May 29, 2009, Newsletter Issue #308: Australian Sports: Australian Rules football

Tip of the Week

Australian Rules football
Australiaīs own brand of football emerged in 1858, when a group of school-age cricket players in the southern state of Victoria were pursuing a way to keep fit during their off-season. Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar School played the first game of Australian Rules football — also known as "Aussie Rules" or simply "footy" — that year.
The Victorian Football League (VFL), later renamed the Australian Football League (AFL), opened in 1896. For decades the VFL, the sportīs showcase competition, remained the exclusive domain of zealous fans in Victoria, with competitions in South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania attracting only a regional following. However, in recent times, especially given the improving fortunes of the West Coast Eagles, the Adelaide Crows and the Sydney Swans, AFL has become a truly national game.
The sportīs nickname, "aerial ping-pong", stems from its nature as a game of kicking and catching, of tall muscular players making strong but graceful leaps to catch the ball. The high jumps for possession, called marks, are one of the AFLīs distinguishing features.

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