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This is Greatness - the Skillful Game of Australian Football

Updated on March 2, 2014

A taste of an unforgettable day.

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Waiting Expectantly10 minutes to go!Full Time OMG!! This is it!!! A proud moment.Syyyydddnnneee!Melbourne in true AFL Grand final mode, shows it's support!!Everything turns Red & White
Waiting Expectantly
Waiting Expectantly | Source
10 minutes to go!
10 minutes to go! | Source
Full Time OMG!! This is it!!! A proud moment.
Full Time OMG!! This is it!!! A proud moment. | Source
Syyyydddnnneee! | Source
Melbourne in true AFL Grand final mode, shows it's support!!
Melbourne in true AFL Grand final mode, shows it's support!! | Source
Everything turns Red & White
Everything turns Red & White | Source

Come on Footy season!

As we come close to another thrilling heart stopping season of Australian Rules Football a footy tragic from way back recounts a year when her heart did stop..for a moment time.. when her beloved team won in true Sydney nail biting style the coveted prize.

The season started off with an impressive win in the first round of the competition on a warm autumn day at Sydney's Cricket Ground (SCG) home to the Sydney Swans Football team. We'd seen this before it was no big deal. Then before we knew it things got serious with successive wins in the home and away rounds. And suddenly we were on top of the ladder with four straight wins. A bit of luck was on our side but we knew it was way too early to count on the possibility of being there at the end of the season.

Then win after win and excitement building we were at the half way mark and still up there in the prized position at the top of the ladder with sports journalist and media commentators alike hinting at the possibility of a final at least.

And for the first time for a long time, 2005 to be exact the Swans continued to play like champions showcasing their excellent running pace, skill at hand balling, defensive scraping and ferocious tackling style and we were past the half way mark with more wins than losses. Forging ahead into the second half of the season they continued their hold on the top of the prized AFL ladder, beating some of the strongest teams in the competition including Geelong who in recent years were three time Premiers and Collingwood, West Coast and Adelaide all super teams competitive and hungry for a win.

Some Explanation Needed

Now for those of you that read this article and haven't a clue about football, or more to the point, Australian Football sometimes known as Aussie Rules or AFL I will digress for a moment and do my best to explain some of the Rules of the game; the Teams in the competition; and the Passion it brings to a nation as it stands still.. in agony.. or ecstasy on the last Saturday in September before a hundred thousand plus spectators and millions of online lovers of it's favorite sport.

The Game - Established as an actual competition in 1887 the game began as uniquely belonging to the Sate of Victoria as the Victorian Football League. Six clubs Collingwood, Essendon, Fitzroy, Geelong, Melbourne and South Melbourne (later to become the Sydney Swans) formed the Victorian Football League inviting two further clubs Carlton and St Kilda to kick off its inaugral 1987 season.

The formation of the league, and with the view to continue to invite more teams into the game kicked off many new initiatives including the beginning of the current scoring system of 6 points for a goal (between the two center posts and 1 point for a behind ( in between the center and outer posts).

The Teams in the Competition

From Victoria

Hawthorne Hawks

Richmond Tigers

Carlton Blues

Melbourne Demons

Essendon Bombers

North Melbourne Kangaroos

St Kilda's Saints

Geelong Cat's

Collingwood's Pies

Western Bulldogs

From Queensland

Brisbane Lions

Gold Coast Suns

From South Australia

Adelaide Crows

Port Adelaide Port Power

From Western Australia

West Coast Eagles

Freemantle Dockers

And from NSW

Sydney Swans

Blacktown Giants

The Rules of the Game

Fast paced; skillful; what's not to love. Aussie rules began to keep Cricketers, Australia's other sporting obsession, fit during their off season. Thus said AFL is played on some of Australia's largest cricket ovals in our capital cities, the MCG in Melbourne, the SCG in Sydney, the WACCA in Perth etc.

At each end of the oval there are four goal posts; 2 tall in the middle and 2 shorter posts on the outer of the middle posts.

The aim of the game is to kick the ball between the center posts more times than your opponents. A goal between the centers results in a 6 point goal as opposed to a 1 point behind in between the outer and inner tall post. If the ball hits the posts, no score, if a player touches the ball before it crosses the line, 1 point.

Each opposing team has 18 players aside. The game has 4 quarters of approximately 30 minutes each. It begins with a center bounce by the referee bouncing the ball on the ground in center square, and is contested by the two tall Ruckmen from each side by play similar to a basketball tip off. Unlike most codes of football there is no offside rule which allows a player to run pretty much anywhere on the field creating a fast free flowing style of game.

The ball is then hopefully kicked or hand balled to team players to get the ball into the full forwards possession to kick goals. A player can also keep possession of the ball and run with it toward their teams goal end and kick for goal, providing he avoids a tackle from the opposition and he must not run any longer than 15 meters without a running bounce or the ball touching the ground or he will be penalised.

Their are two boundary, two field and two goal umpires, colloquially known as "green or yellow magots often hated and always unfair on your team

The team is broken down into;

Forward Line

1 full forward

2 forward pockets

2 half forward flanks

2 wings


1 Centre half forward

A ruckman

Ruck rover

2 rovers

Back Line

Center Half back

2 half back flanks

2 back pockets

Full back

Terms of the Game

Mark - is when a player catches or takes the ball

Ball - is when a player is caught holding the ball

Deliberate - kicking or hand balling the ball over the side line purposefully

Charging - going for the player instead of the ball

Shepherding - keeping an opponent away from your team player attempting to get the ball

Hand balling - holding the ball in one hand and punching it with the other

Specky - this is when a player takes a spectacular mark by jumping head and shoulders above and often on the shoulders of another player

Interchange - a player must come off and tag another player before he can run on

Teams must have equal amount of players at all times

Some of the dont's in AFL

No holding the man without the ball - you can't tackle an opponent without the ball

No high tackles - tackles cannot be above the shoulders

No throwing the ball - a ball must be hand /passed balled or kicked only

No tripping anyone - tripping is penalized

No kicking the ball while an opponent is trying to pick it up - apart from the obvious disastrous injury it will be penalized

No illegal shepherds - shepherds are to stop your opponent from getting the ball by putting a bump on him or blocking him from another team player getting to the ball

No kicking or hand passing/balling the ball over the sidelines on purpose. This is called a deliberate and in Aussie rules this is a sin.

No pushing in the back with two hands

No chopping an opponents arms when he is going for a mark

And no holding any part of an opponent, physically or his clothing, which prevents him from going for the ball

No slinging a player to the ground

No advancing off a mark when an opponent player has a free kick, if you do a 50 meter penalyt can be given

No sledging the umpire which can also result in a 50 meter penalty

Blood rule - a player is sent off immediately with any blood flow

Now that you get an idea of the game and it's rules I'll return to the replay of one of the games most remembered final series.

Sydney Swans defeat Melbourne's Collingwood Magpies by 26 points at ANZ Stadium to book a place in AFL grand final!

Then with sheer determination and a continuation of the superb skills, that got them and before a crowd of almost 60 thousand the Swans smashed their way through the final decider taking out their strongest opposition in Collingwood. Dominating the best part of the first three quarters of the game with a 42 point lead they finished steadily and strongly to beat the Pies with a twenty six point win ending in a firm 96/70 finish. Before we knew it with the proud city's heart beating furiously we had made it through to the Grand Final to play Hawthorn's Hawke's on the hallowed ground of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Better known to locals and dedicated AFL fans as the MCG.

And the rest they say is history with a fourth quarter nail biter. With 10 minutes to go every Swans supporter in the stadium was holding their collective breath. But a lucky snap and a drop punt later straight through the middle goal posts we are back in the lead and totally inspired with the raucous crowd behind them the Swans take out the biggest prize in the game.

In the immediate aftermath of the epic grand final when Sydney stormed onto the hallowed grounds at the MCG to take out the AFL Premiership over a disappointed and disillusioned Hawthorn, fans, journos, and punters across the nation were concluding that it truly was the best decider in the 115 year history of 'our game'.


An unbelievable finish


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    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 2 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      So sorry Perspycacious didn't see your comment until now..thanks so much for stopping by, the crowds are fantastic and the finals draw consistently anywhere between 60 and 80 thousand and the GF 90 thousand plus +. it's a fantastic game but can't see it topping the NFL in the states any time soon..concussions do happen, fortunately not too often perhaps 1 serious one per season..if you make it over this way plan to take in a finals game, closer to the GF in early September, hard to get into the GF. It's an experience of it's own & you won't be sorry..Cheers

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 3 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      The stadium crowds for this Australian game are fantastic. Perhaps one day it will come to the USA, but only over the dead body of the NFL and AFL leagues here.

      How big a problem are concussions in this game there down under?

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      He he Nell.. you are good sport to read this hub thanks heaps! You were probably wondering what on earth is AFL! Tottenham eh? I sort of love a bit of soccer as well & looking forward to the World Cup this year.. Would give anything to see a Manchester United

      game!! Thanks again brave lady:) Cheers from still warm Oz..

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      I love learning about different sports and how they vary from one country to another, I actually don't mind football, don't die of shock! lol! I used to go up to London to watch Tottenham! so i am with you on this one! lol!

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Oh thanks so much teaches for taking the time to drop by.. this one is not everyone's cup of tea but glad you enjoyed learning a little about AFL


    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      It is fascinating to learn about sports in other countries. I find American football hard to follow at times, but it's the social aspect I enjoy most. Thanks for the education.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Hey there cfin..nice of u to drop Gaelic footy too & always watch the International series when it's on!! Man you Irish are good:) Mmm love the idea of floating somewhere in the milky way chocolate bar too:)..just saying..cheers

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Hi Chef..yes we are quite mad:) & totally mad about glad u got to see a game & that u found it exciting, I find it so but I'm a die hard fan but when some one sees it for the first time & thinks it exciting, that my friend is awesome..thanks for taking time to read this..cheers

    • cfin profile image

      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      I miss Gaelic football. Very similar, one having derived from the other. I always enjoyed watching the international rules too. Voted up.

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      What a sport!!! I recall watching a game when I lived in Perth for a few months. I saw some serious physical play but it was very exciting. I love the rules you've laid out...No chopping an opponents arms....No slinging a player to the ground!!!

      You Aussies are quite mad when it comes to loving your footy. (I shan't mention the cricket whitewash recently dished out by you guys)

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Thanks for taking the time to read this one Jodah..bit of a risk writing about a topic few people other than lovers of the code will want to bother with but in a moment of longing for a game the other day it all just flowed..

      Of course you love League, you are a Queenslander after all:) cheers

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Great hub Carter, well written and you described the game of Australian Football or Aussie Rules very well for an or diene who know nothing or little about it. I admit to preferring Rugby League (I am a Queenslander) but I can appreciate passion that you show for your code and you showed that in this article. Voted up.


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