An Introduction to Aussie Rules

Earlier this summer we wrote a post about sports that inspire travel.  Another great idea would be sports that are unique to certain countries.  This guest post beat me to my own idea and since we didn't know that first thing about Aussie Rules Football, we thought it would be great to start a guest post series about sports.

An Introduction to Aussie Rules

Does your country have a sport that is unique to the nation?  Are you wild about a certain sport that other countries may not know much about.  Canadians love hockey, but Americans love Baseball.  What about Rugby, Football, Lacrosse or Cricket.  If you have any ideas send them in to us.

Australia is famous for many things.

Kangaroo’s, BBQ’s, the culture, the people, the Opera House… but not the sport.


The Famous Sydney Opera House

Photo by Linh_rom

The general perception of sport in Australia consists mainly of cricket, both of the rugby codes and the occasional football team. With it’s chilled out, laid back stereotype, it seems like a country that approaches sport with a ‘take it or leave it’ kind of attitude.

But Aussie Rules is Different

As the name suggests, it’s Australian Rules football. And I use the term football very loosely; as it’s often described as a compound of football, rugby, basketball and vests. If you find yourself taking advantage of some of the cheap flights to Australia, then we would definitely recommend checking out a game of Aussie Rules; read on to find out more about this game.


Photo by Michael Spencer

Created in 1858 by the founder of Australian Football, Tom Wills, who came back to Oz from England where he’d been teaching cricket and football at Rugby School.

The first recorded game was between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar School in the winter of 1858. The game was an instant hit, and now the Australian Football League includes 16 clubs from all over Australia.

Many of the 16 teams are the foundation teams that were the first to sign up to the then Victorian Football League in 1896, such as Carlton, Collingwood and Fitzroy.


Photo by Torbreck

How the Game Works

The game consists of two teams of 18 players, both with 4 substitutes. The aim of the game is to kick the ball between any of the four rugby-type posts, with the highest points being awarded to the ones that go through the middle two.

Players must not throw the ball, and the must bounce the ball every few steps if they run with it. With it being played with a ball similar to a rugby ball, this is not an easy feat.

Renowned for its high contact rate, technicality and fierce tackling, it’s one of the major participation sports in Australia. There is high competition between the teams, as most of them have a very rich history of playing each other at the sport.

Australian Football League

The only official governing body for the sport is the Australian Football League, which is the equivalent to the FA in English football, and moderates the rules and regulations and disciplinary procedures for the game.

Aussie Rules is still growing at an exponential rate outside of Australia, and it is participated in at amateur level in several countries, although the AFL is still the only professional organization.

It’s also popular as a training exercise for both football and rugby teams, as it helps provide kicking accuracy and control of the ball. As well as helping improve special awareness.  Even the renowned English Oxbridge institution has taken to playing the game.

It’s a definite must for anyone who wants to travel to Australia or wants to delve into the sporting aspect of Oz.

Written by Adam Reaney

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