Chad Wingard is regarded as one of the most dangerous half forwards in the game.

Coaching the High Half Forward/Jack

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

By Sam Reid
GWS Giants - Development Coach

Position Description and Roles:

The role of the high half forward/jack is to play as that 4th on ball/midfielder. To outnumber at the throw ins and ball ups, provide an exit option when rebounding out of defence. The Jack must also get back inside 50 and to the drop of the ball to lock it in. The player is the ‘jack of all trades’.

Key relationships to other positions in the team
The jack must be across the setups in the midfield and be able to communicate clearly what (and where) each player needs to be positioned.

Main player responsibilities for the position:

  • Provide outnumber at the stoppage
  • Confuse opposition midfielders
  • Provide an option carrying out of defence
  • Push forward and lock the ball in
  • Run specific routes and/or block
  • Communicate with each line

Expectations/role of the position in relation to specialised situations (specific set plays, inside 50s, stoppages etc):

  • Create (run) havoc at the stoppages. Set play forward hits, third man up. Block and bolt forward
  • Start at the back of the square

Player characteristics required to play the position successfully:

  • Good endurance
  • Live wire
  • Read the play well
  • Good ball user and decision maker
  • Speed
  • Front and square player

Coaching the Position
Key points to get across to players:

  • You are the forward and you must be able to get back inside our forward 50 and to the drop of the ball to help the other forwards
  • Be unpredictable, change what you do
  • Communication to all lines on the field

Specific to training:

  • What players the Jack might get, whether the Jack drops off, or comes up with the opponent
  • Know the setups

Key hints to becoming a better player in the position:

  • Be unpredictable
  • Develop skill work and decision making
  • Improve work rate

Specific drills to develop players’ competencies for the position:

Front and Square

The ball is kicked from a stoppage (or by a coach) to a forward vs back contest. The high half forward moves up the field and gets back into a position front and square to the contest to play the role.

Teaching Points:

  1. Don’t go past the ball
  2. Don’t all go the same side – have spread so we can defend
  3. Talls bring ball to the ground
  4. Smalls cross paths
  5. Kick the goal
  6. Backs run it out


Extension: 2 vs 2 Talls and 2 vs 2 Smalls

Sam Reid is a Development Coach of the GWS Giants. This article was written as part of the requirements for the AFL/AFLPA Level 2 coaching course.


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