Describe Aussie Rules to a Yank?

old man emu

Well-Known Member
How would you describe the game of Aussie Rules to a Yank?

I'd say that it is a field game, played with an oval shaped ball. The ball is moved up and down the field in a similar way to the ball movement in basketball, but instead of being thrown, it is kicked or held in an open hand and punched with the other hand to a fellow team member.

Points are scored by kicking the ball through a set of four marker poles. If the ball goes through the tall, centre pair of poles, a Goal, worth six points is scored. There are two shorter poles on each side of the centre poles. If the ball is kicked between the tall pole and the short pole, a Behind, worth one point is scored. If the ball is touched by hand and goes through the tall poles, only one point (a Behind) is scored.

A player in control of the ball can have his progress stopped by being tackled by an opponent, but the opponent can only hold around the player's torso. Holding around the legs is prohibited. Once a player is tackled, he must release the ball, or be penalised for "holding".

If a player catches a ball that has been kicked before the ball touches the ground, the catch is called a "Mark", and the player gets the chance to kick the ball without the risk of being tackled before he completes the kick.

If the ball's progress is stopped by players from both sides tussling for possession, the man with the whistle, the Umpire, will take the ball and bounce it off the ground between the opposing teams. This is called a "Ball-up".

The game is played in four twenty minute sections called "Quarters". Play stops immediately on he sounding of the whistle or siren marking the end of a Quarter. There is no further scoring "after the siren". There is a short break between the quarters 1&2, and 3&4. The break between quarters 2 & 3 is longer and is known as "Half-time".

Players do not wear any protective padding on their bodies. They can wear an internal mouth guard is they wish. Clothing consists of short pants; a collarless shirt, socks and football boots similar to soccer boots.


Who was raised on Rugby League
Best thing about Aussie rules is that the rules are not strict and rely on the umpires judgement.
For example, you can run for about 15m before you have to either bounce, touch the ball on the ground, handball or kick
Also, its a great game because you can do anything except throw a ball. Apart from above, you can punch, head, knee, chest a ball without penalty!
It's fun as when you are in the pack scrambling to get the ball and trying to get the ball out somehow / anyhow... Pure chaos...
Well, as a yank, that helps, but Aussie Rules still looks like a bunch of women fighting over a pair of shoes at a Myer's sale, to me. The way they elbow each other and climb on each others' backs just gives me the creeps. And don't get me started on Thugby!


Rugby...when the ball is thrown to you and you catch it, you either run into someone that is like a brick wall because your brain has been made into mash from doing that so often OR you finally get a spark in the brain of some kind of thought process that says to you..."Crap, I don't want it" and throw it to one of the others that you think are your team mates...or they have led you to believe they are, but their brain has also been made into mash because they are likely to just go and run into another brick wall type of person any way. Then after about 5 times of this, a non brick wall type of person comes up and tries to save his mashed brain team mates and kicks the ball as far as he can to try and save his team mates from further brain bashing of banging bodies into brick walls.

I thought it was ironic this year that the NFL premiership went to Sydney and the NRL premiership went to Melbourne :helmet:


Active Member
Didn't the Irish sort of invent it & call it Gaelic Football, the Aussies, well Victorians anyway fiddled about with it & changed most of the rules, the ball and the field. It is also referred to as aerial ping pong which is probably more accurate. I am not sure why they call it football when there are a lot of hands involved and it is virtually impossible to work out which way the teams are playing as there is no off side so therefore no territory as in Football, Rugby Union and Thugby League. You can be anywhere on the field apparently. It can be interesting to watch for a while but I fail to be able to relate to the total obsession shown by Victorians. Crowds can be massive so they must be doing something that the public there likes. Conversely it hasn't caught on anywhere else in the world to any great degree.


Active Member
Just point out that in his game the ball is actually in play for around 12mins per game,
CF the most of 80mins the AFL ball is actually in play
OK, I'm Victorian and I'll bite (nice bait!) ;-)

The game was originally a blend of Gaelic football and Rugby (which code - I am not sure) and legend has it, it was created to keep cricketers fit in the winter and I am guessing it was a code of football developed to allow both the English and Irish to play with some semblance of fairness in terms of disposition to one or the other sports).

While I agree - a lot of the game is with the hand, the ball moves a lot by foot as well - much more than either code of Ruggers, and the offical title of Rugby Union is Rugby Football Union (RFU - Home page) - and i think it is fair to say having seen a bit of the latter here over the years (but still not getting it entirely), Aussie Rules has a bit for flow to it - not so much stop/start, and what is it about a sport that gives a side a distance gain for intentionally kicking the ball out? Seems an anathema to competiton for me. Rugges is a tough game and there is definite skill, but as a spectacle, I think Aussie Rules has the wood over it - as do a lot of Ruggers players over here. That is not to say one is better than the other, but to simply label it as aerial ping pong, when there is a raft of different skills with some very adept athletes because the ball flows fast is something a little unfair. I have played Aussie Rules, Soccer and NFL at the club level (NFL in a minor league in San Franscisco). Played a bit of touch rugby here, but was too old by then to really play seriously... so can't compare... All games have their pluses and minuses. But for me, Aussie Rules is the one I will spend my money on over the others..

Although I have to agree.. When I last lived in Melb in 2006, the relgious fanaticisim around it became a little boring to be honest and I sort of lost interest from about mid way through the season until Grand Final day.

Now - to watch a game on (saw Adelaide and Sydney last night - absolute cracker of a game)..

old man emu

Well-Known Member
Despite having grown up in Sydney in the golden years of the Saint's strangle-hold on the premiership, and being at the birth of the Sharks, I can see why Rules has such a following.

1. It is fast moving, with the ball moving up and down the field constantly.
2. It has the positional play of soccer.
3. It has the body contact of League and Rugby.
4. It has both ground speed and vertical expertise.

League tactics have been stalemated for years. Barge into the opposition for five tackles, then kick. Where's the open field play of the likes of Gasnier and Coote? Where;s the slippery half-back lick Churchill? When was the last time two fullbacks had an end to end kicking duel like Langlands and Barnes? And when was the last time a hooker hooked? Is it any wonder that even the pigeons have deserted the League grounds for the AFL fields? The pickings are pretty thin on the ground after a League audience leaves.