AFL: A Beginners Guide to the Great Australian Sport

Source: West Coast Eagles Club via Facebook.

AFL, or as it’s more commonly known, Aussie Rules, is a fast-paced, action-packed team sport that is exhilarating to watch and even more fun to play. It’s the most highly attended and watched sport in Australia, with the Grand Final of the competition usually attracting one hundred thousand spectators with a further 3 million watching from home.

So what is it that makes it so popular? Let’s take a look at the key elements of the sport and how to get involved in this magnificent game.

Basic Rules

The basic concept of AFL is to score more points than your opponent. There are two teams of 18 players with an oval ball playing on a large cricket-ground shaped field. The main idea is to kick the ball through the two large goal posts situated at opposite ends of the ground, if you are successful, you’ll be awarded six points. There are also two smaller posts on either side of the larger ones; if the ball travels between the big post and the small post you’ll only receive one point, commonly referred to as a behind.

To pass to your teammates you can kick the ball or use a clenched fist to propel the ball forward; this is called a handball. The third option is to run the ball, but you must bounce or touch the ground with the ball every 15 meters. When kicking, if your teammate catches the ball on the full, play stops briefly, and they can take their time to make another kick or pass the ball on; this is known as a mark and is one of the most important plays in the game.

When the ball is not held by a particular player, it is free for both sides to pursue. When the opposition gets the ball, you may tackle them but only between the shoulders and the knees.

Source: Richmond FC via Facebook. 

Getting Involved

There are two easy ways to get involved with this marvelous sport; the first is to watch the game and the second being to actively start playing it.

Even though the only major competition is played in Australia, it is broadcasted to many other countries around the globe. If you’re not sure which team to cheer for when watching your first match, you may want to check out a tipping website such as bet365 for the latest AFL odds and a clearer picture of the team you think would suit you as a supporter. It’s a great sport to watch while catching up with friends and it will have your blood pumping in no time.

The other option is to get out there and find yourself a local Aussie Rules group or club to join. Then you can really start to find an appreciation for the game by getting involved on a physical level. Many countries have an Australian expat community that provides newcomers with the chance to get amongst the action and mingle with other like-minded people. So why not get out there and get amongst the action? It’s an absolutely fantastic workout for your body, and the perfect way to stay in shape while having a blast.