Australians love football also known as footy or Aussie Rules and has its own league, the Australian Football League or AFL as it is commonly called.
Here are a few interesting facts about this much loved sport.
How the Game Came About
The game was first developed by cricketers during the middle of the 19th century and was used as a form of fitness during the winter months. It has been influenced by both soccer and rugby. It may also have been influenced by a traditional aboriginal game, Marngrook, where the players kick around a ball made from animal skin filled with charcoal and feathers.
The game developed in Australia and is now a nationally recognised sport. Footy is also played in other countries such as South Africa, USA, Denmark, Canada and Sweden, which is at the opposite side of the field.
How Footy is Played
In rugby the ball is thrown between each other, but with footy the ball is punched known as hand-balled. If a player is far enough away the ball can be kicked and if the other team member catches the ball it is known as a mark. A free kick is then given.
The objective of footy is to kick the ball between goal posts and if kicked between the middle posts the team will score six points. If the ball makes its way through the inner and outer post of the four posts the team will score one point.
For teams who do not make the cut to do well in the premiership, an award is given to the team who finishes last. This is an imaginary award and is called the Wooden Spoon, and betting sites even accept wagers on who will win this.
The team who has the least premiership points and has the lowest percentage will receive this award. St Kilda has won 27 Wooden Spoons in their career, while Port Adelaide and Adelaide has never received this award.
There have been many reasons for stopping a game, with streaking been a regular occurrence. Another great story is when a pig was smuggled onto the Sydney Cricket Ground and let loose. The game was stopped for three minutes while the pig ran around the Ground. The game was then continued.
When footy was first played the game would go on until one of the teams had managed to score two goals. In 1858 one of these games lasted for three days and the game was eventually a draw with no points scored.
With the use of set playing time there has only ever been one game between St Kilda and Essendon that was played the following week due to problems with the lights going out.
Celebration of Diversity
The AFL is a great supporter of Australia’s multicultural population. They usually dedicate a round during the middle of the season in celebration of the culturally diverse players who come from all kinds of backgrounds.
About nine per cent of the AFL players are indigenous Australians and players like Andrew McLeod and Graham Farmer have contributed greatly in many ways to the game and their communities.