General Rules of Australian Football

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Australian Football, also known as Australian Rules Football or simply Aussie Rules, is a sport that originated in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in the 1850s. It is a unique football code that combines elements of soccer, rugby, and Gaelic football. The sport is played between two teams of 18 players on an oval-shaped field, with the aim of kicking the ball between the opposing team’s goal posts.

The sport was first codified by Tom Wills, a cricketer and footballer who wrote the first set of rules for the game in 1858. The first match played under these rules was between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar School in 1858. The Melbourne Football Club, which was established in 1858, is recognized as the oldest football club of any code in the world.

The sport quickly gained popularity in Melbourne and soon spread to other parts of Victoria, as well as other Australian colonies. The first intercolonial match was played in 1879 between Victoria and South Australia. The Victorian Football League (VFL) was formed in 1896, which later became the Australian Football League (AFL) in 1990. The AFL is the premier professional league for the sport and is contested by 18 teams from across Australia.

Australian Football is now the most popular sport in the state of Victoria and is also popular in other parts of Australia, particularly in South Australia, Western Australia, and the Australian Capital Territory. It is also played at amateur and junior levels throughout the country.

Scoring in Australian Football

Scoring in Australian Football is done by kicking the ball between the opposing team’s goal posts. There are four types of scores in the game: goals, behinds, overs and points.

A goal is scored when the ball is kicked through the middle two goal posts. A goal is worth 6 points.

A behind is scored when the ball is kicked through any of the outer two goal posts, or if the ball hits a goal post or the crossbar and goes through. A behind is worth 1 point.

An over is scored when the ball goes over the crossbar without going through the posts, it is worth 0 points.

Points are awarded for scoring a goal or behind.

The team that scores the most points at the end of the game wins. If the scores are tied at the end of the game, the game is considered a draw.

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In addition, there is a feature called “Behinds” which is a way of scoring in Australian Football where the ball is kicked between the outer goal post and the behind post, it is a way of scoring 1 point.

It is important to note that it is not easy to score in Australian Football, the ball is oval shape and it is harder to handle than a round ball, also, the field is quite large, and the ball is kicked and hand passed, not thrown or carried, this makes the game quite different from other football codes.

Common Terminologies in Australian Football

There are many specific terms and phrases used in Australian Football that may be unfamiliar to those who are new to the sport. Here are a few common ones:

  • “Mark”: A mark is when a player catches the ball cleanly off a kick from another player. A player who takes a mark is entitled to a free kick.
  • “Handball”: A handball is when a player uses their hand or arm to touch the ball, instead of kicking it.
  • “Behind”: Scored when the ball goes between a goal post and behind post, it is a way of scoring 1 point
  • “Bounce”: A bounce is when the ball is bounced on the ground once by the player in possession of it.
  • “Centre bounce”: A centre bounce is a way to start the game or restart it after a goal is scored, it is taken at the centre of the ground by the umpire.
  • “Clearance”: A clearance is when a team gets the ball out of its defensive area and into the midfield or forward area.
  • “Contested possession”: A contested possession is when two or more players are physically fighting for control of the ball.
  • “Frees”: frees are awarded to a player who has been fouled or impeded in some way.
  • “Pack”: A pack refers to a group of players who are closely grouped together in a contest for the ball.
  • “Possesion”: Possession refers to having control of the ball.
  • “Ruck”: A ruck is when two or more players jump to try and tap the ball to a teammate.
  • “Wing”: A wing is a position on the field, referring to the area on the outside of the center square.
  • “Full Forward”: The Full forward is a player positioned closest to the opposing team’s goal and their main role is to score goals.
  • “Half Back”: The Half-back is a player positioned in the defensive part of the field, their role is to defend against the opposing team’s attacks and to provide rebound for the team’s attack.
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This list is not exhaustive but it gives a general idea of some of the terms and phrases used in Australian Football.

Penalties in Australian Football

In Australian Football, penalties are given for various infractions of the rules, including fouls, breaches of the ball-handling rules, and unsportsmanlike conduct.

  • A “Free Kick” is awarded to a player who has been fouled or impeded in some way. The player who takes the free kick is entitled to kick the ball without any interference from the opposing team.
  • “50 Meters Penalty” is a penalty awarded to the player who has taken a mark, it is taken 50 meters closer to the opposing team’s goal, this penalty is given when a player is impeded while attempting to take a mark.
  • “Play on” is a call made by the umpire when a player has not committed a clear rule infraction and play is allowed to continue.
  • “Out of bounds” is a call made by the umpire when the ball has gone out of the field of play.
  • “Shepherd” is when a player uses their body to block or impede an opposing player who is trying to get to the ball. It is considered a penalty and a free kick is awarded to the opposing team.
  • “Holding the ball” is when a player is tackled and does not dispose of the ball correctly. A free kick is awarded to the opposing team.
  • “Deliberate out of bounds” is when a player deliberately kicks or handballs the ball out of bounds. A free kick is awarded to the opposing team.
  • “High Contact” is when a player makes high contact with an opposing player, whether it is a bump, a hit or a tackle. A free kick is awarded to the opposing team.

It is important to note that these penalties are not exhaustive and depending on the situation, other penalties may be applied, and some of them may lead to suspension or fines.

10 General Rules of Australian Football

  1. The ball must be kicked or hit with a closed fist (handball) and not carried or thrown.
  2. The ball can be kicked in any direction.
  3. The ball can be touched with any part of the body, but cannot be caught with the hands or arms.
  4. The game is played on an oval-shaped field, with four goal posts at each end.
  5. Points are scored by kicking the ball between the middle two goal posts for a goal (worth 6 points) or between any of the outer two goal posts for a behind (worth 1 point).
  6. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins. If the scores are tied, the game is considered a draw.
  7. A player may take a mark (catch the ball cleanly off a kick from another player) and receive a free kick.
  8. Players may not make high contact with an opposing player, whether it is a bump, a hit or a tackle, it will be considered as a penalty.
  9. A player in possession of the ball must dispose of it within a reasonable time frame, if not, the opposing team will be awarded with a free kick.
  10. The game is divided into four quarters, with a break at halftime and time-on is added to the end of each quarter to compensate for time lost during the game.
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It’s worth noting that these are general rules and there are many other specific rules and regulations that govern the game, but this list gives you a good idea of the basic principles of Australian Football.

FAQs

1. What is Australian Football also known as?

Australian Football is also known as Aussie Rules or simply footy.

2. How many players are on a team in Australian Football?

Australian Football teams consist of 18 players on the field at one time.

3. What is the main objective in Australian Football?

The main objective in Australian Football is to score points by kicking the ball between the opposing team’s goal posts.

4. How long is an Australian Football match?

An Australian Football match typically lasts for four quarters, with each quarter lasting 20 minutes plus time-on.

5. What are the dimensions of an Australian Football field?

The dimensions of an Australian Football field typically ranges between 135-185m in length and 110-155m in width

6. Are there any restriction on tackling in Australian Football?

Yes, there are rules that govern tackling in Australian Football, for example, a player may not tackle above the shoulders or below the knees.

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