…according to Lonely Planet Guides is to attend an Aussie Rules Football game.
We found our way to Etihad Stadium in Melbourne to watch the North Melbourne Kangaroos play the West Coast Eagles on Sunday afternoon for the kick-off weekend of play, with only a quick Wikipedia review of the rules the day before. It is a fast paced game where you can kick or punch the ball to a teammate, but you cannot throw (pass) the ball to them. Other than that there are only a few things you cannot do… not sure entirely what those are having watched a full game where there was plenty of contact and speed. Described as a mix between rugby, American football and football (soccer) it certainly lives up to that description.
We were fortunate to have two great fans behind us from Perth (West Coast) who are season ticket holders from the first day of their team. They explained the basic rules to us…
- You cannot pass the ball – must be punched or kicked.
- You cannot hold the ball for more than three seconds when tackled.
- You must touch the ball to the ground if you run more than 15 metres with it (can be bounced off the ground like dribbling in basketball).
- You cannot hit above the neck or below the knees, or hit from behind (although not sure that is fully enforced).
- If it is kicked more than 15 meters and caught then it is called a ‘mark’ and you can stop the play briefly before continuing. If you catch it within 50 meters of the posts then you can kick for goal.
- 6 points for a goal, 1 point if you kick it wide but within the outside posts or if it hits the post.
That’s it – pretty easy set of rules… and then the teams play four 25 minute quarters and the players typically cover 15-18km a game. They are incredibly fit – and look it!
It was certainly a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Melbourne before heading home to a great dinner of potato-leek soup – one of the favourites of the family.