)

    20. Burgess
    21. Barnes
    22. Hynes/O’Connor

    If Beale continues to develop, which I think he will, he will be our first choice 15. I think AAC will develop nicely at 13 given the game time to become 100% familiar with the position. It will come down JOC and Hynes for the back three bench spot. It is time for Deans to leave the back line untouched as much as possible, so combinations can start to form a familiararity.

    Our current back line is good enough to take us through the RWC, with the exception of Ioane coming in for JOC. I am not a Gits fan, and would prefer Barnes at 12, but really, there isn’t a great deal of difference between the two and there is certainly no better 12 for us at the moment, the only possibility being JOC.

  • RedsHappy

    Gagger – uplifting and insightful, thanks.

    I much agree with you re: Beale detractors’ seeming obsession with highlighting his negatives and mistakes. Something similar was/is not uncommon with Cooper.

    B & C both have enormous talent. What commentators often forget is that what is important is a player’s risk-reward profile, there is no such thing as an exceptional player that is perfect, or without risk areas, especially in the first Test career phase of say c.20 caps. What is crucial is (a) does the capacity for significant reward exceed that for risk, and can that risk be efficiently contained (b) what is the player’s ‘learning rate’ or rate of improvement or rate of reducing typical mistakes (c) can their natural risk areas be coached out to a much lower level so the reward-risk profile strengthens further in the positive.

    IMO, the both exciting and encouraging thing about Beale is that a, b, and c above all can, on the available evidence, be answered affirmatively for him. (And recall how Cooper improved significantly from the start of Reds season 2009 to end of Reds’ season 2010.)

    Another comment: what I find paradoxical about so much Aussie rugby commentary of recent years is that there is little hesitancy around the most intensely negative assessments about players (from their very first games), and why one is alleged to be absolute shit and another the enduring personal favourite, but, generally, coaches here are far more generously treated, as thought they are merely observers (or the unwitting victims of the players’ weaknesses) whom should not be analysed as fiercely as players.

    • Gumby

      Agree completely. Campo was another player in this mould.

    • Garry

      C’mon big JON, who’s assessing the coaches?

      • Garry

        …..and so big JON, who keeping an eye on your performance?

  • bazza macca

    Horan was taller and chunkier than people seem to recall. Apart from one notable tackle miss in his return from injury match against NZ, dont remember seeing a missed tackle in his career.

    Fact is Cooper, Mitchell, JOC, KB are a weak defensive unit compared to all Australian backlines over the last 20 years. This, together with the non-selection of Barnes as a drop goal/penalty kicker, will be our indoing in 2011.

  • Linus

    Great highlights. The best thing about Beale is that quality to seems to always have time. Defense and high ball work aside, that can be taught. If he wants to be good at those he’ll get it.

    But watch the way he reacts to the defenders when in space, in the first highlight at about 0.35. He wants to go to his right to the faster support player which is AAC, as you state, that is closed off by both Fourie who has the pace to stay between KB and AAC and also Steyn at fullback keeping his shoulders towards AAC. By changing his running line, he completely wrong foots Steyn and shows the ball to attempt to freeze Hoogaard. Your statement about Rocky being run down quicker is correct, and the reason it plays out that way is because Hoogaard is not sold the dummy, it’s try time if he is, it was a great defensive play by a half in cover.

    Second highlight was the draw and pass from behind our line, again the timing of the pass to JOC is perfect, he recognises how much space he has to get around the cover and then straightens allowing the clear line for JOC, waiting for Habana to commit before releasing the pass. Even the kick here is the right option. Four defenders are closer then his nearest support, would probably result in a turnover.

    This is a skill that has been sadly lacking. QC is a great option for creating space and delivering a pass, but AAC, JOC, Gits, and Mitchell all wants to take on the defender rather than create space for those around them. The rarity is to be able to do both.

  • Hawko

    One thing that has not been commented on in the defensive section is that there are four (count ‘em) wallabies closer to the action than Beale and none of them were desperate enough to get across in cover. Two of them just jogged! My screen resolution is not good enough to identify, name and shame the culprits. Additionally, JOC was about the same distance from the corner post as Beale, but ends up 15 metres short of the corner. The result was that Beale got only a missed tackle stat and everyone else was given a big tick.

    The four plodders probably weren’t as fast as Beale, but if you look closely you will see that Beale “sees” the problem a couple of seconds faster than anyone else and reacts accordingly. What I love about him is the instinctive vision, the “knowing what’s happening” seconds before others do. No one else got vaguely close, he did and got stepped. Had he made the tackle he would have added a “Gregan” to his resume. One of those times where the stats aren’t worth a pinch of poo.

    • Darkhorse

      fatcat and s.finger were the plodders from what I saw. It shits but u can hardly blame them for not being able to move at that stage. You’ve got 2 of the less fit blokes on the field, having been involved in scrums all day, playing at altitude with 2 mins to go and with a coach who hates the bench.

      It shows poor attitude that they didn’t make more of an attempt, but i find it hard to fault those 2

    • RedsHappy

      Yes Hawko, that ‘vision talent’.

      It’s more than gold in a back, it’s platinum +. Vision and instant, intelligent reaction to it: always the great hallmark of the best Australian backs.

  • Garry

    sounds like a lot of possibilities to be tried in our backs (is that depth I’m hearing) come spring tour. If my Christmas wish doesn’t come true, and Dingo is still around, Robbie please, please, please, use these games more wisely than you did the visiting Nth Hems sides this past year.

    Move the backs around, drop Gits, have the spine to try different combination, please, just do something substantial, tangible, that the team can benefit from. After that, we don’t have much time left.

    Don’t sit around on your hands waiting for stars to return from injuries.

  • Timbo

    I think we should have Beale solely in the WBs for his destructive kicking game:

  • Garry

    I like it. Previously we were saying that KB kicks it too much, now it’s one of his strengths. Perhaps a different facet of the game has changed?

  • suckerforred

    I have never been a Beale fan, but have been in aww of his improvements in attacking ability and big kicks. It is good to see his ability to see read the game is also coming ahead leaps and bounds. In time I think that he will become more like Bernie, but shit man, change your tackling style so that you are not flicked away in 4 out of 5 tackles. (This might be a bit of an exaduration, but you get my drift.)

    I would still say that the defense and high ball issues mean that, IMO, he is only a 50/50 player. Being excellent at one half of the game is not good enough at this level. If someone came out played a blinding first half, and then stuffed the second half, we would all be baying for his blood, and wondering why Dingo didn’t replace him. Only difference is that KB (and QC, JOC and Mitchell) go up and down all game.

    I wonder if the lack of comittment into tackles by some players is as a result of them being ‘comfortable’ in the side and thinking/knowing that they are not going to be dropped if they miss a few here and there. I would also agree with Darkhorse though, last weekend was more likely to be to be a result of players having been on the park for 75 mins at alitude and just being to dammed tired to chase down a bucket of KFC let alone a Sprinbok.

    Having said all of that (yes I am on my soapbax again), I am wondering how you coach a side with Genia, Cooper, Gits and Beale in the back line. Being all playmakers, not that Gits has had a good run lately, I sometimes feel for their support players. Every time Cooper or Beale get the ball they would have to be thinking – WTF is he going to do now?! But this should improve once they have played together for a while.

    Last word (promise) – at this stage I still believe that AAC should be full back and Beale come off the bench. This would maximise his impact and minimise the impact of those faults that seem to be taking a while to work them out of the system.

  • Joe_Mac

    most will likely disagree with me but I would like as a trial to see beale in the second playmaker role (12) on the spring tour. Gagger makes a good point that he can read Quade really well. Maybe thats because they have known, and played with/against eachother since schoolboys (NSW v QLD + Aussie schools).

    If you re-watch the video he makes very good passing decisions in close quarters and has a fantastic burst of pace and step.

    Provided he can get the tackling thing sorted out it would make for a very dangerous attack having those two paired.

    It also means you can have a fast, powerful, great under highball 15 like AAC keeping the playmaking in the middle of the park and the power and pace on the outside to finish it off.

    Then again, he looks pretty awesome at 15 so maybe i will leave that call to the professionals

  • Bones

    When we are in attack in general play against a set flatline defence, I would like to see Pocock play
    like a rugby league dummyhalf, passing either side of the ruck to ball carriers in the forwards, or out to either Cooper or Genia both playing as playmakers, with the other 5 backs being running backs playing of them. This way you dont need a small playmaker likeGits at 12. I don’t think Gits will start for us in WC2011, but instead be bench cover for 9 and 10.

  • Joel D

    What’s the obsession with this dual playmaker backline make up? When was the last time it worked well for a team at international level?

    As for Anthony Faingaa not being a test level. As much as I am a fan I do agree with this, however I feel he is our best option at the moment. He is around the same size as Horan, is a strong defender and a straight runner and it’s probably what we are really missing in the backline.

  • Jay

    @ 1:03 “Through the gate”

    Wow, you really don’t know the laws of rugby do you?

    • cyclopath

      Well Beale went back behind the ruck, in a position to come through the gate, but the penalty was called. I think that was the point Gagger was making.
      What exactly was the problem with the call on the video?

      • Jay

        Firstly, I don’t think you’re supposed to jump OVER the ruck to get to the gate (though as there were no Boks there to be impeded, I wouldn’t imagine it’d be penalised). But mostly that by the time Beale was in a position to come through the gate, there wasn’t a gate to come in by. Why bother to mention the gate if he never actually enters the ruck?

        I’ve noticed his videos tend to make a fair few mistakes in relation to the ruck/tackle area – for instance in that Brisbane test just before halftime when Pocock was penalised, he made a point of noting he came in through the gate. Again, it was completely irrelevant as it was a ruck and he was penalised for playing the ball – it wouldn’t have mattered if he’d come in the gate, tipped the waiter and curtsied to the Queen.

        • Pants

          Jay, give it a rest. You’ve been obsessively hunting for wallaby ruck infringements since everyone made noise about McCaw and the ABs getting away with more than most. Time to let it go and move on..until after the next game.

  • Robson

    I’ve never been impressed with Beale, nor Quade Cooper either. But my mind has been well and truly changed about Cooper and the video on Beale is making inroads into my attitude on him as well. Not 100% convinced just yet, but am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt for a while longer; whereas I would not give him the benefit of anything up until now.

    Thanks for the video analysis. Really good stuff.

    • Garry

      My question is has QC the organisational skills and the vision? He’s certainly pretty to watch.

  • Who?

    Well, I’ve not been convinced on Beale at 15. Given all the hype, I’ve been skeptical. I wasn’t impressed with his try in Christchurch. I thought it showed he didn’t have the pace required. But his support for his try last night in Bloem has changed my mind. He’s not quick enough for the wing, but he’s certainly quick enough for 15.

    On the break he set up from the dead ball line, I think QC needs a bit of credit there, too. QC could’ve kicked that. He didn’t have to shift it – he was under no pressure. But either he saw the gap, or he trusted Kurtley’s call. Hard to tell which it was. Certainly, it was fantastic enterprising play.

    And his defense? Well, everyone saw last night’s falcon. But it impressed me that he was the man who tackled Pietersen immediately afterwards. Great effort.

    For me, the last thing he needs to work on is the high ball. He’s had three pressure high balls on the Veldt. And we’re lucky it was only three. The first hit his shoulder and went to a Bok, the second was pinched by de Villiers (he didn’t get near it!), the third was knocked on… Fix that, and I’ll be swayed.

  • Pants

    I’m obviously out of the loop cause I didn’t know what a “Falcon” was until everyone started using it to describe Beale getting hit on the head with the ball. Just did some light digging and found the origin of the term…

    The term falcon had its origin in rugby league. Mario Fenech played for South Sydney 1981–90, North Sydney 1991–94, and South Queensland 1995. Fenech was nicknamed ‘the Maltese Falcon’ from his Maltese ancestry. Following an occasion when Fenech was hit on the head by the ball during a match in the 1980s, such an unfortunate incident came to be known as a falcon. The Rugby League ‘Footy Show’ began a tradition of giving an annual ‘Falcon Award’ for the best such incident:

    While the term falcon had its origin in rugby league, it has now spread to other ball games, including games such as netball: ‘In the fourth quarter, Cox’s Falcon moment, copping the ball full in the face, did not derail the Swifts and they went on to register their fourth win of the season’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 20 May 2008). It has also spread to any activities involving a ball: ‘It was fun standing with the Shire yobs on beer hill and seeing people get falconed with a beachball’ (2007 Web forum).

    The fact that a rugby league term is now widely used outside rugby league, including in the ‘enemy territory’ of the AFL, indicates that this new sense of falcon is now firmly a part of Australian English.

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Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

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