A Girl’s Guide to Footy

February 10, 2010

It’s Aussie. It rules. And it’s coming to a town near you for another season! Want to get in on all the AFL action? Take this girl’s guide to Australia’s own sport. By Sarah Halls.

Have you noticed lately that the men of Australia have a bounce in their step? That they’re whistling as they walk and high-fiving each other more than usual? My female intuition tells me that something’s up. And I’ve figured out what it is: It’s the pre-AFL season anticipation!

Ladies, it’s coming. Six months of endless televised coverage of men running around in little shorts, kicking a ball (that is anything but round) through two poles. And the guys of Australia can’t wait for it.

Yes, I used to make that groaning noise too. I would rather have cleaned the toilet than watch an AFL game. However, this all changed on one bed-ridden, sinus-congested day. With tissues hanging out of my nose, I switched on the television and decided to see what all the fuss was about.

Now I’m hooked! Admittedly, it was the fit bodies that kept me entertained at first. But that gradually evolved into a genuine appreciation of the game. I now support a team, join the queues at the MCG, know who Andrew Demetriou is, and count down the days until Grand Final day. It did take a while to understand all the rules. I had to ask all those girly questions that guys seem to laugh at. A re-enactment of the game with a team of bottle tops and one of corn chips seemed to do the trick.

Want to join in on all the fun? There are many perks. For the single ladies, knowing about the AFL will provide countless mingling opportunities: where there is footy, there are guys! For the loved-up ladies, it will offer another way to spend more time with your partner (without him moaning), and will give you an opportunity to admire some muscles from afar.

Are you ready to impress? Take notes from this fast-track guide to the AFL – from a girl’s perspective:

1. There are 18 sexy players per team on the field at any one time.

2. The game has four quarters, of 20 minutes each.

3. Time is added on to each quarter for delays, such as the ball going out of bounds.

4. Teams change ends of the playing field after every quarter. (I just saved you from screaming out: ‘They’re going the wrong way!’)

5. Points are scored by kicking the ball through two different sets of goalposts. If the ball is kicked through the two middle posts, the team will gain six points (two flags up). If the ball is kicked through any of the two side posts, the team will gain one point (one flag up).

6. If the ball hits the goalpost, it is classed as one point.

7. A player with the ball can only be tackled above the knees and below the neck. (This really just leaves the most precious bits exposed, doesn’t it?)

8. A mark is catching the ball directly from the kick of another player. The ball must have travelled at least 15 meters. If a player gets a mark, they are able to kick the ball without being tackled. (Hitching a ride on the back of another player is allowed when reaching a mark, and will probably get you an awesome photo in the newspapers.)

9. A player running with the ball must bounce the ball or touch it on the ground every 15 meters.

10. Players must get rid of the ball when held by an opponent.

11. Pushing opponents in the back or tripping players will allow the opposition a free kick. (No dirty playing allowed!)

12. Common footy terms:

• hammy = hamstring

• reco = reconstruction, such as knee or shoulder reconstruction

• screamer = massively high mark

• Brownlow = highest honour a player can win. Awarded after the Grand Final.

Now go on, grab your beer and meat pie and get in on the knee-slapping action!

By Sarah Halls

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