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Selwood's loophole

Date

Michael Gleeson

Collingwood's Cameron Wood grabs Joel Selwood in a high tackle.

Collingwood's Cameron Wood grabs Joel Selwood in a high tackle. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

JOEL Selwood admits his uncanny ability to draw head-high free kicks is a legitimate evasive technique and he is merely exploiting an advantage he has over less experienced or weaker opponents.

The new Geelong captain acknowledges the criticism of his technique but makes no apology and says what he does is within the rules. He drew 60 free kicks last season, the second most in the competition, and six in round one.

Former Hawthorn star Dermott Brereton has been among the most strident critics of Selwood's technique to lift his arm and drop at the knees to force a tackler's hand to slide up and around his neck and so draw a free kick. Selwood hears the criticism but is unswayed by it, observing that it is the umpire who awards the free kick, not him, and that it is only paid because the player has caught him high.

''Continually they will come up those comments,'' Selwood said in an interview with The Age ahead of today's blockbuster against fellow premiership contender Hawthorn.

''I see the benefit and an advantage I am getting at the moment on someone else because I see a weakness in what they are doing. The majority of the time they are doing 95 per cent of the tackle right. It is just that 5 per cent where I can use my upper body strength, I can dip at the knees slightly. But it gets highlighted so much when I do get a free kick because it is high and it has always been a part of our game not to get someone high.

''At the end of the day I have got the free kick. Most players do it correctly until I can draw a free kick off them. We see blokes who are very good at drawing a free kick in other ways; Paul Chapman is good at getting pushed in the back. Ashton Hams [West Coast] is similar to me; he can draw free kicks from getting him high.

''There is a little bit of an art to it. You can talk about the whole thing that I duck but I do it to the rules at the moment and I will continue to do it until they get changed.

''When I look at an opponent and if I feel I'm stronger than him, then I want him to come on to me and make the first step into me. He can make the first move, but I'll make the second move.

''On the other hand if I am against a Chris Judd or someone who is probably stronger than me - [such as] Jobe Watson - I want to make sure that I make the first move so I have to make them get on the back foot a little bit and then try and wriggle out of there.

''You just have to work to your strengths and I draw on that, if I am on someone not as strong or experienced.''

45 comments

  • its exactly the same as ducking your head, no free should be paid. and to milk it is playing outside the spirit of the game. just like kevin bartlett and matthew lloyd's reputations are tarnished by their arm waving for frees, so selwood will never be one of the game's greats. does not come close to an Ablett or a Bartel.

    Commenter
    chugga
    Location
    kew
    Date and time
    April 09, 2012, 8:07AM
    • Oh the irony. For years foody-heads have ridiculed Soccer players as being diving, whinging sooks. Now between Matt Lloyds antics and these questionable tactics, I think we can see that the AFL has turned a once great game into a soft spectacle, barely worthy of the heritage of the game. Shame.

      Commenter
      Kasey
      Location
      rAdelaide
      Date and time
      April 09, 2012, 8:22AM
      • Selwood puts his BODY ON THE LINE. He draws free kicks, but mate he doesn't fake 'em!!! If you can't put an effective tackle on the bloke, who's at fault? I'm sure he's not impossible to do tackle so who is to blame? You tell me that!?!?!?

        Commenter
        The Big Logic
        Date and time
        April 09, 2012, 3:01PM
    • Selwood = Mallard

      Commenter
      Ted
      Date and time
      April 09, 2012, 8:33AM
      • Every cheat I've ever met has claimed that his/her 'technique' was legitimate. And they made this sook their captain? Rewarding bad behaviour.

        Commenter
        Bum McFluff
        Location
        Not Geelong
        Date and time
        April 09, 2012, 8:51AM
        • If you want to get really pedantic about the rules then I submit that Buddy should be called to play on EVERY-SINGLE-TIME he lines up for a set shot at goal. Arguing that he has a 'natural arc' , or that this has been dealt with & allowed ( how can it be, it's simply illegal), is absurd & obtuse. He was not taught properly as a youngster & now has an unacceptable set shot routine/style. Selwood on the other hand executes a set play within the rules - two completely different things. A player tossing the ball in the air, punching it & claiming it's his natural handball style would not be accepted under any circumstances. Buddy's illegal kicking action is accepted because he's a crowd pleaser, pure & simple. He is by definition a protected species, he has diplomatic immunity. There's something rotten in Denmark & it ain't Selwood!

          Commenter
          The Swede
          Date and time
          April 09, 2012, 9:02AM
          • True? How can that be?

            Commenter
            Really?
            Location
            vic
            Date and time
            April 09, 2012, 10:06AM
          • Buddy's natural arc is very similar to the arc of just about every other football code in the world. It is only in the AFL, that players are expected to stay in a straight line when having a set shot (e.g. Soccer, Rugby use an arc). I have no problem with Selwood using his arms, but the second he drops his knees he is playing for a free kick. When Buddy is having a set shot, he is not playing for a free kick.

            Commenter
            Czar
            Date and time
            April 09, 2012, 11:52AM
          • Don't try to compare this to Buddy's arc kicking off the mark. It's his natural kicking action for goodness sake, he is not trying to milk a free kick. EVERYBODY knows the arc in which he will run in to kick for goal and when he deviates from that, it's play on. No advantage there, just allowing for his natural arc. I suppose you think it's "natural" to have a deliberate strategy to get the ump to blow the whistle and get yourself a free kick. Get real.

            Commenter
            Mike
            Date and time
            April 09, 2012, 12:28PM
          • I agree Swede! and put in the Hayden Ballantyne acting for free kicks as well in that category. Last year Trent West was given 50 against because when Buddy ran out on his arc it meant TW was THEN within the 5 metres - at first the ump called play on and THEN awarded the 50 metres. biased umpiring at its most blatant as The Swede says. todays game Buddy played for more free kicks and got most of them. yet people cry over the 2 out of 10 free kicks Joel gets because of his action??? Joel should not have even commented on this stupidity and ignorant bias raised against him.

            Commenter
            sMusic
            Location
            Mandurah
            Date and time
            April 09, 2012, 8:26PM

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