Australian rules football
Australian Rules Football, sometimes called Aussie Rules or AFL, is a sport which differs from most types of football in that it is played on an oval field instead of the usual rectangular field, as used by rugby and soccer. As the name suggests, AFL is most popular in Australia, although the sport does have a limited following in numerous other countries. At its highest level, the game is overseen by the Australian Football League (AFL), which gives its name to a national competition of Australia's top 18 teams.
Each Aussie Rules team consists of 18 players who remain on the field for the entirety of the game (with some interchange and injury times). The aim of the game is to kick a ball, shaped somewhat like a rugby ball, through two upright posts at either end of the oval. Each "goal" is worth six points. A miss of a "goal" is called a "behind" and is worth one point. If the ball is touched by any part of the body beyond the leg then one point is scored. A new rule was introduced in 2009, wherby if a team rushes the ball through the opposition's goals, the opposition is awarded a free kick directly in front of the goals. Previously, it had been registered as one point. This leads to score lines which indicate goals, points and totals such as 11.15 (81). The game consists of large kicks (often over 60 metres) and spectacular jumps to catch the ball, resulting in a free kick (called a mark).
Aussie Rules is one of Australia's most popular sports, especially AFL as a spectator sport. The Grand Final can attract up to 100,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground each September. Australian rules football is the sport most attended by Australians; in 2006 2.5 million people had attended at least one Aussie Rules game in the preceding 12 months.
The reigning premiers of the AFL are the Hawthorn Hawks, who are in the middle of a purple patch, having won the last three premierships - against Fremantle in 2013, Sydney (Swans) in 2014 and The West Coast Eagles in 2015.
Teams for the 2016 season are as follows:
|Greater Western Sydney||Giants||New South Wales|
|Port Adelaide||Power||South Australia|
|Sydney||Swans||New South Wales|
|West Coast||Eagles||Western Australia|