Maybe you didn’t know, but the Australian Football League has a long and prideful history. It is the topmost celebrated sport in Australia and definitely the fan favourite sport in the land down under.
In this article, we are going to talk about some historical and fun facts about the game called footy, but do not worry. It is not going to be one of those boring history class lessons, as this sport is anything but boring! Stay tuned to find out more about this amazing Australian sport.
The most important things to know about Australian Football League:
Australian football origins
It all started out as a mixture of early football and rugby when the renowned cricketer and football captain Tom Willis came up with a winter game of football in 1858. With the help of H.C.A. Harrison, W.J. Hammersley, and J.B. Thompson, this fantastic sport came to life, by forming the Melbourne Football Club in 1858.
The game and the rules changed over time
Footy was first played on rectangular fields, often with trees used as goals and a round ball, as opposed to having more practical and standardised AFL goals, oval fields and oval balls.
The game was first played in Victoria, where it derived its name, thus becoming Victorian Rules, with the introduction of Victorian Football League in 1896. Years that followed brought games between the founding clubs which were: Carlton, South Melbourne, Collingwood, St Kilda, Melbourne, Fitzroy, Geelong, and Essendon.
The game as we know it today
Since more and more clubs continued joining, even outside of Victoria, the game changed its name to Australian Football League or AFL, as it is known today. Now we have 18 teams competing in the national league, meanwhile, some of the teams merged or completely disappeared.
Different rules than American Football
Despite often being compared to the American NFL, AFL is quite different, mainly in its rules. Unlike American football, you cannot simply throw the ball. You can either kick it or “hand-ball” it to your teammate, punching the ball instead of throwing it.
If a player lands a long pass to their teammate by kicking the ball, they earn a mark, i.e. a penalty. This results in a free kick. Players are supposed to kick the ball between two goal posts on the enemy side of the field. If they manage to do it, it is called a goal and they get six points. If the ball passes one inner and one outer post, they only get one point. There are four total posts on each side of the field.
This game is multicultural
Since we learned that even the origins of the game came from different cultures, it is no wonder that players are coming from diverse cultures. Some of the game origins came from Aborigines, which are indigenous Australians, thus the game is quite accepted by all Australian cultures, which is very nice as it celebrates sportsmanship and neglects all cultural differences.
The AFL was often abruptly interrupted
Whether it was the fans’ sense of humour or bad circumstances, televised games of AFL often came to a weird pause. Probably one of the favorite moments for the crowd was when someone let a pig on the field in Sydney and the players had to chase it and remove it from the match.
Another form of pauses come from the so-called “streakers”, or basically crazed fans that came running into the field. Helen D’Amico was probably the most famous one as she ran across the field wearing only a Carlton scarf, to the tremendous cheering of the audience. Many incidents like this followed after she gained popularity.
The Anzac Day games
In the past, games that were supposed to occur on the famous Anzac Day were banned, due to the respect of this country for its fallen heroes. Anyhow, after the grand match in 1995, between Collingwood and Essendon, that has drawn the incredible attention of the fans, they host a yearly match on the 25th of April at the MCG.
We have come to the end of the article we prepared for you; hopefully with you knowing a lot more about the Australian Football League than before you started reading. In case you were already a fan, you probably knew a lot of these facts, but some of them might just slip right past you.