June 18, 2003


In Australian rules football, a ball kicked so that it spears lengthwise spinning through the air is known as a torpedo punt. A poor kick of any type is usually deemed a mongrel punt.

On Friday night, a commentator on Melbourne’s Triple M football team applied Australian abbreviation regulations to describe a failed torpedo attempt during the North Melbourne - Essendon game as a “torpey mung”.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 18, 2003 03:15 AM | TrackBack

Now is as good a time to decide on the blogosphere-approved metaphorical use for this new phrase. I recommend that a "torpey mung" be an attempted gotcha that falls flat; e.g., Slate's Bushism of the Day most days.

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek at June 18, 2003 05:16 AM

I don't get it.

Posted by: Geoff Matthews at June 18, 2003 08:40 AM

It probably wasn't broadcast outside of WA and QLD on Sunday but for the benefit of the deprived AFL admirers from other states David Wirrpunda let go with a +65m torpedoe from a kick out. It may have looked longer than I am used to because I normally watch footy at Subiaco, but to see all the players in the defensive zone watch the ball sail over their heads and land in the vincinity of the centre cirlce was magnificent.

Note to coaches: Need more depth on the kick out defences against West Coast.

Posted by: Razor at June 18, 2003 11:44 AM

So, wait... spinning lengthwise... like a field goal in US Football? Or am I missing something here?

It's been years since I've been able to see an Aussie Rules game (ESPN stopped carrying them 10 years ago, what is now Fox SportsNet stopped carrying them {at 3am!} maybe seven years ago), and I don't know that I EVER saw anything like what you've described...

Posted by: Eric at June 18, 2003 12:23 PM

That was little Jimmy Brayhaw who keeps trying to out in-slang the rest of the team. Very annoying.

Posted by: Tony.T at June 18, 2003 03:58 PM

The man is a bit of a prat. (Brayhaw, that is)

Most Torpies are torpy mungs of course. Wirrpunda was exceptional kicking out on Sunday.

Who's that guy that can do them on the run?

Posted by: Scott Wickstein at June 19, 2003 01:53 AM

No, seriously... can someone describe a torpy for a confused Yank? I mean, better than "spinning lengthwise?"

Eric confused.

Posted by: Eric at June 19, 2003 02:17 PM


The footy is oval shaped. If you kick it so that it spins on its long axis like a spinning top instead of allowing it to tumble or rotate end on end this is a torpedoe punt. I think the torpedoe term comes from the fact that it looks like one because it is stable as it flies through the air.

The beauty of the torpedoe punt is that if correctly kicked you can achieve greater distances than the standard drop-punt. This is probably due to the aerodynamics. If it is kicked so that the leading end of the ball is slightly elevated I assume that there is some lift genrated to help it fly farther.

I'm not sue but I think some Punters in Grid-Iron (as us Aussies call your footy) try to kick torpedoes.

The downfall of the torpedoe is its lack of accuracy when miss-kicked. Hence the drop punt is favoured by coaches. It is wonderful to see Wirrpunda regularly kicking over 50m this season. Especially when Gardiner marks it, passes to Judd who breaks through the lines and then hits Matera (Phil) lace out, who then goals . . .

Sorry, got a little off track there. Carn Eagles!!

Posted by: Razor at June 19, 2003 03:44 PM

Thank you, Razor... that DOES clarify things quite a bit. Yes, we up here DO kick the ball that way, but not intentionally. Too hard to do for most kickers, as these days they all kick "soccer-style" from a tee (or a hold).

Punters might occasionally hit one that way, but its usually an accident. Distance is only one part of a punter's game; hang time and location are as important.

In fact, the only "torpedoes" you'll see INTENTIONALLY on a gridiron come from the arm of the quarterback.

Go Bears!

Posted by: Eric at June 20, 2003 03:31 PM

Sorry Tim.Wrong again.Just shows how many people don't read your blog.A ball that spears lengthways through the air would be a drop punt.
A torpedo kick actually spins sideways,yet still goes straight.

Posted by: humphrey at June 24, 2003 08:05 PM