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Australian Football Seems Awesome!

Submitted by Joel on Fri, 09/20/2019 - 08:14

I'm not much of a sports fan, to be honest, but I do like watching from time to time. I don't really follow a lot of games, but I do pay attention to how the Cubs, Bears, and Iowa State Cyclones are doing. If you really pressed me, though, I could probably only tell you a half dozen players among all three teams. 

Sports Isn't My Thing

But I still like to turn on a random game from time to time. Of all the sports, I'd have to say football is my favorite to watch. That's American football, not European football, which is American soccer (and in Australia, too!) I do have a couple issues with the game, but for the most part, it's enjoyable to watch. One issue I have is the rules are incredibly complicated, for instance. It's really hard to get someone into the game when they don't know anything about it because many of the rules are bewildering, like false starts vs offsides and then being in motion mixed with illegal formations. 

I Like Learning New Stuff

One thing that I love about traveling is learning new things about the places we visit. For instance, we had never heard of Eurovision (which we love) before going to Europe. And now, here's a sport that's loved in Australia, and I had never heard of it, either! Australian Football or 'footy' is a game similar to rugby (kinda) mixed with soccer (kinda) and adding some American football (kinda). It's been around since the mid 1800s and it's really fun to watch! How have I not heard of this sport?!

There's a lot of very familiar things about Australia, but many things very distinct, too, and footy is pretty darn distinct. Now, I've seen about five minutes of the game on television and another ten minutes in the park. I've talked with one person about the game and I'm intrigued, so hopefully I'll get to watch a full game soon. Until then, I'm going to describe as best I can what this game is about and hopefully you'll be intrigued as well and try to watch a game when you can!

What Is Footy All About?

First off, the field is a giant oval with goal posts on either end. Players fight over a rugby-style ball and try to get it through the posts. There are four posts and if you get it through the center two, you get 6 points. If you get it through the outside areas, you get 1 point. I believe you have to kick the ball to score. 

The game starts with a tip-off similar to basketball, but instead of throwing it up in the air, the referee throws the football-like ball really hard at the ground to bounce really high as the players try to tip it to their side. Then players fight over the ball and make ground in one of three ways: run with it (but you have to dribble the ball every so often by bouncing the oblong ball), pass it by hand-bumping similar to a volleyball serve, or kick the ball. If you catch a kicked ball, you 'mark the ball', which means the opposing team can't come closer to you than that spot where you caught the ball. The receiver then backs off and tries to kick the ball to a teammate, allowing them to mark the ball and push down the field.

It reminds me a lot of a game we played as children (and adults) called 500, where if you catch a thrown object (ball or frisbee), you get 100 points, but lose 100 if you drop it. First to 500 wins. This is like Ultimate 500 with kicking to score goals. 

I Need To Learn More!

Now, I still have a lot of questions, like... is there any type of interference, or is it just do whatever to get the ball? Can you trip other players? I didn't see any tripping, so it must not be allowed. Are there illegal tackles? For the most part, it seemed like a super fast-paced, full-contact soccer and boy was it exciting! I'm looking forward to my first full game of it and I'll report back. Sure, I could just look up the rules, but what fun would that be?! 

Have you heard of Australian football? Have you seen it played? Have you PLAYED it? If so, tell me all about it! I'd love to learn more! When I learn more, I'll let you know!