Aussie Rules

Aussie Rules

Hey Everyone!

I'd like to welcome Mel A. Rowe back to my blog to have a chat about one of Australia's most popular sports. The first official game of the season is kicking off today. Over to you, Mel.

Aussie Rules played Territorian Style

Because I wrote a Sports Romance about Football, also known as Footy, or Aussie Rules, I thought I’d better explain the game of many names. Officially, it is known as AFL (Australian Football League) that is an internationally-recognised Australian sport many enjoy and play during Winter…

Except in the Top End of Australia. 

Why do they play a winter sport in summer in the Northern Territory (NT)?

Because in the Dry season (winter), it doesn’t rain for months and our ovals’ turn into cricket-pitches. And, because we’re hardly home during winter. Roads are re-opened, cattle musters are on, mines are at full operations, and the tourism season is at its peak. So, all our NT AFL players are busy.

Not that we don’t love the game, in fact, it’s the Northern Territory’s most loved sport. We have more registered players and fans per capita than anywhere else in the country. It is also noted that the NT had the longest football season than any other Australian state, which may be due to the NT players indulging in a mid-season break for Christmas.

On the many indigenous communities I’ve been to, the skill level is amazing to watch where they play in the warm summer rain. Their clubhouses are tin sheds for shade while they play in 30+ degrees for the love of the game. They regularly reschedule games from flooded roads or cyclones, but the game still goes on. The only time a game of footy actually stops is for lightening.

Night games are rare because in the Wet Season (summer) the lights attract any and every bug around—they’re not little bugs, we’re talking the big Christmas beetles. Biting march flies. Moths the size of your hands. And let’s not forget the platoon squadrons of midges and mosquitos.

Why do so many Territorian’s love Football?

The Northern Territory (NT) may be one of the larger states in Australia, but it also has the smallest in population which is the excuse for not having a National team. However, we do get one visiting AFL elite game per year—kind of like the circus coming to town.

The NT population is transient where people only stay a few years, creating an environment where it’s easy to meet new friends. Especially football season. In any rural NT pub, a football game will be displayed on the screen above the bar where customers playfully banter with each other. I’ve known many who listen to the game while fishing, working etc while on the radio. You’d hear it on trucker’s radios asking for score-updates while steering their road trains along the desolate outback highways. Some have been known to drag their TV’s with them (prior to tablets) to never miss a game while camping.

Besides the Indigenous All-Stars being filled with Territorians, it’s a game that brilliantly brings all cultures together.

Basics of Aussie Rules

It’s an easy game (from the couch side of the screen) to enjoy. Although they change the rules annually, the sport essentially has remained the same since the early 1900’s. You either kick or handball the football from the centre to score goals (6 points) past the opposition while defending your own goal. The one with the highest number of points wins. The more games your team wins, the higher up the ladder you go, until you reach the grand final for the Premiership cup. Then you start with clean slates the next year for the new season.

And that is as in-depth as I get with the intricacies of football in my rural-contemporary romance novel, The Football Whisperer. It’s where an injured Aussie Rules Footballer, seeks a remedy in rural Australia. But at what cost—the love of his life or the life he loves… 

 If you enjoy quirky characters and witty dialogue, then you'll love The Football Whisperer.

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