Australian Rules football, otherwise known as Australian Football or Aussie Rules, is a favourite sport played in Australia. It is a combination of both traditional soccer and the game of rugby. The matches are played on specialised Australian Rules pitches or modified cricket grounds and can trace its roots back to almost one hundred and fifty years ago.
History of the game
There is evidence of a game of 'foot-ball' being played in the county of Victoria as early as 1841 as well as the mention of early matches played in Adelaide and Tasmania. It is believed that these games were very loosely based on the modern game and formed the basis of the game that is played today. The catalyst for the development of 'foot-ball' came from a letter of a cricket club owner who called for a new club to be developed in order to keep his cricketers fit during winter. The oldest surviving official rules of the game come from The Melbourne Football Club. There were ten simple rules drawn up and widely distributed. As a result, new football clubs began to spring up across Australia. Initially, cricket clubs refused football teams permission to play on their grounds as footy games had to be played in parks.
Rules of the game
Both the field and the ball are of an oval shape with two sets of goal posts at either end. The goal posts consist of two central goal posts with two shorter outer posts that are behind the central posts. Goal A goal is worth six points and it is scored when the football is propelled through the goal posts at any height (including above the height of the posts) by way of a kick from the attacking team. A goal scored through the behind posts are six points and it is scored when the football is propelled through the goal posts at any height (including above the height of the posts) by way of a kick from the attacking team. One point is scored when the ball passes between a goal post and behind a post at any height, or if the ball hits a goal post, or if an any player sends the ball between the goal posts by touching it with any part of the body other than the foot. Eighteen players are permitted on the field by either team at either time with four substitutes.
During the winter, Australian Rules football is by far the most popular sport in Australia and is ranked third, highest in the summer behind cricket and swimming.