On’yer Mate! – Aussie Rules is 161 Years Old Today
I was not aware that Australian rules football was as old as that. It is the oldest of the world’s major football codes. The first AFL match was played in 1858 between Melbourne Grammar and Scotch College. The game was developed for adult players, with rules suited to the conditions.
For example, smooth turf was unusual in the 19th century and would be difficult to maintain in Australian climes, so rolling the ball along the grass, like they do in soccer, wasn’t suitable. Players bounce the ball–once per three steps or so–in order to carry the ball toward the goal posts.
I’m not a super-huge football fan, but growing up, I watched more than a few league finals. When the Australian-wide AFL was formed in 1990, the AFL Grand Final took on a far larger and epic feel.
The one and only literary agent I ever signed up with was Australian, living in New York. She would fly back to Australia every year to watch the grand final. She is a huge St. Kilda fan.
I’d actually rather watch a cricket match, any day, but AFL is a fast-paced and exciting game to see. If you’d like a sample, here are the highlights from a recent game involving my favourite team, the West Coast Eagles.
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