Irish footballer's 'kick-to-kick' causes rules confusion in Aussie Rules

An Irish footballer had Aussie Rules officials reaching for the rulebook this weekend after producing a piece of Gaelic skill, writes Stephen Barry.

Essendon's Conor McKenna seemed to forget he had moved across the world when he soloed the ball, catching his Richmond opponent by surprise and allowing McKenna through to score a behind.

The Tyrone footballer's 'kick-to-kick', as the AFL website termed it, was said to have raised eyebrows over its legality in the game.

Aussie Rules players aren't allowed carry the ball more than 15 metres without playing it (it's four steps in Gaelic football) and, unlike in Gaelic, a solo does not count as playing the ball as it must touch the ground.

McKenna, who signed a new four-year contract with Essendon in December, was not penalised for overcarrying the ball.

League rules state: "The player must bounce or touch the football on the ground at least once every 15 metres, irrespective of whether such player is running in a straight line or otherwise.

"For the purposes of this law, a player shall be deemed to be in possession of the football during the period when the player handballs the football to themselves and regains possession without the football touching the ground."

This applies to McKenna's solo, the AFL confirmed.

However, should the kick have exceeed a distance of 15 metres, it would have be long enough to count as a mark for the player in possession.

Meanwhile, Cora Staunton was also exporting Gaelic football skills this weekend with her 'set shot snap', or sidefooted free, in the Great Western Sydney Giants's draw with Collingwood.

By Stephen Barry

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