Devil’s Advocate column 26th May 2012

(A recent column I wrote for The Age was on a similar topic to this one from a couple of years ago. 

The following were some examples of the buzzword terminology of Australian Football talk in 2012.

Many of them are still in use; others have been replaced by updated gibberish.)


Footy Speak – a consumer guide 



LIKE it or don’t, the new era of FootySpeak has arrived.


One may well express a preference for the plain-spoken simplicities of yesteryear, and maintain deep-seated suspicion as to whether current football commentary jargon merely constitutes a few five-cent thoughts cloaked in an avalanche of $50 words, but this is simply fighting a trend.


Evidence of radio and television coverage suggests that the new FootySpeak is here to stay, like stubborn carpet stains. Thus, “Devil’s Advocate” has compiled the following glossary of football’s brave new lingo, incorporating such definitions as can be ascertained via perplexed guesswork.


CRACKING IN – Roughly speaking, means “doing something”.


FAT SIDE – Unkind reference to persons who eat the types of food generally advertised during football telecasts, hence, “on the fat side”


FOOT CANDY – Unpopular treat come Halloween time


FORENSICS – Newly-minted gibberish, apparently meaning “statistics”. Expect this one to catch on.


FRONTAL PRESSURE – What you feel from your belt after eating a big meal.


HAND CANDY – Brian Taylor’s apparent late-breaking attempt to get an entry in Viz Comics’ manual of idiosyncratic UK swear-terms, the Profanisaurus.


IMPACTING – “impacting the contest”, “impacting the clearances”. Roughly means “doing something”. See also “Cracking in”.


INBOARD – Place where the people sit on a boat.


PRESS – Something you do to a suit. Also, mysterious piece of “structuring” which worked in football last year and now apparently doesn’t.


RUN AND SPREAD – The most effective way to spread. Standing still and spreading works nowhere near as well. See “Spread”.


SCOREBOARD PRESSURE – What you feel if scoreboard falls on you


SPOT-UP – Extremely scientific term used to add “wow factor” to familiar action of player kicking it to another one who’s leading. Thus, also, “lead-up”.


SPREAD – (1)  What you have on toast; (2) When players run like lunatics in different directions from teammate with ball, all frantically spotting and leading up.


STRUCTURE – Something only truly astute football commentators can see, in reference to 18 players of a given team running around all over the shop like they’ve just had a wasp nest dropped down their shorts.


STRUCTURES – Term used by the more guru-like modern day commentators, indicating they have attained mystical knowledge of more than one kind of invisible structure, possibly via meditation.


STRUCTURING UP – Truly Yoda-like term of commentary wisdom invoking a completely undetectable, and apparently indefinable, procedure followed to result in more invisible structures.










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