Football is the best Sport of Winter
Here in Australia the two top football contests ended in a draw last season. Nail biting stuff til the end that led some to ask what is it about the year 2010? The recent federal elections also ended in a draw as did those in England. There are so many other cases of tied endings around the world that one wonders about the new season starting out in the Northern Hemisphere. Will it be any different?
As the days draw in and the weather turns in the north there is a chill in the air and the football gear makes its appearance. This is a lens on some of the codes played in Australia and elsewhere and of the gear and the places to buy it online. As well get tickets for the events and those little outfits for kids to wear ro show the colors and in support of dads who happily carry them around to show off after their win.
But the latest news is that American Football is in for a change, well at least a new addition. Its coming in 2011
What is it?
Rugby League is the game that gets most Aussies fired up over winter. It is fast and furious, bullish and often violent. and it is an offspring of Rugby Union, the great British game. (photo from Wikipedia)
Wikipedia notes that it "is a full contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular grass field. One of the two codes of rugby football, it originated as a split from the Rugby Football Union in England in 1895 over the issue of payments to players. Its rules were then gradually changed in order to produce a more entertaining game that would appeal to spectators."
The game now exceeds their wildest expectations and it grips the nation as the finals are determined by semi-finals and finals played out over some three week-ends.
In Canberra we barack for the home team, the Raiders, who are in their green and white attire. Many of its players have been chosen to represent Australia in the International Team called the Kangaroos. They are ranked number 1 in the world and dominate the sport both at home and abroad.
Wikipedia states: "The European Super League and the Australasian National Rugby League are the premier club competitions. Rugby league is played internationally, predominantly by European, Australasian and Pacific countries, and is governed by the Rugby League International Federation. New Zealand are the current World Cup holders.
"The try is the most common form of scoring and a team will usually attempt to score one by running and kicking the ball further upfield, or passing from player-to-player in order to manoeuvre around the opposition's defence. A try involves touching the ball to the ground on or beyond the defending team's goal-line and is worth four points. A goal is worth two points and may be gained from a conversion or a penalty. A field goal, or drop goal, is only worth one point and is gained by dropping and then kicking the ball on the half volley between the uprights in open play."
While it is a great game in Australia, England and a few other nations, watch out America because it is coming to you.
"Rugby league is played in more than 50 countries worldwide. The strongest rugby league nations are England, Australia and New Zealand, who contest the Rugby League Four Nations most years. Rugby league is the national sport of Papua New Guinea, and is also played professionally in France, and Wales. It is due to be played professionally in the United States by 2011 or sometime in the near future.
Rib Breaking Tackles - Are the Yanks up to this?
There is no protective gear except for mouth guards and the hits are like hitting a brick wall. Ouch! But don't complain boys, there is more to come
Rugny League in Australia
How Will Rugby League go in USA?
Are you interested in this new addition to USA football
Yes, bring it on
Aussie Football League
Otherwise called the AFL
Because my family were Rugby League fans it was only in the last few years that I started watching AFL, It quickly dawned on me that this would have to be the fastest football in the world. Players run throughout the four, 20 minute quarters that make up full time. For a newcomer it appears that there are almost no rules for players to follow. They push, shove, kick, run and jump high into the air to catch balls sometimes meters off the ground.
The opponent soars upwards as well to try to get the ball or to knock it out of the receivers hands. If the latter hold it for a few seconds it is called a mark and that gives him the right to kick it wherever he likes. It can also allow him to strive for a goal. If the ball passes between the two inner posts it counts for six points. If, on the other hand, it passes between the outside post it is called a 'behind' and is worth one point.
Sometimes the action is so fast that one wonder how these players can cope with the pressure. But they do and the video below shows the game in action.
Wikipedia notes: It is "a sport played between two teams of 22 players (18 on the field, and 4 interchanges) on either an Australian rules football ground or a modified cricket field."
"During play, players may position themselves anywhere on the field and use any part of their body to move the ball. The primary methods are kicking, handballing and running with the ball. There are rules on how the ball can be handled: for example, players running with the ball must intermittently bounce or touch it on the ground. Throwing the ball is not allowed and players must not get caught holding the ball."
Aussie Football Rules - The fastest game in the world
Would you Like to See AFL in USA?
Would this be a good thing to watch?
Yes, I would love it
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This is more a game for gentlemen rather than the tough hard knockers of Rugby League. It is exciting and a good spectator sport and has produced some nail biting tounaments at both the World Cup level, played every 4 years, the Six Nations Championship and theTri Nations Series.
Wikipedia notes: "The Six Nations is an annual competition involving the European teams England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. Each country plays the other five once." while "The Tri Nations is an annual international series held between the southern hemisphere teams of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa."
"Rugby union was played at the Olympic Games in 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924. As per Olympic rules, the nations of Scotland, Wales and England were not allowed to play separately as they are not sovereign states. Rugby sevens has been played at the Commonwealth Games since 1998 and on 9 October 2009, the International Olympic Committee voted with a majority of 81 to 8 that rugby union be reinstated as an Olympic sport in at least the 2016 and 2020 games, but in the sevens, 4-day tournament format.This is something the rugby world has aspired to for a long time and Bernard Lapasset, president of the International Rugby Board, said the Olympic gold medal would be considered to be "the pinnacle of our sport" (Rugby Sevens)
The game has a large following and now includes many countries from aorund the world. This snippet shows that the USA and Canada are not out of the loop: "The United States are the most recent Olympic gold medalists; an American team stacked with American football players won the event at the Paris Olympics in 1924, which was the last year rugby union was played at the games. Large numbers of players are active in North America, and the USA regularly qualify for World Cups, while Canada has participated at every World Cup
It is not too dissimilar to Rugby League, having been the parent sport. But as well as scrums the ball is tossed in from the sideline while both teams line up opposite each other and try to catch it. The leap into the air, pictured, is along the lines of the AFL mark.
Again there is no protective clothing worn aside from the mouth guard and occasional bandage, Its most famous player is probably David Beckham who was accepted an offer of millions of dollars to train the American Team in California.
Rugby Game in Action
Still images from Dreamstime - click here