Aussie Rules is Australia’s own version of football. It is unlike any game you might have seen before. It is fast and exciting. It is a full-body contact sport with tackles and bumps and more.
The game itself began in Melbourne in the 1850s and has evolved into the game you see today. Haven’t seen Aussie rules? Head onto YouTube and search for the AFL channel, you can find heaps of content there about the game as well as game highlights.
The AFL (Australian Football League) is the national league of Aussie Rules footy.
Number of players
Aussie Rules is played on a cricket oval (it is said the game was originally played to keep cricketers fit during winter) and has 18 players on the field – six forwards, six midfielders, six defenders. There are also four players on the bench (substitutions), however, one is considered a medical sub that must replace a player who is injured. The other three players usually rotate through the whole team to rest players during the game (but there are limits on the number of rotations per game).
Moving the ball
Players can move the ball by kicking, handballing, or by running with the ball. There are rules around each of these. When you kick the ball and another player (on either team) catches it, it is a Mark. That player then gets a ‘free kick’.
One aspect of the game that people love is the Marking as a player may jump on an opponent’s back to get the ball.
There are two scores a team can get: a Goal worth 6 points and a Behind worth 1 point.
At each end of the field, there are four posts. Two taller goalposts in the middle and two smaller behind posts, one on either side. If a player kicks the ball between the middle goal posts the team gets a ‘goal’ which is worth 6 points.
When a player kicks the ball between one of the behind posts and goals posts the team gets a ‘behind’ which is worth 1 point. If an opposition team, touches the ball before it goes through the goalpost or sends the ball through either post or the ball hits the goalpost, these are also a ‘behind’ and receive one point.
A score is all the goals (x 6 points) plus all the behinds. The team with the highest score wins the game!
So, if a team scores 15 goals and 12 behinds for a game they have a total score of 102.
If the other team scores 13 goals and 25 behinds they get 103 points and would win the game even though they kicked less goals.
Tackling and bumps
Another exciting feature of the game is bumps and tackles. Although in recent years (and rightly so as science backs it up) the game has sort to protect the player more from serious head injuries, you will still see some hard-hitting bumps and tackles and even the occasional all-in-fight.
It’s not rugby
Finally, I should say, it’s not rugby and really is nothing like it.
Here is a good video to check out if you want to learn more: