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|Teacher||SusanDay private msg quote post Address this user|
|Australia, is there anyone home?
“The last weekend in September” is a special time in the Australian sporting calendar.
On the last Saturday of September each year one of the greatest events in the Australian sporting calendar occurs – the Australian Rules Football Grand Final.
Now, for those of you who don’t know anything about this great game, I will now endeavour to fill you in. I just might add here that although I love the game, I am far from being an expert.
Each year 18 teams via for the right to play in the Australian Rules Football Grand Final. My team, the Geelong Cats, didn’t quite make it, so this year’s Grand Final is between the Adelaide Crows and the Richmond Tigers.
The game was very popular in Victoria, but there are now teams in each state of Australia except the Northern Territory and Tasmania. While these two states couldn’t be further apart, the reason they don’t have their own team is for the same reason – there’s just not enough people, and all their great players have been stolen by the richer clubs in other states.
There are 18 players on each side, a handful of emergencies and some interchange players. So, as you can imagine it takes a fair-sized bus to haul them around.
Australian Rules footballers are normally very slight, extremely fit and some are very tall. Unlike their rugby counterparts who are shaped more like double-door fridges.
They wear no protective gear except mouth guards and a fair amount of hair gel.
Each player has an assigned position on the field, but no one is sure why as they can run anywhere they like and perform everything necessary to score goals and points.
Positions are called the ruck, the wing, centre-half back and so on.
One of the greatest players today, Patrick Dangerfield (good name for a football player, don’t you think?) Anyway, he plays for my team, the Geelong Cats, and he kicked the ball to one player and kept running, who kicked it to another who was also running, and then he kicked it to another who was running too, who then kicked it back to Dangerfield who had run the complete length of the oval and literally out-run the ball, and then kicked a goal. Pretty impressive, if I say so myself.
Each player is assigned a number but the method which this takes is a complete mystery. The numbers on the back of their jerseys play no relation to the position they play on the field or to anything else for that matter.
You’ll find a number 3 standing alongside a number 23, backed up by a number 18 and defending by a number 11.
Numbers do get ‘retired’ and are sometimes pulled out and assigned to new players with a lot of ceremony and hoo-ha, particularly if the ‘number’ belonged to an important player. Still, there is no rhyme or reason to explain this.
The ball used in Australian Rules Football is red and oval shaped. It is like an American football, but with smoother pointy bits at either end.
Sheridan make these balls and thus an Australian Rules Football is often called a “Sheridan”.
An Australian Rules Football game is played on an ‘oval’. It is called this because, as you might be able to guess, is shaped just like one.
Note, that no two ovals are the same size or even shape anywhere in the country.
Ovals can also be referred to as “the ground”. I suspect that this is because they are made up of it – ground.
Australian Rules Football is a fast and exciting game. A player can run with the ball but only if he or she bounces it after about 3 metres (that’s yards, for you guys).
Then they can kick the ball to another player who if catches it before it hits the ground is said to have ‘marked’ the ball. This means that he or she can’t be contested (pounced on by any number of opposing players), and thus have the opportunity to kick it on to another player.
There is another great athletic feat called a ‘Specky’. This occurs when a player jumps onto the back or shoulders of another player to catch or ‘mark’ the ball. This is something to be seen, believe me!
Now, this is the fun bit!
At each end of the ‘oval’ are four large posts. The two really big ones in the middle are flanked on either side by two smaller ones.
If a player kicks the ball through the middle posts or sticks it is called a goal. If he or she kicks it through the smaller ones on either side or the ball hits the middle posts their team is awarded a point.
Six points make up one goal – so you can imagine there aren’t many Australian children who don’t know their 6 times table very well.
There are a huge number of empires on the field at any one time. Up to 5 I think, but it’s hard to count them because many run faster than the players.
Field umpires run around blowing whistles, and yelling out players’ names. It is a credit to them that they actually know them all.
There are also goal umpires, one for each goal. It is there job to decide whether a goal or a point has been kicked.
If it’s a goal, there is an elaborate two-handed gesture to indicate it as such.
If it’s a point, a flag is brought out from somewhere (again, another mystery) and waved ceremoniously in the air not unlike a semaphoric boy scout.
Umpires can warn players if they have done the wrong thing, but a match tribunal doles out punishment after the match usually at the more convenient time of Monday evenings. Punishments usually mean missing the next game and / or a fine.
In the past year or so we have seen the introduction of Women’s Australian Rules Football. It is exactly the same as the men’s only the players are prettier, and wear less hair gel. Oh, and their ponytails are shorter. Although each gender seems to think that covering their bodies with tattoos is a good idea.
It was a credit to the Australian people’s notion of fair play when they embraced women players and supported them from amateurs to professionals. They flocked to the matches and cheered the women on just like they do the men.
So, what does this have to do with all of you non-Australians? Well, if you call, ping, call, email or message anyone on September 29, 30 and perhaps Oct 1 (due to excessive “celebrations”) this year you may not get an answer.
If you get a chance to watch the game don’t pass it up. It is a fun, fast game and now that you know a little bit more about it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it even more.
Me, and the "Kids" at the footy!
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|Member||RogerBruner private msg quote post Address this user|
|Very interesting, and I'm not a sports enthusiast at all. But it sounds like a great game as long as YOUR players don't "bend the knee" disrespectfully.|
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|Site Admin||Belew private msg quote post Address this user|
And did they hire you to do color in the announcers booth? There is always one person telling the listeners what is goong on and another to add color or back story.
Your description is a hoot.
I'd like to hear/read your description of the outcome this weekend. . But, of course, Ill wait till 10/2... If yoi have recovered by then.
I am sure spectators see the bottom of a few mugs while watching to ensure fun no matter who wins.
Great weite up. Its 530 am as I read this and the wife keeps asking why are you laughing?
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|Teacher||SusanDay private msg quote post Address this user|
|@RogerBruner No knee bending but plenty of chest thumping|
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|Top Contributor||Steve private msg quote post Address this user|
|@SusanDay plenty of beer drinking and the occasdional pie day...|
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