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.
Australian Rules Football (also “Aussie Rules” or “footy”) is a physical contact sport. It is a form of football with roots traceable from early forms of Rugby and Gaelic football, but it is uniquely Australian. Australian Rules Football is played between two teams with an oval shaped ball. 18 players from each team are allowed on the ground at any one time. Each team also has four interchange players. A match is made up of four quarters. Each quarter is made up of 20 minutes of actual playing time. Its rules were codified in 1858, and probably predate all other modern forms of football, such as American, Canadian, Rugby Union and League, Association (Soccer) and Gaelic football.
Australian Rules is designed to reward attacking style play, rather than defending ones own goal. This leads to high scoring matches, especially since a goal is worth 6 points.
Today it is a multi-million dollar business, with a National Competition and numerous smaller leagues. Interest in the game is generally at an all time high within Australia, yet despite this, some parts of Australia are still lukewarm in support of their team in the AFL, and the game has yet to take a firm hold overseas.
Australia is divided into 6 states and 2 territories. Aussie Rules is the main code of football in Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and has a strong following in the Australian Capital Territory. Although played in the States of Queensland and New South Wales, it runs second string to Rubgy League in terms of popularity in those states. The AFL provides financial or practical assistance to leagues in Britain, Canada, Denmark, Japan and New Zealand.
This is a fantastic sport for the millions of passionate fans; you’ll most likely either love it, or become confused and angered by it.