Australian Rules Football: 5 AFL FAQs Answered
Today’s guest post is written by Yi – Creative freelancer and lover of photography, travel, sneakers & street art.
September 25 marks an important day on my calendar. Not because it’s a Saturday and I can finally catch up on much needed sleep. Or the fact that it happens to be my birthday. No, this event is much bigger. It’s AFL Grand Final.
Mention AFL to a non-Australian often results in confusion and a conversation that usually goes something like this:
Person: So, it’s a type of sport right?
Me: Yes, it’s Aussie Rules Football. Also known as footy in Australia.
Person: Oh, like soccer?
Me: Not really…
Person: I know, like American Football.
Person: Ok, so rugby, right?
I won’t go into the nitty gritty stuff about the game. Instead, I’m going to quickly tackle the five most frequently asked questions about the sport.
1. So, what are the rules?
In a nutshell you have two teams trying to score goals on an oval field, playing with an oval-shaped ball. You can bounce the ball, mark the ball, kick the ball and even hand pass the ball. There are four quarters in a game, with each quarter lasting at least 20 minutes, plus time on.
If you want more details about the sport, check out the AFL Wikipedia stub.
2. You can score over 100 points in a game?! How does that work?
On each end of the field is where you’d find the goal posts. Unlike any other sport, footy involves four goal posts. That’s right, four. Two long posts in the middle with two shorter posts on each side. Kick it straight in the middle and you score a goal that’s worth 6 points. Kick it through either side or if the ball hits one of the posts and you only score one point (sometimes called a ‘behind’). It’s a fast-paced game, so a team could easily score over 100 points in a game.
3. What can I expect by attending a live match?
The footy season is held during the cooler months in Australia, so you’d see a lot of people rugged up in team color beanies, scarfs and jackets. Some people will even rock up with painted faces and extravagant costumes.
You can expect a lot of yelling from the crowd and the occasional chanting and singing. It’s a vibrant and loud game fueled by beer, meat pies and lots of “smack talk”.
Nevertheless, sportsmanship is an important aspect of Aussie culture. So a random stranger might yell obscene phrases at you because your team scored a goal, but you can also expect a pat on the back and maybe even a free beer at the end of the game.
4. My friend’s from Australia and he hates footy. Why’s that?
Football originated from Victoria. Out of the 16 teams, 10 of them are all based in Victoria. So if your friend’s not originally from Melbourne, chances are that he/she is probably not so much into football and watches rugby instead.
5. So who’s playing this Saturday and where can I watch it?
The AFL Grand Final this year will see the St. Kilda Saints tackling the Collingwood Magpies. Although the Magpies (aka The Pies) are favorites to win this year’s final, they’re also one of the most hated teams in the AFL.
If you’re not going to be in Australia, try the official Overseas Grand Final Party Finder.
If you’re in Taipei, join me at Brass Monkey. It will be a (close enough) true blue Aussie Grand Final event filled with meat pies, hot chips and cold beer. Come one, come all – it’d be an event better than the World Cup.