By: Matthias Baudinet
This summer I had the opportunity to play Australian Football. This is a sport that I have played in the past, but have not played for a really long time. Known as Australian Rules Football, Australian Football, Aussie Rules, football, or footy, this is the main code of “football” in Australia. Just as American Football is the dominant form of “football” in the States, Australian Football is that in Australia.
This is a wonderful sport that requires endurance, strength, intelligence, and kicking. I consider myself being an open minded person, and so I always try everything once. When it comes to sports, being open minded is something that I value because one can learn an awful lot about a certain culture when watching and playing that culture’s favorite sports. Australian Football is certainly an entertaining sport that does not get a lot of attention in many places around the world, and I think that opposite should be true.
The sport is played between two teams of eighteen players on an Australian Football field or a modified cricket field. The field is in an oval shape, and the goals are two tall posts at opposite ends of the oval. The main way to score in the game is to kick the ball between the two tall center posts. Kicking a goal is worth 6 points. There are also two other posts on each side of the two main center goal posts. If a player kicks the ball between the two outside shorter posts, then that team is awarded one point (this is not referred to as a goal, but a behind).
Here is what an Australian Football field looks like:
Players are allowed to position themselves anywhere on the field no matter if they belong to the defense, midfield, or offense. Players are also allowed to run with the ball in their hands, or they can kick the ball on the ground. Since the ball resembles that of an American football, running with the ball is usually how the players carry the ball up the field. When running however, the player must bounce the ball every 15 paces. Throwing the ball to your teammates is not allowed. Instead, players handball to their teammates. Meaning that they must punch the ball almost like a volleyball.
Also, a player must not be caught holding the ball if they are being tackled. After being tackled, the player must either handball the ball to an open teammate or release the ball. Not releasing the ball will result in a foul. When a player catches a ball that was kicked, the player who caught the ball is awarded a free kick. This is called a mark. This allows them to have a few seconds to pick out an open teammate to kick to, or to decide to run down the field if they choose.
Physical contact is one of the sport’s main attraction. Tackles are allowed, but bumps is a distinctive feature to Australian Football. A bump, or a “hip and shoulder” is when a player hits the other player by jumping into the air and hitting an opponent with their hips and shoulder. Watch the video below for examples:
This is what contesting for a mark looks like:
The sport was invented in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in the 19th century. Origins of the game go back to the early 1800s, but the official rules of the game were created and published in 1858. The most prestigious Australian Football competition is the AFL (Australian Football League). The AFL Grand Final, which is the equivalent of the American NFL Super Bowl, is the highest attended sport champioship event in the world.
I highly recommend watching videos on youtube about the sport, or trying to play it yourself if you are interested. Check online to find local AFL clubs near you!
Here is another video for you guys: