Aussie Rules! No that’s not a statement, although Aussie does rule, Aussie Rules is the common name for the Australian Football League or AFL. The Australian Football season (winter) brings both a crazed sporting atmosphere as well as showing the pride Australians have in their national sport. So what makes The AFL different to football or rugby?
Aussie Rules often gets confused with rugby and although rugby is played in Australia and is a very popular sport it’s in a different league with regard to popularity among fans. AFL has the highest attendance of all sports events in Australia. There are only three sports on the planet which have a higher average attendance than Aussie Rules Football! The Grand Final is the highest attended club championship in the world! (crazy I know, I’d never even heard of it before I came to Australia!).
The Australian Football season takes place during winter and lasts from March until September so if you’re in Australia during these months you will be aware of it!
2018 AFL Season – what’s the deal?
The majority of games throughout the AFL season take place in Melbourne – the birthplace of AFL, there are two main stadiums in Melbourne – Etihad Stadium and the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). There are a number of selected games throughout the season that take place in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and a few other locations around the country, but Melbourne is definitely its home.
General Admission tickets are normally around $25 Adults & $17 Concession. You can usually purchase the tickets on the day at the stadium or online at www.afl.com.au. Tickets to the finals however can be very pricey and tend to book out as soon as the season kicks off!
Aussie Rules – The Rules!
Australian Football is played between 2 teams of 18 players, now I could try and explain the rules but it might be better for me to just quote Wikipedia on this one!
The game’s objective is to move the ball downfield and kick the ball through the team’s goal. The main way to score points is by kicking the ball between the two tall goal posts. The team with the higher total score at the end of the match wins unless either a draw is declared or a tie-break is used.
During general play, players may position themselves anywhere on the field and use any part of their bodies to move the ball. The primary methods are kicking, handballing and running with the ball. There are rules on how the ball can be handled: for example, players running with the ball must intermittently bounce or touch it on the ground. Throwing the ball is not allowed and players must not get caught holding the ball. Possession of the ball is in dispute at all times except when a free kick or mark is paid. A distinctive feature of the game is the mark, where players anywhere on the field who catch a ball from a kick (with specific conditions) are awarded possession.
Australian Football is a contact sport, in which players can tackle using their hands or use their whole body to obstruct opponents. Dangerous physical contact (such as pushing an opponent in the back), interference when marking and deliberately slowing the play are discouraged with free kicks, distance penalties or suspension for a certain number of matches, depending on the seriousness of the infringement. Frequent physical contests, spectacular marking, fast movement of both players and the ball and high scoring are the game’s main attributes.
Possibly the most confusing thing to the first time spectator is that the field is an oval shape, and this game is not a “game of two halves”, instead it’s played in 4 quarters all of which last 20 minutes each.
It seems that no-one really knows how it all began but it’s been going for over a century already. The Victorian Football League (VFL) emerged in 1859, when a few of the wealthier clubs decided to start their own league. The VFL consists of 18 teams, most of the teams are still based in Australia although the league has teams in five Australian states.
So what makes Aussie Rules so popular? For the fans, it is probably the fever which is present all around these games. You should see all the supporters proudly wearing their team colours, and it definitely makes you feel this crazy footy atmosphere. It’s so much fun to watch a game with burgers, hot dogs and a beer! Maybe that’s the main reason why it’s been an Australian obsession for over 100 years.
It is probably not the football game you know, but it is a football game you will definitely enjoy watching with your best mates! Don’t wait, jump into this bustling footy crazy atmosphere and buy your first ticket!