I have previously blogged out rugby league (http://phillipdavid.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/who-wears-short-shorts.html) and in that blog I mentioned another sport that is hugely popular here in Australia: Aussie rules football. And finally, well over a year later, I made it to an AFL (Australian Football League – which is pretty much synonymous with Aussie rules football) game. The verdict: fantastic! Before I tell you why, let me tell you about the game.
First of all, it’s important to know that Aussie rules football is the most popular sport in Australia, even though rugby league is much bigger in Sydney. Melbourne is the epicentre of AFL with 9 of the 18 teams in the league in the Melbourne metropolitan area. After that, there are two teams each in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide, and an additional team in Geelong, which isn’t all that far from Melbourne. The game consists of four quarters lasting 20 minutes each, though a bit of time is added on at the end of each quarter to account for stops during play. The stops aren’t long – mainly just the time after a goal. There aren’t any time-outs and the game doesn’t stop for commercials. All in all, each quarter generally lasts for about 25 – 30 minutes, and players and spectators don’t know exactly when the siren will go off because the clock counts up, not down.
The sport is played on an ovular field as opposed to the more common rectangular field that we know from rugby, soccer, and American football. There is no “off sides” rule and players disperse freely across field. Players can kick the ball, punch it with their fists, or tap it with their hands to move it around the field, but in no circumstances can they throw the ball (even though it looks like they are throwing when you watch – the punching/tapping is very subtle). Players can run with the ball but it must be touched or bounced on the ground every 15 metres. There is tackling, and when tackled, a player must relinquish the ball to the opposing side. If a player catches a ball that has travelled more than 15 metres, it is called a “mark”. The player is then entitled to kick the ball through the goal posts from the spot where they caught it (though, they may just keep playing if the distance is too far). That brings us to…
Scoring! There are four goal posts all in a row – let’s number them 1, 2, 3, and 4, in order. To score, a player must kick the ball through the two inner goal posts (posts 2 and 3) for six points. If the ball goes between the outer goals posts (between 1 and 2 or between 3 and 4) then the team is entitled to one point. Also, if the ball bounces off of one of the inner posts (posts 2 or 3) then the team is also entitled to one point. Simple enough!
Of course, there are a bunch of other rules surrounding penalties and such, but I’m not going to even pretend that I care. There really is only one thing about this game that is worth caring about. Actually, I take that back. There are two things about this game that I really do care about. Those two things: legs and asses.
I had seen a bit of AFL on TV but never really payed too close attention. Going to the game in person, I had a fantastic view of the players. Survey says: holy bejesus. While rugby players are big and bulky and sort of look like meatheads, the AFL players are trim and toned and fit. They run ridiculous distances across the massive field during the game which helps keep them down to size. And their legs: wow. And their asses: even more wow.
My first game was in mid-August. I had won some tickets from work so I opted to take my co-worker, Rowan, as he is originally from Melbourne and his home team was playing the Sydney Swans. Luckily, the Swans kicked his team’s butt: 118 to 59.
Rowan wasn’t too pleased, but he was cheered up when they actually opened up the field so we could walk on it after the game. Apparently they do that at only a handful of games usually toward the end of the season.
Before the game, we had arrived a bit early and got to see the players warming up. Look at that leg! I mean, look at that kick…
Then there was the game play. I especially enjoyed the parts when all of the players’ backs were to me (Is it getting warmer out here?)
Even the umpires are fit! They do just as much running around on the field as the players do. Their legs are also fabulous and their asses are also fabulous and they don’t get as busted up as the actual players do. I think an umpire might be a good way to go…
I’ll just need to change their bright yellow shirts.
I enjoyed the game so much that I decided to go back two weeks later with my friends Jacqui and Amy. Jacqui even bought me a Swans beanie!
This time it was a more heated match. The Swans were in the lead for the first three quarters, but fell behind in the fourth quarter to lose the game. It didn’t really matter as they still made it to the finals (equivalent of the play-offs). And besides, they were last year’s champions so what was one game going to do?
And even though they lost, it wasn’t a complete wash. There was still plenty of eye candy. Though, I think I need to head down to the beach more often and scope them out this summer. The players are often sighted at Bondi Beach and Coogee Beach. Like here – taken from the newspaper:
#’s 41, 29, and 40. # 40 on the right – Nick Smith – is my favourite of all the players. Can I get a close up?
Oh yes. Gays: who wants to go with me to a game next season?
Or maybe just the beach?