In this week’s thrilling installment, we go to the underside of the planet to learn about Australian Rules Football … or “Life isn’t dangerous enough here, let us create our own sport that contains high exertion, possible mayhem and most likely some harm!”

By BP (w/assist by Raven Nation)

Aussie Rules! Football down under.

Those of us USA Gen Xers who grew up when ESPN first came on the air in the early 1980’s were greeted by a new sport: Australian Rules Football. (We can assume Ozzies and Kiwis were already well familiar) Desperate to have something to fill airtime, ESPN made a deal with the AFL, (and possibly Kerry Packer) to put Ozzie footy on US TV. While it has some superficial similarities to rugby, it’s a quite different sport.

The basic rules are to carry the ball down the pitch (either bouncing it every ten meters while running, or passing it by kicking or ‘hand punch’ until a player of the same team gets near to the 4 goalposts.  An opposing player can tackle him, or (better for them) intercept a handball or kick. Any kick over 15m that is caught by a member of the same team is called a “mark,” and the player can either play on, or take a free kick from (typically) about 5m behind the place of the mark. This is very important when it comes to marks caught within 40m or so of the goalposts, as they can then usually aim for a goal.

Happy Landing!

Regarding the goalposts, the middle two are the ones to aim for: a goal between then gains 6 points. On either side, a mis-fired attempt (called a “behind”), gets only one. (see graphic) You can see this in the scores: i.e., ‘14.10.94’ is 14 goals= 84, 10 behinds= 10, and well, you can do the rest of the math yourself.

Raven Nation: For the goal to count 6 points, it has to leave the boot and travel between the goalposts without being touched by anyone else. And then, if the ball strikes one of the two goal posts, it counts as one point. If a kicked ball strikes one of behind posts without hitting the ground or being touched by another player it’s “out of bounds on the full” and is a free kick to the non-kicking team. If the ball strikes one of the behind posts in any other fashion, then it’s just out of bounds and results in a throw in.

Keep yer jokes about scoring a “behind” to yerself, mate!

Watch THIS for a rules explanation.

Here’s a diagram of (half of) an AFL field, which probably doubles as a cricket ground:


NOT in the front row seats.

Here are a couple of links to watch for examples and amusement:

All sort of fun.