This fast moving game has virtually no rules other than those intended to protect the player. This sports draws some of the biggest crowds in the world.
High marking and long kicking are the main features of this exhilarating sport.
The game began back in 1858 when two cousins Harrison and Wills decided they wanted a purely Australian Game. The field is oval shaped like in cricket. The ideal size of the pitch is 165m x 135m. The First winners of the Premiership Trophy were Essendon in 1897 - Adelaide won it in 2004.
The first club formed was Melbourne Football Club.
The team consist of 18 players with three interchange players. each team comprises three full forwards Left Forward Pocket, Full Forward, Right Forward Pocket, three half forwards Left Half Forward, Centre Half Forward, Right Half Forward, Three Centre Line Players Left Wing, Centre, Right Wing, three half backs Left half Back, Centre Half Back, Right Half Back and three full backs, Left back Pocket, Full Back, Right Back Pocket.
Reserves are used to replace injured players at any time but once a player leaves the ground he cannot return. Unlike a lot of sports play does not stop when a player is injured and the reserve cannot come on until the injured player has left the field. The game is made up of four quarters of 20 minutes each plus ‘time on’ for delays in play. Teams change ends at each quarter, with a 20 minute break at half time and five minute break at 3/4 time. During these breaks the coaches are allowed to address the team on the field.
The main feature of the game is the long kick which takes place from one player to another the aim to kick to a team mate who will of course be guarded by an opposing player, the player who is kicked too will try to break away this is known as a ‘lead out’ and he will hope to take a ‘mark’ which will get him a free kick. From this mark he will try to kick to a team mate nearer the goal, who can then pass onto the forward line. Goals are often kicked from 60 yards out. There is no offside, nor any kind of knock on rule so the game flows freely.
The game starts when the field umpire bounces the ball in the centre circle, which is 10 ft in diameter, this is where your rucks come in these players who are usually big guys over 6 ft go for the hit out which will send the ball into play with the rovers who will vie with each other for possession. then they will move the ball up field towards the oppositions goal. The ball is bounced in the centre each time a goal is scored, the umpires return it by sprinting up field to maintain the manic pace of the game.
If a ball goes out of bounds but isn’t kicked out on the full the boundary umpire will stand with his back to play on the boundary line and throw the ball over his head into the field of play, the rucks will usually go for these thrown balls but any player can if the ruck isn’t up with the play.
You can run with the ball but must bounce it every 10 yds. A player may kick the ball of the ground hand pass to a team member but throwing is not allowed to pass with the hand you must hold the ball with one hand and hit it with the clenched fist. If the ball is thrown a penalty kick is awarded to the opposition.
A ‘Mark’ is allowed when a player catches a ball which has been kick for more than 10 yards by another player during this it must not touch the ground or be touched by another player.
Free kicks are given for throwing the ball, grasping an opponent around the neck, shoulder or legs, retaining the ball when firmly grasped by an opponent a player who is firmly grasped by an opponent must hand pass or kick the ball straight away. lying on or over the ball, pushing a player in the face or back, tripping, or attempting to trip, striking or attempting to strike an opponent. charging or rushing opponents who are not in possession of the ball, holding or tackling a player not in possession, wilfully wasting time, wilfully kicking or forcing the ball out of bounds, running with the ball without bouncing every 10 yards.
Unlike a lot of sports players cannot be sent off the field for foul play, however anyone of the five umpires can report him but they must first inform him that he will be reported
Players may ‘Shepherd’ an opponent from tackling a team mate who is in possession of the ball, provided they don't infringe any of the rules in doing so and the ball is no further than 5 yards away. Shepherding is not allowed at the centre bounce.
When a 'behind' (see scoring) is scored, the ball is not returned to the centre of the field but is kicked by the full back or a player from the opposing team out of the goal square, a 10 yd rectangle in front of the goal post, If a player kicking for goal fails to get the ball between the behind post or goal if kicked out in full a free kick is awarded to the nearest opponent at the spot where the ball crossed the boundary line.
Opponents can attempt to baulk players when taking the mark by jumping in front calling out and waving arms but if he moves over the mark from which the free kick has been awarded a 15 yard penalty will be awarded. Place kicking is allowed but rarely done has it is considered time wasting.
Scoring consists of goals and behinds a goal is scored when the half passes through the two centre goal posts 6 points will be awarded, A behind is when the ball passes outside the centre post but between a behind post and the centre post (behind post are 7 yards to the side of the centre post. A behind is awarded 1 point. Should the ball hit the goal post only 1 point is awarded