Have you ever watched Australian Rules Football?
Soon, the Aussies will be witnessing American college football up close and personal as California and Hawaii clash in Sydney to kick off the 2016 college football season (Friday, August 26 at 10 p.m. Eastern Time). But this won't be the type of football they're used to, and passionate about.
Australians play several different styles of football. There is soccer, of course, and Rugby. But there is also Australian Rules Football, or "footy". And they love to wager on it as sports betting is commonplace in Australia where you can find the odds for all the AFL games of 2016.
The down-under version of football dates back to the mid-1800's. Their version of the NFL is the Australian Football League which was established as the Victorian Football League in 1897.
Footy is played with 18 players on the field for each team, each clad in shorts and tank tops with no pads or helmets. Movement is constant, stoppages are few, and contact can be quite vicious. Only 3 substitutions are allowed over the duration of a contest that consists of four 20-minute quarters.
The professional version of the game is most commonly played in cricket stadiums. A massive oval field typically measures about 175 yards from end-to-end. The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) has been in service since 1853 and now holds 100,000 spectators for footy and cricket matches.
According to Australia.com, footy has a fusion of influences, including the Irish game of ‘caid’, rugby union and traditional Aboriginal games such as marngrook.
To Americans, the sport could appear to incorporate basketball, soccer, rugby, volleyball and American football.
Matches begin with a basketball-like jump ball that is called a 'ball up' when the umpire bounces the footy off the ground and into the air. The footy is a rugby-like ball which is most-often advanced by kicking it to your teammates. A hand pass uses a volleyball underhand serve method, and running the ball is permitted as long as the player bounces it every 15 meters.
Scoring occurs when the ball is kicked between any of 4 vertical posts at each end. Nail it between the 2 taller center posts and your team tallies a 6-point goal. A kick outside the center posts, but within the outer posts, scores a 1-point "behind".
Aussie Rules football has become quite popular in the United States. AFL games are broadcast regularly in America on Fox Sports 1, and the United States Australian Football League (USAFL) features over 30 teams from New York to Portland.
So as U.S. collegiate football gets ready to hit Australia for the first Sydney College Football Cup, do yourself a favor and check out some footy as soon as possible.