Australia’s AFL

Australia is a very large place and although generally cricket is loved throughout the nation. The popularity of the sport’s thereafter can change according to which states you visit. Generally your typical Aussie sport lover will love AFL and cricket, although some states statistically prefer one of the rugby codes over AFL. The code, known usually as footy, is popular in most states although has a pretty low profile on most parts of the east coast in Queensland and New South Wales.

As I’m concentrating on unique cultural sport’s I’ll be focusing on AFL. From a newbie’s point of view, which I certainly am the sport comes across as a fast paced aerial contact sport. I’ve heard a few; mainly pom mates or Kiwi’s describing AFL. As aerial ping pong which coming from a soccer background I could kind of identify with. Although I can remember watching a few football (soccer) matches through the year’s which I could definitely describe as aerial ping pong! Calling my beloved game soccer is something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to or intend on doing though!

In general, when leaving behind any ‘football superiority’ prejudices AFL is a pretty exciting game to watch. And with live matches on many of the free to view channel’s you won’t be short of matches to watch. The sport is played on a large oval field often used for cricket and consists of four quarter’s. And 18 players on each side, subs are allowed and points are scored by kicking the ball between posts. There are four posts and kicking between the middle two results in six points whilst kicking between the ‘behind’ posts results in one point.

Some of the most exciting moments in AFL games are the ‘marks’ which is when a player takes the ball high in the air displacing another opponent and usually gets a pretty big impact and roar from the crowd.

The two main teams in Western Australia are the West coast eagles and the Fremantle Dockers. And they have a pretty healthy rivalry to boot, you can watch both teams at the Subiaco oval in Perth. Or ‘Subi’ as it’s locally known which has a official capacity of 43,500 and is regularly filled especially on derby days. West Australia is a big lover of the sport and it will regularly dominate the back and sometimes front pages. A big story here when I first came here was one of the Eagle’s star player’s, Ben Cousins being arrested on drug charges live on TV. The guy is a major celebrity here and in terms of fame would be on par with Beckham in the UK. Unfortunately it’s left the club’s name a bit tainted and the butt of a few jokes including the term ‘West Coke Eagles’.

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