Fullback (rugby league)

Fullback (or full-back) 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' (No. 1-7).[1] The position's name comes from their duty of standing the furthest back in defence, behind the forwards (8-13), half backs (6 and 7) and the three-quarter backs (2-5).[2] Fullbacks are therefore the last line of defence,[3] having to tackle any opposition players and regather the ball from any kicks that make it through their teammates.[4] It is for this reason that the fullback is also referred to as the sweeper or custodian.[5] Being able to secure high bomb kicks is a highly sought quality in fullbacks.[6]

Billy Slater, Australia, Queensland and Melbourne Storm former fullback

Fullback is also one of the most important positions in attack,[7] handling the ball nearly every set of six and often running into open space on the field.[8] Therefore, together with the two half backs and hooker, fullback is one of the four key positions that make up what is referred to as a team's 'spine'.[9] Because the fullback makes the most support runs, players in the fullback role complete more very high-intensity running than any other position.[10]

The Rugby League International Federation's Laws of the Game state that the 'fullback' is to be numbered 1.[11] However, traditionally players' jersey numbers have varied, and in the modern Super League, each squad's players are assigned individual numbers regardless of position.


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