If you live in Australia, you already know what the number one sport is. However, if you are just now moving to Australia or hoping to visit there, you may not be certain of the most popular. It is a relatively new game, which was developed in the 19th century. It is the AFL (Australian Football League) and everyone, no matter which part of Australia you are going, loves watching or participating in it.
Melbourne was the first area of Australia to come up with this now very beloved game. It is very popular in Victoria, where people practically live for the months between March and September when this game is being played.
The ALF has 18 separate teams and they each play 23 games per season at home and away. At the end of that 23 game set, the top eight teams are then put up against one another in the final series, which consists of only four rounds. This takes it down to only two teams playing in the AFL Grand Final. The Grand Final is held in Melbourne each year.
Even though the AFL is very similar to America’s NFL, there are still some pretty extreme differences between the two sports. One of the first things a football lover may notice is that the field is much shorter in Australia. The field size is only 85 feet wide and 50 yards long. This also means that the goal posts are shortened from 18 1/2 feet wide to 9ft. However, the cross bar is 5ft higher up. There are rebound nets that are in use and if a kick off or passing play hits one, the ball is still in play.
During gameplay, there are only 20 men to a team and eight players on the field from one team at a time. Scoring works basically the same as in the NFL, but if you have successful drop kicks, you get two extra points. Four if it is done during a field goal. There is no punting allowed in the AFL and overtime is 15 minutes during, which both teams get at least one possession of the ball.
In Australian football, there is also a lack of safety gear. Even though the game is played during the winter months, players wear shirts and shorts. There are no helmets and no padding to protect them from injuries. How is that for a rough and rowdy game of football?