Melbourne, Victoria – April 1999

His boots are a pair of elastic-sided steel-caps that he bought as seconds five years ago. They’ve been all around Australia with him.

Aussie Rules FootballG’day from Melbourne, Australia.

Although we are heading into autumn (fall) here, this is the time when we Aussies come out of hibernation. Yes, football season has started!

For weeks we’ve been subjected to endless radio and TV talk about knee strains and fitness tests in the buildup to the start of the season. Now it’s here.

Aussie rules is a strange game compared to other football codes. The ball is oval (not round or pointy ended). The players don’t wear heavy protective gear. They are allowed to touch the ball and run with it, but only for a short distance. After that they must kick it or hand pass it. (Hand passing involves punching the ball off your open hand in an effort to pass it a short distance.) If you catch the ball after someone kicks it you have a ‘mark’ which entitles you to stop and kick the ball without being tackled, otherwise you are fair game. The object of this exercise is to kick the ball through the goals at either end of the ‘oval’. There are four goalposts by the way. You get six points if you get it through the two tall and one point if you get it between a short and a tall post on either side.

Confused yet?

Surf on in to the Australian Football League web site for a look at what the professionals do, or make the effort to go and watch a match. You’ll be able to find a match somewhere to suit your budget and your tastes – from the big-time, big-crowd game to a minor division game with three spectators and a dog.

General Info

This column is under construction.

However, please don’t let it stop you from reading about Footy down under next door.

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