Hooker (rugby league)

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Hooker is one of the positions in a rugby league football team. Usually wearing jersey or shirt number 9, the hooker is one of the team's forwards. During scrums the hooker plays in the front row, and the position's name comes from their role of 'hooking' or 'raking' the ball back with the foot. [1] For this reason the hooker is sometimes referred to in Australia as the rake. [2]

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Hookers such as Anthony Mitchell usually perform the role of "dummy half", picking the ball up to start play following a play-the-ball. ANTHONY MITCHELL.jpg
Hookers such as Anthony Mitchell usually perform the role of "dummy half", picking the ball up to start play following a play-the-ball.

Hookers have a great deal of contact with the ball, as they usually play the role of acting halfback or dummy half , picking the ball up from the play-the-ball that follows a tackle. [3] Hookers therefore have much responsibility in that they then decide what to do with the ball, [4] whether that be to pass it (and to whom), run with it, or occasionally to kick it. Therefore, together with the two halves and fullback, hooker is one of the four key positions that make up what is sometimes called a team's 'spine'. [5] A trend of halves converting into hookers followed the introduction of the 10 metre rule, [6] and many players have switched between these positions in their careers such as Geoff Toovey, Andrew Johns, Craig Gower and Peter Wallace.

The laws of rugby league state that the hooker is to be numbered 9. [7] However, in some leagues, such as Super League, players can wear shirt numbers which do not have to conform to this system.

One book published in 1996 stated that in senior rugby league, the hooker and stand-off/five-eighth handled the ball more often than any other position. [8] In the 2013 NRL season the top six players with the most tackles were all hookers. [9]

Notable hookers

Hookers that feature in their nations' rugby league halls of fame are New Zealand's Jock Butterfield and Australia's Ken Kearney, Sandy Pearce, Cameron Smith and Noel Kelly. The most-capped British international hooker was Wales' Tommy Harris. [10]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Scrum (rugby union)

In rugby union a scrum is a means of restarting play after a minor infringement. It involves up to eight players from each team, known as the pack or forward pack, binding together in three rows and interlocking with the free opposing teams forwards. At this point the ball is fed into the gap between the two forward packs and they both compete for the ball to win possession. Teams can be penalised for intentionally causing the scrum to collapse, and for not putting the ball into the scrum correctly. A scrum is most commonly awarded when the ball is knocked forward, or passed forward, or when a ball becomes trapped in a ruck or maul. Because of the physical nature of scrums, injuries can occur, especially in the front row.

Fullback (rugby league)

Fullback is one of the positions in a rugby league football team. Typically wearing jersey number 1, the fullback is a member of the team's 'back-line'. The position's name comes from their duty of standing the furthest back in defence, behind the forwards (8-13), half backs and the three-quarter backs (2-5). Fullbacks are therefore the last line of defence, having to tackle any opposition players and regather the ball from any kicks that make it through their teammates. It is for this reason that the fullback is also referred to as the sweeper or custodian. Being able to secure high bomb kicks is a highly sought quality in fullbacks.

Ryan Hinchcliffe Australian rugby league footballer and coach

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Matt McIlwrick New Zealand rugby league footballer

Matt McIlwrick is a New Zealand former professional rugby league footballer who played as a hooker and lock.

Adam Clydsdale Australian rugby league footballer

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References

  1. news.bbc.co.uk. "When is a scrum formed?". Rugby League: Laws & Equipment. BBC Sport. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  2. Garry, Chris (17 July 2013). "State of Origin to decide the game's best hooker". The Courier-Mail . Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  3. Hadfield, Dave (22 January 1994). "Russell is hooked by hooking". The Independent . Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  4. news.bbc.co.uk. "Positions guide: Hooker". Rugby league: Laws & Equipment. BBC Sport. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  5. Read, Brent (11 February 2012). "Coach Tim Sheens yet to crack Wests Tigers' backbone". The Australian . Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  6. Reilly, Thomas (1997). Science and Football III. Wales: Taylor & Francis. p. 13. ISBN   9780419221609 . Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  7. The International Laws of the Game and Notes of the Laws (PDF). RLIF. 2007. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-11-14. Retrieved 2012-07-28.
  8. Tim Rogers and Richard Beesley (2006). Fitness for Rugby League (PDF). Australia: coachrugbyleague.com.au. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-21. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
  9. "NRL 2013 Player Stats". The Sydney Morning Herald . 14 September 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  10. "Wales rugby league legend dies". News Wales. 3 October 2006. Retrieved 5 November 2012.