Underarms, Catamarans and Food Poisonings

Aussie Rules: A game of gulls, small shorts and bouncing balls on a cricket pitch
October 4, 2008, 10:38 am
Filed under: Aussie Rules | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

By Te Waha Nui‘s weird Australian sports correspondents (Angela Beswick, Paul Harper and Wesley Monts)

Last Saturday our nation gathered around screens in pubs and living rooms across the country to see the Warriors fall to Manly in the NRL semifinal.

Hours earlier 100,012 fans of a different sort gathered in a stadium in Melbourne to watch a very different sport.

The ball was still oval, but then so was the field. The players wore singlets and the tiniest of shorts. The game was Aussie Rules and this was the AFL Grand Final.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground, larger than the Bird’s Nest or the new Wembley, was packed for this huge occasion on Australia’s sporting calendar.

Melbourne’s own Hawthorn Hawks were up against favourites the Geelong Cats, in an epic battle for glory.

Aussie rules is a team sport played between two groups of 18 yobbos with a ball in the shape of a prolate spheroid.

For some reason it is played on a cricket pitch, with four posts either end. Strangely enough Aussie rules appears to have … no rules.

From what we understood, the aim is to get into as many barneys as possible, while trying to kick the spheroid through one of the posts.

The centre posts are “goals” (worth six points) and the outer posts are “behinds” (worth one point) – despite being beside.

There’s no offside rule, players can roam the field freely. The ball must be bounced occasionally, there’s no throwing, only punching. Players can tackle – and touch – each other using their hands or whole body.

It seems the players aren’t the only ones playing the game. Umpires (there’s eight plus one emergency replacement) lob the ball overhead for a lineout and throw the ball at the ground occasionally.

They pull off some very Billy Bowden-esque gestures when points are scored.

We’re not sure why, but bizarre men dressed in fluoro wander aimlessly, behaving like seedy flashers.

Geelong had a fair suck of the sav, and were given more than enough chances to clean up. If a few more of their behinds had been goals they would have won, but Hawthorn pulled away in the third quarter.

The mighty Hawks took out the trophy with a whopping 115 to Geelong’s 89. On ya mate!

The Hawks, despite being from Melbourne, are sponsored by the Tasmanian state government. The win saw a party in Hobart rivalled only by celebrations after those two guys got out of the Beaconsfield mine.

The grand final had one notable omission: seagulls. The two semi-finals were plagued by the feathered creatures.

Half time gives the chance to fire up the barbie, and grill some snags.
We suspect the gull summoning ceremony, whereby breadcrumbs are thrown onto the field in celebration, was cancelled. In its place was a half-time sprint and some children showing the pros how it’s done.

The only way to really watch Aussie Rules is to get ridiculously drunk, mute the TV, and provide your own commentary.

Also, pick a player who will then be referred to as “my guy”. It’s also fun to give them individual nicknames. This makes the game much more entertaining when your friend’s players do amusing or erotic things.

Take Paul’s “guy” for example – Jason Akermanis (El Pirato), who in the semi final (Geelong vs. Western Bulldogs) appeared to have slipped a Geelong player the Hopoate-style sneaky digit while he was bent over picking himself up off the field.

Unfortunately this team didn’t make the Grand Final, so being the greedy person that he is, Paul took on a second “guy”, Chance Bateman (Andrew Symonds lookalike) who split his chin open but played on with a bandage wrapped around his head. What a legend.

Wes’ “guy” Cameron Ling looked like a ginger bear, won ‘best and fairest’ once, and was a “Rising Star” nominee in 2001, all while being named “most determined and most dedicated ‘05″. Awwww, fair dinkum.

And Angela’s pick, good ol’ Cyril Rioli (Ernie Dingo) has something to do with an aboriginal health foundation for the kids. What a neat guy.

We will definitely be watching AFL next year, it’s heaps good.

Originally published in Te Waha Nui, AUT’s student newspaper.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

haha. Great assesment of the game. The GF day you described is probably the best way to enjoy the game. Very amusing.

Comment by afl jacket

Cheers! I’ll definitely be watching it again next year, love to go along to a game one day too!

Comment by underground

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