A Quick Guide to the Aussie Football League

As we're all sitting on the sidelines, it's a great time to get the lowdown on Australian Rules Football — or footy — and what the sport is all about.

Where: The Melbourne Cricket Ground, or MCG for short, is the modern home of the Australian Football League, the professional league for Aussie rules football

What to know: There are 19 teams from states across the country, but a bulk of them originate from Victoria. The high-contact sport, which is played between two teams over four quarters, involves kicking a ball, handballing it (definitely not throwing!) and running and outplaying the opponent. Goalposts are located on either side of the massive footy oval; each time a team kicks the ball between the two longer posts, a goal is scored, and six points are awarded. One point is given if the ball falls — a behind — between the two outside posts. The team with the highest score when the buzzer sounds wins. Go team!

Who to look out for: The Tigers (Richmond Football Club) took the flag last year, but all eyes are on the teams who recruited well during the off-season — the Saints (St Kilda Football Club), Dockers (Fremantle Football Club) and the Bulldogs (Western Bulldogs Football Club). The Hawks (Hawthorn Football Club), with their experienced lineup, are also favorites.


How to Blend In

Some essential footy terms to match your stadium experience, complete with a team song and a pie in hand:

  • Barrack: Cheering for a team. “Who do I barrack for? The Mighty Fighting Hawks, of course!”
  • Blinder: Excellent performance. Used regularly by footy commentators
  • Chicken wing tackle: An illegal tackle, where a player pins an opposing player to the ground
  • Clanger: A horrible and sometimes costly mistake. One such instance is kicking the ball to the opposition
  • Banana: A kick that causes the ball to curve in a certain direction
  • Grubber: A kick that causes the ball to dribble on the ground, rather than soar through the air
  • Hip-and-shoulder: Bumping a player legally and showing the other team who’s boss on the field
  • Mark: Catching a ball that has traveled with no contact for at least 15 meters across the oval
  • Specky: A spectacular mark, where a player manages a catch by jumping on another’s back
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