The Game

Australian Rules Football, also known as Australian Football, Footy or Aussie Rules (and in some regions is marketed as AFL, after the Australian Football League) is a sport played between two teams of 18 players on the field on either an Australian Football ground, a modified cricket field or similar sized sports venue. The game’s objective is to move the ball downfield and kick the ball through the team’s goal. The main way to score points is by kicking the ball between the two tall goal posts. The team with the higher total score at the end of the match wins.AFL-Ground

In Australian Football, there are two types of scores: a goal, and a behind. There are four posts at each end of the ground; the two middle (and taller) posts are the goal posts, and the two outer (and shorter) posts are the behind posts. The area between the goal posts is the goal: kicking the ball between these posts scores a goal which is worth six points. Kicking the ball between a goal and a behind post scores abehind, which constitutes a single point. A behind is also scored if the ball passes between the goal posts, but is not kicked by the attacking team (e.g., it comes off the hands of either team, or is kicked by the defending team), or if the ball hits the goal post. (If the ball hits the behind post, the ball is considered to have gone out of bounds.) A rushed behind (also worth one point) is scored when the defending team deliberately forces the ball between any of the posts. This may occur in pressure situations where a defender decides that it is safer to concede one point to the opposing team rather than risk a goal being scored. Players may position themselves anywhere on the field and use any part of their bodies to move the ball.

The primary methods are kicking, handballing and running with the ball. There are rules on how the ball can be handled: for example, players running with the ball must intermittently bounce or touch it on the ground. Throwing the ball is not allowed. A distinctive feature of the game is the mark, where players anywhere on the field who catch a ball from a kick (with specific conditions) are awarded possession. Australian Football is a contact sport, in which players can tackle using their hands or use their whole body to obstruct opponents. Frequent physical contests, spectacular marking, fast movement of both players and the ball and high scoring are the game’s main attributes. The most prestigious competition is the Australian Football League (AFL), culminating in the annual AFL Grand Final, currently the highest attended club championship event in the world.

Australian Rules Football in India

The sport was launched in India at Kolkata in early 2008, with Ricky Ponting, then Australian cricket captain, and was restricted to the state of West Bengal till 2010 when Kerala became the second state to take up the new sport. Later in 2011, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu came into the picture and gradually resulted in the inaugural inter-state tournament of Australian Football in India at Kozhikode, which was heldin December 2012 followed by the second season in Goa in November 2013.
Internationally, a team representing India, called the ‘Indian Tigers’ have been participating in the AFL International Cup (supposed to be the World Cup of the sport), held in Australia every three years. The Indian Tigers played their first international match against New Zealand Hawks in 2008 and registered their first international victory against Timor Leste Crocodiles in AFL International Cup 2011, under the captainship of Sudip Chakraborty from Kolkata. The Tigers are all set to take on another International Cup venture this August in Melbourne, hoping to better their feat achieved in 2011.