There is nothing else like it. Two teams battle it out on a giant oval for 80 minutes using hand and boot to knock through the big sticks. It is rough and ready, a tough sport for tough athletes. Bumping, speckying and tackling are to be expected, not to mention a little healthy argy bargy. It’s AFL, Aussie rules, the great Australian game. It is a sport that is near-impossible to explain to the uninitiated.
“Oh, so like rugby?” They ask.
“No, not like rugby” you reply.
“Oh, so like American football?”
“No, just no.”
We’re not here to explain the rules of the game – you’re probably reading this because you already know them and are validating your love for the sport.
But we are to explain why it’s the country’s best sport:
1. It’s a cultural wonder
Brazil has football, New Zealand rugby, and the States basketball. But this game is uniquely Australian. The fans love nothing more than picking up Freo, Brisbane or Collingwood AFL merchandise (among others) and getting down to cheer for their team. It’s a cultural wonder that you should take any international friend to experience. People are immediately enamoured and astounded at their first AFL game.
The awesome vibe, the crowd’s passion, the game’s lightning-fast pace, it all combines to create an unforgettable experience. And, given that sport is integral to Australian culture, it’s wonderful that we have one from our own backyard. And, among anything else, it’s just a great way to spend a chilly Saturday arvo.
2. It’s an incredible sport
This is an action-packed sport. Every quarter is filled with drama so electrifying it makes even the more docile scream at their tellies. What’s more, it’s a highly difficult sport to master. From the early days learning to kick and handball to the fine points of marking and speckying, footy is a difficult game. Not only this, but you have to be at peak physical fitness. You have to outrun, outsmart and out-tackle your opponents, meaning mental and physical fitness are pivotal. It’s a truly incredible sport, and one that always wins new fans with every match, news story or YouTube clip watched.
3. It helps beat the winter blues
Contrary to popular belief, Australia does experience harsh winters. This is especially true for footy’s hometown of Melbourne. The winter here is grim: icy mornings, freezing nights, grey sky for what feels like months on end. It is a great relief the moment some of that spring sunshine appears despite how cold it remains.
Thankfully we’ve got the footy to help enliven those freezing cold days. Across the city – and the country’s other chilly towns – you will see fans rugged-up in their coats and scarves on their way to support their team. It helps bring some excitement into what can be an extensively dreary time of year. It’s the best way to beat the winter blues and we stand by that.
4. It’s great exercise
Footy is great exercise regardless of whether you’re having a kick at the park or part of a club. As aforementioned, you must be at your physical peak to play. It’s a relentless sport that tests your physical and mental capacity. As such, it’s fantastic exercise, and a great way to stay in shape during the winter months.
So, as you can see, it truly is the great Australian game, and that ain’t changing any time soon.