What Is Aussie Rules? This. Is. Aussie Rules
February 15, 2019
Have you ever watched American Football and thought ‘this isn’t brutal enough for me’? Well good news you sadists, Australia has a sport that makes even the most physical NFL match look like ballet. It’s Aussie Rules and we’re going to jump straight in.
Leagues, Pitches and Players
Aussie Rules is played in an oval-shaped field, with cricket grounds often used as retrofit pitches. Matches are comprised of four quarters, with official matches timed at 20 minutes per quarter. The clock can be stopped for various reasons, such as when a goal is scored, when the ball goes out of play or if a player is seriously injured. There can be no more 18 players of each team on the field at any one time, though up to four reserve players may be drafted in for those on the field at any point.
There is no offside rule in the sport and no fixed positions like the goalkeeper in European football. However, there is a typical shape and formation that most teams use. This is usually comprised of six forwards, six defenders and six midfielders. Of these, only four can be in the centre square at any kick-off, whether this be after a quarter, a restart or after a goal is scored.
The sport is mainly contained to Australia, though amateur organisations exist in many countries. Aussie Rules actually has the highest spectator attendance and viewership numbers of any sport in the country and the league is the nation’s wealthiest sports organisation. This might be surprising to those outside of Australia as the Australian Football League is the only professional competition of the sport in the world.
The structure of the league itself is quite complicated as there are various semi-professional tournaments and competitions set up by regional organisations. The biggest prize in Aussie Rules is the Premiership, which is decided by a final series. 18 AFL teams compete in the regular season, with the top eight entering the finals when it ends. These then compete for a place in the Grand Final, where the overall winner is decided.
Goals and Behinds
The actual act of scoring is perhaps the most interesting part of Aussie Rules. There are four posts at the end of each side of the pitch. The two biggest in the middle function as the goal posts, while the smaller posts behind and either side to these are the ‘point’ posts. To score a ‘goal’, the ball must go through the goal posts from a kick without touching the posts or any other player. This will then award six points to the scoring teams.
However, if the ball passes the space between any two posts on the fields in another way, say by the ball hitting the post on the way in, this will constitute a ‘behind’. These are worth only one singular point but are far easier to get. The referee differentiates between the two by holding either two fingers in the air for a goal or one for a behind. This makes Aussie Rules one of the few football-based sports where you can score without the ball actually going through the goalposts.
This, therefore, has created an interesting scorecard for the sport. Points are displayed in a goals/behinds format, so if Team X has scored 7 goals and 4 behinds their score would be written as 7.4 (47). This means that it is possible for a team to lose a game despite scoring more goals than the opposition if the overall points are less, which can provide a few surprises in the Aussie Rules betting odds.
Now I know I mentioned the NFL before, but the two sports are actually quite different. The only real similarity they share is that a group of guys run after an oval-shaped ball while trying to score against each other. There are goalposts at either side of the field which players must kick the ball through to score. Passes can be made by either punching it off the palm or kicking it to a teammate, but it cannot be thrown.
The game is free-flowing for the most part, but if a player catches a kick from the opposition, he will be allowed to carry out the next play unimpeded. This is known as the ‘mark’ and play will stop while the player who caught the ball prepares to kick it. However, if the player feels they are in a good position, he can choose to forgo the set shot and play on from that spot. If he does, the opposition are able to tackle him once play resumes.
Now, with this being a contact sport, one of its most important aspects is the art of tackling. Players can ‘bump’ each other to gain possessions, which essentially means they can shepherd or block others away from the ball. Tackles between the shoulders and knees are allowed, but the ball must be won and then passed on to a teammate cleanly. Foul tackles are penalized by giving a free kick to the other team. Outside of these instances, the ball is always in dispute.
Now you know the basics of the sport, let’s have a look at the Aussie Rules betting odds.
The Betting Opportunities
Unlike many lesser-known sports, there is fantastic potential in the Aussie Rules betting odds because it has an organised league as well as a vast and fervent following. Because of this, there is plenty of coverage afforded to the sport which means you can stay informed and on top of the game. That’s without talking about the qualities of the sport itself. It’s a fast-paced, physical spectacle that can be both captivating and spine-tingling. For the initiated, it might seem barbaric at times. For those in the know, it’s Aussie Rules.
Find all your Aussie Rules betting odds here
Cyrus has been writing about sports and many other topics for major publications over the past five years. Now working in digital marketing, he spends his days arguing over football and dreaming of his beloved Manchester City winning the champions league.