Australians call it football. The rest of the world calls it either rugby or soccer. But Australia’s version of football is neither. Locally known as Aussie Rules or simply “footy,” football is one of the, if not the, most popular sports in the country down under. Australians go crazy for the games, especially on the local holiday the Anzac day. Play wise, Australian football is in its own league. Here are several factors that actually differentiates Aussie footy from what the rest of the world calls football:

It’s Based on an Aboriginal Game

Kicking a ball around with your foot does remind people of soccer or rugby. Indeed, even Aussies used to believe that football was based on overseas ball games. But there’s strong evidence to show that Australian football was based on an old Aboriginal game called Marngrook. That game also involves players kicking around a ball made from animal hide. In the 19th century, it’s understood that three cricketers watch the original Aboriginal game, and then developed their own version of it called it “football”. In modern day, Australian football is played with two opposing teams, each comprising 22 players. It’s estimated that over 100,000 people play this version of football not just in Australia, but also in other parts of the world such as South Africa.

Players Cannot Throw the Ball

In rugby, players can throw the ball to other players. In footy, the players can only kick the ball towards others. There’s also another version to handle the ball called “hand ball,” which allows a player to hand the ball to others on the team. As a result, Australian football can be as exciting as major league soccer in Europe. That’s all the more reason to book your AFL tickets to enjoy a great game at the stadium.

There’s a Fake Award for the Losing Team

Obviously, not all teams make it to the premier league games. Those who end up on the bottom ring of the ladder gets an “award too“. It’s called getting the wooden spoon, but the award itself is fake and doesn’t have a physical form.

Anzac Day is the Best Day to Watch Football

Anzac Day is a national holiday that Australians celebrate with family time, food, and lots and lots of football. Anzac Day games are so popular that you would definitely see packed stadiums on that day. It’s ironic because Anzac Day football was once banned by the Australian government. But after a march or two, the law was lifted. Now all Aussies are free to lose their minds over footy.

There is No Time Limit to How Long a Game Can Go On

Unlike most games, Australian football has no time limit. Players can continue to play for as long as they want. Once in 1858, a footy game was played for over three days! Since the advent of television, games were segmented for easy broadcast. Even with that, once in 1996, a footy game continued along for more than a day.

Aussie football is full of fun moments and has a colourful history. So don’t miss a game if you are ever in the country.

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