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Fullback

From Academic Kids

Most football games include a position called fullback or full back.

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Association football (soccer)

In association football (soccer), in the traditional 2-3-5 team formation, the two players in the final row of defence before the goalkeeper were referred to as full backs. They were distinguished from the half backs (the "3" in 2-3-5). This formation is little used in the modern game, having been replaced largely by the four-man defence, but the term "full back" lives on — the full backs now occupy the wide positions in the defensive line, with the old centre half [back] doubled-up to fill the central defensive position. The role of the full back often involves an attacking element: to some extent the full backs have replaced the winger and are expected to get forward to deliver crosses from a wide position.

In recent years there has been a vogue for three central defenders, with the full backs becoming wingbacks and having even more responsibility for wide attacking play.

The traditional English full back was a large, strong man who would make substantial use of "hacking" - deliberately kicking the shins of opponents, a practice that was acceptable as legal in Britain but not in other countries, and caused major controversy as the game became increasingly internationalised from the 1950s on. It is now effectively banned everywhere, and it is this in part that has given rise to a different set of defensive roles.

In contrast, today's full backs are almost exclusively nimble and pacy, able to tackle strongly and with good stamina in order to switch rapidly between attack and defence.

See also: football (soccer) positions

Rugby (union and league)

In rugby, both union and league codes, teams usually play with a single full back. In addition to being the last line of defence against running attacks by the opposing three-quarter backs, the full back is frequently the specialist goal-kicker in a team, taking the majority of penalty and conversion kicks.

See also: Rugby union positions Rugby League positions

American football

In American football, a fullback is the name of a position in the offensive backfield. Traditionally, the duties of a fullback are split being power running and blocking for both the quarterback and other running backs.

Many of the great runners of the history of American football have been fullbacks, notably Jim Brown, but in recent years the position has evolved to be more a blocker than a runner, with occasional pass-catching duties. The remaining prominent fullbacks in the NFL are typically employed for breaking through tight defensive alignments, often in short-yardage situations. As a result, fullbacks are typically less known for speed and agility than for muscularity and the ability to avoid being tackled by knocking down defenders.

American football full backs as of 2004

Australian rules football

In Australian rules football, the fullback position has traditionally been a purely defensive role, with the aim of preventing the full-forward from marking the ball and scoring. However, in recent times, where the ability to move the ball out of defense and down the field quickly has become a more important tactic, the fullback often starts a chain of passes up the ground. The defensive aspect of the position remains important, with the ability to accelerate and change direction quickly. Spoiling the ball is also of utmost importance. The fullback often kicks the ball back into play after a point has been scored, although some teams prefer a midfielder for this role, freeing the (typically taller) fullback player to attempt to mark the kick in.


SU-32 "Fullback" is also the NATO reporting name for the Russian fighter aircraft Sukhoi Su-32.

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