What is Aussie Rules?
Australian Rules Football, or footy, is Australia’s indigenous sport. Created in the 1800’s as a way for cricket players to stay in shape over the winter months, footy combines elements of variety of sports. Typically, we explain footy as it’s the best parts basketball, soccer, and football mashed together.
A match between two full-strength teams sees 36 players competing across an oval-shaped field approximately 180 yards long by 140 yards wide (depending on the field used). That’s right, 18 players from each team competing on a massive field.
The object of the game: score as many points as possible. At each end of the field there are four goal posts: two tall posts in the middle, two short ones flanking the taller ones. Kick the ball through the tall posts, you get 6 points. Kick the ball through the outside posts, you get 1 point. As long as the ball travels untouched through the posts, it counts.
As you can see, the ball we use is oval-shaped, but the ends are blunter than an American football. That’s because to move the ball around the field you either kick it or handpass (punch it) to a teammate.
Play is continuous. There are no downs, no timeouts. Like soccer. Time stoppages occur for out-of-bounds and fouls. The ball is also live, which makes for non-stop action on the field. There is no off-sides rule.
Footy is a full-contact game. But unlike American football, when we tackle, we don’t lead with our heads. This is for two reasons: (1) we don’t wear helmets or pads and (2) the point of tackling is to wrap the ball-carrier up before they can dispose of the ball. There is no pushing in the back (running through a player from behind), tackling high, or tackling low. Referees control the game for players’ safety.
Click here for a more detailed, but potentially more confusing explanation of the rules.
The best way to learn the game is to come out for a training session. Footy is an easy game to learn, but a difficult game to master.