Popular – national sport

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The passion and dedication is evident on this young mans face

Popular – Australian Football, known locally as AFL is becoming more and more popular and is now being played in countries across the globe, including, Europe, North America, Africa, the Middle East and the Pacific. The Grand Final of AFL in Australia was played over the weekend in Melbourne, between a local team, Richmond Tigers and and interstate team the Adelaide Crows.  A crowd of over 100,000 watched Richmond Tigers win by 48 points, breaking a 37 year drought.

Australian Football is a fast flowing spectacle with 18 players on the field per team, with the game being played with the empasis on kicking, handball using two hands and running and fair tackling.  With two centre goal posts at either end of an oval, which if the ball is kicked through the middle, the result is six points added to the score. On either side of the two centre goal posts are a point post, which if the ball is kicked between the goal post and the point post the result being one point.

The fans are passionate and fanatical, and fierce rivalry and  love/hate relationships exists between neighbouring clubs.

Throughout Australia, thousands of school children, both boys and girls are playing the game each weekend. During the week, school representative teams are vying for area supremacy.

My Irish family ancestors have told me that Australian Football came to Australia with the Irish Immigrants in the 1850’s . Australian Football teams in those days and still do at country level, use an oval that is used to play cricket in the summer months. The game was adapted from Gaelic Football, which was played with a round ball and on a rectangle shaped field at the time. The first game was played in Melbourne in 1858. However, Wikipedia says the the early game was based on English Public School football at the time.

I would prefer to believe my ancestors, who were passionate, dedicated and we had quite a few elite sportsmen, who went on to play the code at a national level. Now the game has been opened up to women and will the female game will progress and become as popular as the men’s code I am sure.

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