Australian Football, affectionately called footy, is a popular contact sport that began in Melbourne. The sport has become a hit across Australia with 18 teams from all around the nation making up the Australian Football League. The AFL premiership championship game, known as the Grand Final, is one of the most watched sporting events in the world. In Victoria, the day before the game is a public holiday.
Footy is a uniquely Australian sport, but entertaining for sport fans from anywhere in the world. I went with a couple of friends to a footy game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The Richmond Tigers, who I decided to support simply for their mascot, defeated the Collingwood Magpies 105-100.
The game was so much fun! The crowd was full of energy; fans passionately supported their teams with thunderous cheers. Even though I had no real connection to the Tigers, I felt like part of the community as I cheered the team on during the game. It was a great experience to immerse myself in the stadium culture and enjoy the event without restraint.
I briefly read about the rules of footy before going, because I wanted to have a basic understanding of the game. It was much more enjoyable to watch when I knew what was going on. Footy is a bit like a combination of rugby, American football and soccer.
The general idea of the game is that two teams of eighteen players handball, kick and run a football across the field to the four goal posts on either end. A semicircle line indicates the area where a mark occurs. When a player catches the ball within this line, the team gets to kick toward the goal posts from outside the line. If the ball travels between the two middle goal posts, the scoring team earns 6 points; 1 point is given if the ball hits any of the posts or passes through the two outer posts.
If you find yourself in Melbourne during footy season, I highly recommend watching a game. It’s a lot of fun and a big part of the culture. General admission tickets usually range from $20-$30. Games are most commonly played in the Central Business District at the MCG or Etihad Stadium.