AFLI must admit that since moving to Switzerland I have missed one thing. Football. Now I’m not talking about the round ball type of football that is so beautifully described as a gentleman’s game played by thugs. Nor am I talking about rugby, which is the opposite. A thug’s game played by gentlemen. Nor am I talking about American football. The crash helmets still baffle me. Sorry. The code of football that I have been missing is Australian Rules Football; sometimes called ‘no rules’ football or simply AFL. (Australian Football League)

The one important difference between AFL and every other code of football is that there is no offside rule whatsoever. So a player has no idea at all where an opposition player may be coming at him from. The other subtle difference is that a player’s hips and shoulders can be used legitimately, within five meters of the ball, to ‘shepherd’ an opposition player out of play. Now this is where it gets very interesting. Very tall, muscular men running at very high speed in pursuit of the football from any direction at all, (remember no offside rule) and you have a delicious recipe for monumental crunches.

As a spectator at a match, I can honestly tell you that when one of these legitimate ‘shepherds’ happens at high speed, it makes a certain type bone crunching noise that makes one rather weak at the knees.

Now of course as a young lad in Australia I played Aussie Rules football as it was compulsory at school, and oh boy, did I love it! Well, the playing was great, but my long list of broken bones is another story. There was never a winter for me between the ages of ten and sixteen when I wasn’t wearing a plaster cast for one broken bone or another. Clearly I wasn’t built big and tough enough.

Just to give you a taste of what sport I played and loved as a kid, take a look at this short Youtube video. Got your beer and peanuts ready?

Real Football For Real Men
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5 thoughts on “Real Football For Real Men

  • 29/08/2011 at 11:30 am
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    While I enjoy AFL Derek, I still prefer Rugby League. Now there’s a real blokes game. :D

    • 29/08/2011 at 1:45 pm
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      I was always a Rugby Union follower in Sydney Jack. When I wasn’t watching the mighty Swans that is!

  • 30/08/2011 at 11:35 am
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    Me loves some flying ping pong – Go the Bombers. However you really have not seen grace and athleticism until you have seen my Australian local team (Imalu) and the league they play in (Tiwi). Leaves the stuff on the standard Telly for dead.
    I grew up in a tripartisan football household. Three codes were heavily support League, union and aussie rules equally. Soccer did not even get a mention cause that is not football.

    My son now plays soccer since we are living in England and even supports one of the local teams – Liverpool. Just to be contrary even though she does not like the game daughter supports Everton. Good little Aussie she is just to be chip off the old block of her mother who is working on her wooden spoon ability ala Stirer. I am the only mom who calls it soccer here and the coach knows I do not consider it to be a real game.

    MIL was a diehard Collywobble and gave her grankids the standard kit which did not go down with this Bomber. MIL made it to 1958 and 1990 grand finals from the Top End (plus nine unsuccessful attempts in between) so you know I married into the enemy camp.

  • 30/08/2011 at 9:37 pm
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    You have made my day Kotaatok! NT football is the absolute best. More akin to ballet than footy! Beautiful to watch. I gotta tell you though that as I am from Perth, I’m a West Coast Eagles supporter. Sorry. But I do have a Collingwood keyring. For some reason, I just have a soft spot for the Magies. Maybe something to do with Mick Malthouse.

    Great to hear form you!

  • 30/08/2011 at 10:05 pm
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    I am 3 generation bomber and we have had the odd Tiwi boy down the big smoke playing for them. In Darwin I am a Tahs aka Warratah supporter since part of the family was the back row in many many a picture. You know it is bad when you get in trouble for playing for the wrong sports club in the Darwin cause the Tahs were not fielding a ladies netball team in the current comp. How dare I go and play for the postal institute aka Pints I was almost lynched by my granny. Hubby does not dear to say yeah collingwood anywhere near me cause it would be rations for him.

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