If you’re mystified by Australia’s wildlife, stumped by the accent and can’t figure out which side of the road you’re supposed to drive on, you’ll be pleased to know that things only get more confusing. We also play some pretty strange sports.
Australian Rules is our very own interpretation of football. Similar in some ways to rugby, yet completely different in others. The game is played on an oval-shaped field, and involves a combination of kicking the ball through the opposing team’s goalposts its a combination of soccer and rugby, played on a cricket oval.
The exact origins of the sport are the subject of much debate, though it’s generally agreed that Australian Rules was born in Melbourne around the mid 19th century. Today the AFL is the sport’s professional league, and encompasses 17 teams from around the country.
Australian football is supremely popular in the southern states. Melbourne is the proud homeland of this unique sport, and you can’t visit the city without encountering its influence. Even if you don’t attend a match, you’ll hear talk of the game everywhere you go. Melburnians are completely and utterly obsessed with the sport, and proud of it too.
If you’re even the slightest bit interested in Australia’s sporting culture, catching an AFL match at the Etihad Stadium or Melbourne Cricket Ground is highly recommended. Grab yourself a beer and a meat pie, sit down, and prepare to experience Australian sport in its purest form. You won’t be disappointed.
AFL Grand Final
The AFL Grand Final is the blockbuster finale to the Australian Football League season. The game is played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and is watched by around 100,000 spectators. The Grand Final is usually scheduled for the last Saturday in September although on several occasions, due to draws or the scheduling, the game is played in early October.
The Grand Final is also a week of football with daily events leading up to the big game. The Brownlow Medal presentation on the Monday night crowns the AFL’s Best And Fairest player of the year. This award is voted on by the game’s umpires and often results in an unexpected winner.
The training sessions of the competing teams bring in large crowds during the week. On the Friday before the game, the AFL Grand Final Parade goes through Melbourne with all the players on show. A morning event called the Grand Final breakfast is tradition that often showcases the leaders of Australian sport, entertainment and politics.
Three AFL teams based in Melbourne have won the most Grand Finals, Carlton, Essendon and Collingwood. In recent years the interstate teams have been successful with wins to West Coast, Adelaide, Brisbane, Port Adelaide and Sydney.
After the game, the player judged to be best on ground receives the Norm Smith Medal and then the AFL Premiership Cup is presented to the winning coach and captain.
One key component of the Grand Final is the pregame entertainment. International stars like Lionel Richie and Irene Cara have p