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Australian football, also commonly referred to as football, or Aussie rules, colloquially as footy, and historically as Australasian football or Victorian football, is a variant of football played between two teams of 18 players, plus four interchange players, outdoors on large oval-shaped grass fields (often modified cricket fields), with a ball in the shape of a prolate spheroid.

The primary aim of the game is to score goals by kick the ball between the middle two posts of the opposing goal. The winner is the team with the higher total score at the end of the fourth quarter. Except for special circumstances, if the score is tied a draw is declared.

Players may use any part of their body to advance the ball. The primary methods are kicking, handballing and running with the ball. There are rules on how the ball can be handled, for example players running with the ball must intermittently bounce or touch it on the ground, throwing the ball is not allowed and players must not get caught holding the ball. Unlike most similar sports, there is no offside rule, and players can roam the field freely. Possession of the ball is in dispute at all times except when a free kick is paid. A distinctive feature of the game is the mark, where players anywhere on the field who catch a ball from a kick (with specific conditions), are awarded a free kick. Australian rules is a contact sport, in which players can tackle using their hands or use their whole body to obstruct opponents. Dangerous physical contact (such as a pushing an opponent in the back), interference when marking and deliberately slowing the play are discouraged with free kicks, distance penalties or suspension, depending on the seriousness of the infringement. Frequent physical contests, aerial marking or "speckies", fast movement of both players and the ball and high scoring are the game's main attributes.

Details of the game's origins in Australia are obscure and still the subject of much debate. Australian football became organised in Melbourne in 1858 with a series of experimental rules in a bid to keep cricketers fit during the winter months and in 1859 the first laws of the game were published by the Melbourne Football Club.

Australian football is a major participation and spectator sport in Australia and in Nauru. The most prestigious and only national competition in Australia is the Australian Football League (AFL), which culminates in the annual AFL Grand Final, currently the fourth highest attended club championship event in the world. The AFL has governed the sport nationally since 1993 and internationally since 2005 through the AFL Commission and the AFL Laws of the Game Committee. The game is also played at amateur level in several countries and in several variations.

Rules of the game

Precise field and goal kicking using the elliptical ball is the key skill in Australian rules football


The playing field, which may be approximately 150 metres (or more) long goal to goal and 135 metres (or more) wide boundary line to boundary line wing to wing.
Approximately 3 to 5 metres of boundary line space from the boundary line to the fence is also required.
The centre square is 50m x 50m.
The curved fifty metre line is away from the centre of the goal.
For professional Australian Football the 50 metre lines should not intersect the front or back edge of the centre square (which is why 150m from goal to goal is considered about regulation size (some grounds are longer)).
Adjacent goal and behind posts are 6.4 metres apart.
The goal square is 9m long.


Both the ball and the field of play are elliptical in shape. No more than 18 players of each team are permitted to be on the field at any time.

Up to four interchange (reserve) players may be swapped for those on the field at any time during the game. In Australian rules terminology, these players wait for substitution "on the bench" - an area with a row of seats on the sideline. In Round 8, 2008 a new rule was introduced for the remainder of the season. The AFL club has to lodge a piece of paper with an attendant AFL official detailing the player to come off the ground and his replacement.

There is no offside rule nor are there set positions in the rules; unlike many other forms of football, players from both teams disperse across the whole field before the start of play. However, only four players from each team are allowed within the centre square before every centre bounce, which occurs at the commencement of each quarter, and to restart the game after a goal is scored. There are also other rules pertaining to allowed player positions during set plays (i.e., after a mark or free kick) and during kick-ins following the scoring of a behind.

A game consists of four quarters and a timekeeper officiates their duration. In professional Australian Football, quarters are 20 minutes plus time on. Time on refers to clock being stopped when the ball is out of play, meaning that an average quarter could last for 27 to 31 minutes. At the end of each quarter, teams change their scoring end.

Games are officiated by umpire. Australian football begins after the first siren, the umpire bounces the ball on the ground (or throws it into the air if the condition of the ground is poor), and the two ruckmen (typically the tallest players from each team), battle for the ball in the air on its way back down.

The ball can be propelled in any direction by way of a foot, clenched fist (called a handball or handpass) or open-hand tap but it cannot be thrown under any circumstances. Throwing is defined in the rules quite broadly but is essentially any open hand disposal that causes the ball to move upward in the air.

A player may run with the ball but it must be bounced or touched on the ground at least once every 15 metres. Opposition players may bump or tackle the player to obtain the ball and, when tackled, the player must dispose of the ball cleanly or risk being penalised for holding the ball. The ball carrier may only be tackled between the shoulders and knees. If the opposition player forcefully contacts a player in the back whilst performing a tackle, the opposition player will be penalised for a push in the back. If the opposition tackles the player with possession below the knees, it is ruled as a low tackle or a trip, and the team with possession of the football gets a free kick.

If a player takes possession of the ball that has travelled more than 15 metres from another player's kick, by way of a catch, it is claimed as a mark and that player may then have a free kick (meaning that the game stops while he prepares to kick from the point at which he marked). Alternatively, he may choose to "play on:" forfeiting the set shot in the hope of pressing an advantage for his team (rather than allowing the opposition to reposition while he prepares for the free kick). Once a player has chosen to play on, normal play resumes and the player who took the mark is again able to be tackled.

There are different styles of kicking depending on how the ball is held in the hand. The most common style of kicking seen in today's game, principally because of its superior accuracy, is the drop punt (the ball is dropped from the hands down, almost to the ground, to be kicked so that the ball rotates in a reverse end over end motion as it travels through the air). Other commonly used kicks are the torpedo punt (also known as the spiral, barrel, or screw punt; the ball is held at an angle and kicked, which makes the ball spiral in the air, like a rugby throw, resulting in extra distance) and the checkside punt or "banana", kicked across the ball on the outside of the foot is used to curve the ball (towards the right if kicked off the right foot) towards targets that are on an angle. There is also the "snap," which is almost the same as a checkside punt, except that it is kicked off the inside of the foot and curves in the opposite direction. It is also possible to kick the ball so that it bounces along the ground. This is known as a "grubber". Grubbers can bounce in a straight line, or curve to the left or right.

Apart from free kicks or when the ball is in the possession of an umpire for a ball up or throw in, the ball is always in dispute and any player from either side can take possession of the ball.

The two tall central posts are the goal posts, and the two shorter outer posts are the behind posts.


A goal is scored when the football is propelled through the goal posts at any height (including above the height of the posts) by way of a kick from the attacking team. It may fly through on the full or bounce through, but must not have been touched, on the way, by any player from either team. A goal cannot be scored from the foot of an opposition (defending) player.

A behind is scored when the ball passes between a goal post and a behind post at any height, or if the ball hits a goal post, or if an attacking player sends the ball between the goal posts by touching it with any part of the body other than a foot. A behind is also awarded to the attacking team if the ball touches any part of an opposition player, including his foot, before passing between the goal posts. When an opposition player deliberately scores a behind for the attacking team (generally as a last resort, because of the risk of their scoring a goal) this is termed a rushed behind.

If the ball hits one of the behind posts, the ball is considered out of bounds and no score is awarded.

A goal is worth 6 points whereas a behind is worth 1 point. The goal umpire signals a goal with two hands raised at elbow height, a behind with one hand, and then confirms the signal with the other goal umpire by waving flags above his head.

The team that has scored the most points at the end of play wins the game. If the scores are level on points at the end of play, then the game is a draw; extra time applies only during finals matches in some competitions.

As an example of a score report, consider a match between St Kilda Football Club and the Sydney Swans. St Kilda's score of 15 goals and 11 behinds equates to 101 points. Sydney's score of eight goals and ten behinds equates to a 58 point tally. St Kilda wins the match by a margin of 43 points. Such a result would be written as "St Kilda 15.11 (101) defeated Sydney Swans 8.10 (58)" and said "St Kilda fifteen eleven, one hundred and one defeated Sydney Swans eight ten, fifty-eight."

Structure and competitions

The football season, proper, is from March to August (early autumn to late winter in Australia) with finals being held in September. In the tropics, the game is sometimes played in the wet season (October to March). Pre-season competitions in southern Australia usually begin in late February.

The AFL is recognised by the Australian Sports Commission as being the National Sporting Organisation for Australian rules football. There are also seven state/territory-based organisations in Australia, most of which are now either owned by or affiliated to the AFL.

Most of these hold annual semi-professional club competitions while the others oversee more than one league. Local semi-professional or amateur organisations and competitions are often affiliated to their state organisations.

The AFL is the de facto world governing body for Australian rules football. There are also a number of affiliated organisations governing amateur clubs and competitions around the world.

For almost all Australian rules club competitions the aim is to win the Premiership. The premiership is always decided by a finals series. The teams that occupy the highest positions on the ladder play off in a "semi-knockout" finals series. From the 1930s the finals series was usually contested by the top four teams (3rd versus 4th (First semifinal); 1st versus 2nd (Second semifinal); winner of First versus loser of Second (Preliminary final); the winner of Second versus winner of Preliminary playing in the Grand Final for the premiership). Many leagues have adopted a final series involving 5, 6 or 8 teams with a variety of methods used to determine the winner. The AFL finals system is contested by the top 8 teams.

Unlike most soccer competitions there are usually no separate "league" and "cup" trophies. The team finishing first on the ladder is often referred to as a 'minor premier', although this bears little or no significance. In the AFL, this is the McClelland Trophy and is considered a consolation prize. The team that finishes at the bottom of the ladder at the end of the season receives 'the wooden spoon' It is also rare for promotion and relegation to occur in Australian rules football competitions.

History

Origins

A statue next to the Melbourne Cricket Ground on the approximate site of the 1858 "foot-ball" match between Melbourne Grammar and Scotch College.
Tom Wills is depicted umpiring behind two young players contesting the ball.
The plaque reads: "Wills did more than any other person - as footballer and umpire, co-writer of the rules and promoter of the game - to develop Australian Football during its first decade."
As early as 1841, there is documented evidence of "foot-ball" being played in metropolitan and country Victoriamarker as well as mention of early matches in Adelaidemarker and southern Van Diemen's Landmarker (Tasmania). While the exact rules being played in these matches are unknown they may have shared similarities and influences.

In 1858 English public school football games began to be played in Melbournemarker and surrounding districts. The earliest known such match was played on 15 June 1858 between St Kilda Grammar School (now defunct) and Melbourne Grammar Schoolmarker on the St Kilda foreshoremarker.

A letter by Tom Wills was published in Bell's Life in Victoria & Sporting Chronicle on 10 July 1858, called for a "foot-ball club," or some other "athletic game," with a "code of laws" to keep cricketers fit during winter. This letter is regarded by many historians as being a catalyst for the development of a new code of football in 1859 today known as Australian football.

On 31 July, the earliest recorded senior match at Yarra Park was between a "St Kilda scratch team" and "Melbourne scratch team". Trees were used for goal posts and there were no boundaries and the match lasted from 1pm until dark. There were no rules and fights frequently broke out. Melbourne being a relatively young city the majority of the early players were migrants and the media of the time noted that participants of each nationality played the game their own distinctive way: the English played in a fashion that resembled rugby football, the Scottish played recklessly, and the Irish preferred to kick the ball.

Another significant milestone in the sport's development was a match between Melbourne Grammar Schoolmarker and Scotch Collegemarker, which began on 7 August 1858 at Richmond Park, was umpired by Wills and Macadam, and also involved Scotch headmaster Thomas H. Smith. A second day of play took place on 21 August and a third, and final, day on 4 September. While the full rules that were used is unknown, some details of the match survived. It was played with a round ball, the distance between the goals was approximately half a mile (approximately four times longer than the modern Melbourne Cricket Groundmarker playing surface), there were 40 players per side and one goal each side was scored with the game being declared a draw. The two schools have competed annually ever since for the Cordner-Eggleston Cup.

The earliest known individual football award in Victoria, the Champion of the Colony (precursor to the Brownlow Medal) was first granted in 1858.

First rules

The Melbourne Football Club rules of 1859 are the oldest surviving set of laws for Australian football. The ten simple rules were drawn up on 17 May in a meeting was chaired by Wills and in attendance were journalists W. J. Hammersley and J. B. Thompson. Accounts of the people directly involved differ. Some sources claim that Thomas H. Smith, Alex Bruce and or H. C. A. Harrison were also present. The meeting was held at the Parade Hotel, East Melbournemarker hosted by owner and Melbourne Cricket Club member Jerry Bryant. The publican was a friend of Tom Wills with a personal interest in introducing football to Melbourne's schools. Bryant had played a role in organising early football matches at the nearby Richmond Park and his son was one of the first players. The rules were signed by Tom Wills, William Hammersley, J. Sewell, J. B. Thompson, Alex Bruce, T. Butterworth and Thomas H. Smith. Importantly, the rules were widely publicised and distributed.

Early competition in Victoria



In 1859 several new football clubs formed including the Castlemaine Football Club, Geelong Football Club (which Wills directly helped to form) and the Melbourne University Football Club. While many one-off matches are recorded to have taken place between several early teams from Melbourne's suburbs and country Victoria (such as the Ballaratmarker and Geelong competitions), in the early days many had not yet formed clubs for regular competition.

The first ever trophy for Australian Football, the 1861 Challenge Cup was won in 1862 under Melbourne's rules by University over Melbourne. The competition continued into the 1860s with the addition of other teams from Melbourne's suburbs. Two further competitions, the South Yarra Challenge Cup (which had evolved from the Caledonian Games) and "Second Twenties" were held in the 1860s and 1870s.

Some rival rules eventually gave way to an acceptance of the Melbourne Rules. In 1860, the Melbourne Football Club redrafted its rules following the input of several other clubs. The requirement to bounce the ball while running was introduced in a significant redraft of the Melbourne Rules in 1866 by H.C.A. Harrison and his rules committee to satisfy the Geelong Football Club's own set of very different rules. Behind posts were introduced at this time are also believed to have come directly from the Geelong rules. The new rules became known as the Victorian Rules, which became more widely adopted. In 1869, a 100-minute time limit was introduced to the game for the first time. Previous to this, winners were decided in a number of ways, but most commonly the first side to kick two goals.

The relationship with cricket primarily came out of co-existence and many of football's founders were cricketers. As a result, the sport shares some terminology (i.e. "umpires" and "boundary"). However cricket authorities did not initially allow football to be played on their grounds and in the early years football was played primarily in parks. The first football match played at the Melbourne Cricket Groundmarker (MCG) was not until 1876. Cricket authorities soon saw the opportunity to capitalise on the rapid growth of Australian Football, however, and soon most grounds in Victoria were expanded to accommodate the dual purpose, a situation that continues to this day.

Football matches between 1859 and 1899 were played in a 20-per-side format.

Spread to other colonies

An engraving of the first intercolonial match between Victoria and South Australia in Melbourne in 1879.
Victoria won 7 goals to 0


Gradually the game – known at first as "Melbourne Rules" became "Victorian Rules" and then "Australian Rules" or "Australasian Rules" following its spread from Victoria into other Australasian colonies, beginning with South Australia (1860), Tasmania (1864), Queensland (1866), and New Zealand (1871). In 1877, the sport's first governing bodies, the South Australian Football Association and the Victorian Football Association were formed on 30 April and 17 May respectively. The game began to be played in New South Wales in 1877, in Western Australia in 1881 and the Australian Capital Territory in 1911. By 1916, the game was first played in the Northern Territory, establishing a permanent presence in all Australian states and mainland territories.

The precursors of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) and the West Australian Football League (WAFL) were strong, separate competitions by the 1890s. However late in the century the code began to decline in New South Wales and Queensland largely due to interstate rivalries and the lack of strong local governing bodies. In the case of Sydney, denial of access to grounds and the loss of professional players to other football codes directly inhibited to the game's growth.

The first intercolonial match had been played between Victoria and South Australia on 2 August 1879.

The late 1890s saw the formation of the Victorian Football League (VFL), which commenced play in 1897 as an eight-team competition composed of the stronger clubs from the VFA competition. By 1925, the VFL consisted of 12 teams, and had become the most prominent league in the game.

Effects of the two world wars



Both World War I and World War II had a devastating effect on the sport of Australian Rules. While scratch matches were played by Australian "diggers" in remote locations around the world, the game lost many of its great players to wartime service. Some competitions never fully recovered. World War I saw the game in New Zealand go into recess for three quarters of a century. In Queensland, the state league went into recess for the duration of the war. VFL club University left the league and went into recess due to severe casualties. The WAFL lost two clubs and the SANFL was suspended for one year in 1916 due to heavy club losses. The ANZAC Day clash is one example of how the war continues to be remembered in the football community.

Interstate football and the Australian National Football Council

The Australian National Football Council's primary role was to govern the game at national level to facilitate interstate representative and club competition.

The ANFC ran the Championship of Australia, the first national club competition, which first ran in 1888 and saw clubs from different states compete on an even playing field. During this time, the Port Adelaide won a record four national club championships. Although clubs from other states were at times invited, the final was almost always between the premiers from the two strongest state competitions of the time, - South Australia and Victoria - and the majority of matches were played in Adelaide at the request of the SAFA/SAFL. By the 1960s, as VFL clubs increasingly recruited the best players from other states, they began to dominate the competition and the last match was played in 1976, with North Adelaide being the last non-Victorian winner in 1972. Between 1977 and 1987, the Australian Football Council (AFC) in conjunction with the VFL ran a night series, which invited clubs and representative sides from around the country to participate in the "National Football League" for the Wills Cup, however Victorian sides still dominated.

With the lack of international competition, representative matches between state teams were regarded with great importance. Originating from the early intercolonial matches, these tests continued well after Federation of Australia in 1901 and the Australian Football Council co-ordinated regular interstate carnivals. In 1908, a Jubilee Australasian Football Carnival was held to celebrate 50 years of Australian rules football. The carnival included teams representing Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia and New Zealand. Again, due primarily to the VFL recruiting the best players, Victoria dominated interstate matches for three quarters of a century. Representative football was kept alive longer than the national club competition with the introduction of State of origin rules in 1977. The new rules mean that rather than representing the state of their adopted club, players would return to play for the state they were first recruited. This instantly broke Victoria's stranglehold over state titles and Western Australia and South Australia began to win many of their games against Victoria. Both New South Wales and Tasmania scored surprise victories at home against Victoria in 1990.

Towards a national club competition

In 1978, the term Barassi Line was used to describe the football dichotomy that had emerged in Australia over three quarters of a century and also the first suggestion of regular interstate club competition or national league.

By 1980, the way the game was played had changed dramatically, with the phasing out of many of the game's kicking styles, changing rules and the influence of the handballing game and television.

In 1982, in a move that heralded big changes within the sport, one of the original VFL clubs, South Melbourne, relocated to the rugby league stronghold of Sydney and became known as the Sydney Swans. In the late 1980s, strong interstate interest in the VFL led to a more national competition; two more non-Victorian clubs, the West Coast Eagles and the Brisbane Bears began playing in 1987. In their early years, the Sydney and Brisbane clubs continued to struggle both on and off-field before an eventual bailout by the league, which granted significant draft concessions and financial aid to keep them competitive.

The league changed its name to the Australian Football League (AFL) following the 1989 season. In 1991, it gained its first South Australian team, Adelaide. During the next five years, two more non-Victorian teams, Fremantle and Port Adelaide, joined the league. The AFL, currently with 16 member clubs, is the sport's elite competition and the most powerful body and continues to seek further opportunities to expand into new markets.

Following the emergence of the Australian Football League, the SANFL, WAFL and other state leagues rapidly declined to a secondary status. Apart from these there are many semi-professional and amateur leagues around Australia, where they play a very important role in the community, and particularly so in rural areas. The VFA, still in existence a century after the original schism, merged with the former VFL reserves competition in 1998. The new entity adopted the VFL name and remained a primarily state based competition.

State of origin games also declined in importance, especially after an increasing number of withdrawals by AFL players. The AFL turned its focus for representation to an annual International Rules Series against Ireland in 1998 before abolishing State of Origin in 1999. The second-tier state and territorial leagues still contest interstate representative matches.

Although Tasmanian AFL Bid has been ongoing, rather than pursue a national competition, the AFL's focus has become gaining marketshare in lucrative and broadcasting rights in the more populous Australian states and has advanced plans to create football franchises on the Gold Coast, Queensland (Gold Coast Football Club) and in Greater Western Sydney (Western Sydney Football Club). The AFL regularly schedules pre-season exhibition matches in all Australian states and territories as part of the Regional Challenge.

Australian football internationally



Australian rules football is played at an amateur level in various countries around the world. Over 30 countries are home to clubs or leagues who play regularly, with around 20 that have either affiliation or working agreements with the AFL. There have been several players in the VFL/AFL who were born outside Australia and since 1982, an increasing number of players have been recruited from outside Australia through initiatives such as the Irish experiment and more recently, international scholarship programs.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the game spread with the Australian Diaspora to areas such as New Zealand and South Africa, however this growth went into rapid decline following World War I. After World War II, the sport experienced a small amount of growth in the Pacificmarker region, particularly in Nauru, Papua New Guinea and later New Zealand.

Most of the current amateur clubs and leagues in existence have developed since the 1980s, when leagues began to be established in North America, Europe and Asia. As the size of the Australian diaspora has increased, so has the number of clubs outside Australia. This expansion has been further aided by multiculturalism and assisted by exhibition matches as well as exposure generated through players who have converted to and from other football codes. In Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States there are many thousands of players.

The AFL became the de facto governing body when it pushed for the closure of the International Australian Football Council in 2002.

International Rules Football

Since 1967 there have been many matches between Australian rules football teams (mainly from Australia) and Gaelic football teams (mainly from Ireland), under various sets of hybrid, compromise rules known as International rules football. In 1984, the first official representative matches of International Rules were played, and these were played annually each October between the AFL and the Gaelic Athletic Association between 1998 and 2006. These were part of the official International Rules Series, which attracted large crowds and media interest in Ireland and Australia. In 2007 the international rules series was abandoned because of the aggression and the severity of the Australian team in the previous year, but in 2008, under new rules to protect the player with the ball, it resumed in Australia.

Australian rules football culture

Before the start of big games (such as each AFL match), players run through a banner constructed by supporters.
Australian rules football is popular amongst indigenous communities.


Australian Rules is a sport rich in tradition and Australian cultural references, especially surrounding the rituals of gameday for players, officials and supporters.

Australian rules football has attracted more overall interest among Australians (as measured by the Sweeney Sports report) than any other football code, and, when compared with all sports throughout the nation, has consistently ranked first in the winter reports, and most recently third behind cricket and swimming in summer. Media Release, Sweeney Sport report for 2006-07



In 2006, a total of 615,549 registered participants played Australian football in Australia. Participation 7.84% between 2005-06. The Australian Sports Commission statistics show a 42% increase in the total number of participants over the 4 year period between 2001-2005.

Australian rules football is played in more than 30 countries around the world. In 2004, there were a total of over 25, 000 participants outside of Australia. This has grown to about 35, 000 people in 32 countries playing in structured competitions outside of Australia Australian rules is the national sport of Nauru.

Many related games have emerged from football, mainly with variations of contact to encourage greater participation. These include Kick-to-kick (and its variants such as 'End to End Footy' and 'Markers Up'), Auskick, Rec Footy, Women's Australian rules football, 9-a-side Footy, Masters Australian Football, handball and longest-kick competitions. Players outside of Australia sometimes engage in related games on the available fields, like Metro Footy (played on gridiron fields) and Samoa Rules (played on rugby fields).

Australian Football Hall of Fame

For the centenary of the VFL/AFL in 1996, the Australian Football Hall of Fame was established. In that year 136 identities were inducted, including 100 players, 10 coaches, 10 umpires, 10 administrators and six media representatives.

The selections have caused some controversy, mainly because of the predominance of VFL players at the expense of those who played in other leagues in the years before there was a national competition.

The elite Legend status was bestowed on 12 members of the Hall of Fame in 1996: Ron Barassi, Haydn Bunton Senior, Roy Cazaly, John Coleman, Jack Dyer, Polly Farmer, Leigh Matthews, John Nicholls, Bob Pratt, Dick Reynolds, Bob Skilton and Ted Whitten (see above list for further details).

The following ten members have been promoted to the status of "Legend" since 1996: Ian Stewart (1997), Gordon Coventry (1998), Peter Hudson (1999), Kevin Bartlett (2000), Barrie Robran (2001), Bill Hutchison (2003), Jock McHale (2005), Darrel Baldock (2006), Norm Smith (2007) and Alex Jesaulenko (2008).

See also





References

  1. History website
  2. Australian Football (Official title of the code)
  3. http://afl.com.au/Portals/0/afl_docs/2007_LAWS_OF_THE_GAME.pdf (pg 10)
  4. In some special situations such as the 1977 VFL Grand Final or other such knock out situations, if the score is tied, either extra time or a rematch the following week is required to get a result
  5. http://afl.com.au/Portals/0/afl_docs/2007_LAWS_OF_THE_GAME.pdf (pg 51)
  6. History Official Website of the Australian Football League
  7. http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/ProductsbyReleaseDate/E298CEE24565C911CA256DEF007248FF?OpenDocument
  8. http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4174.02005-06?OpenDocument
  9. http://mm.afl.com.au/afl_archive/cp2/c2/webi/article/304261bn.pdf
  10. http://www.aflnt.com.au/_content/document/00054633-src.pdf (pg 7)
  11. Australian Institute of Sport - Australian football
  12. http://afl.com.au/Portals/0/afl_docs/2007_LAWS_OF_THE_GAME.pdf (pg 3)
  13. International - Official Website of the Australian Football League
  14. The McClelland Trophy
  15. AFL Explained - Official Website of the Australian Football League
  16. St Kilda Historical Society Aug-Sep 2008.
  17. The Melbourne Book - A History of Now. Published 2003. Hardie Grant Books. South Yarra. ISBN 1 74066 049 8. pg. 182
  18. http://www.skhs.org.au/~SKHSnewsletter1/newsletters/Insert%20%20Footy%20150,%20Aug-Sept%202008.pdf
  19. pg 36. Melbourne FC Since 1858 - An Illustrated History
  20. p303.
  21. Scotch College - Cordner-Eggleston Cup
  22. Thomas Smith himself made this claim in response to an article about the history of Melbourne FC in The Australasian published 26 February 1876 (from Melbourne FC Since 1858 - An Illustrated History pg 36). Smith's personal account mentions Thompson arriving after the decision to form the club
  23. ibid
  24. Harrison's involvement in the early stages is believed by many to be due to him being perceived as the "father of the game" in later decades and subsequent erroneous reporting
  25. pg 20-10. Melbourne FC Since 1858 - An Illustrated History. Goeff Slattery Publishing
  26. G.M. Hibbins Sport and Racing in Colonial Melbourne: The Cousin and Me - Colden Harrison, Tom Wills and William Hammersley Lynedoch 2007 chs 8, 9
  27. A False Dawn
  28. Referenced in
  29. WICKS, B. M. Whatever Happened to Australian Rules ? Hobart, Tasmania, Libra Books. 1980, First Edition. (ISBN 0909619069)
  30. AFL International Development
  31. More chase Sherrin than before
  32. http://www.ausport.gov.au/scorsresearch/ERASS2005/ERASS2005_findings.pdf Participation in Exercise, Recreation and Sport Survey 2005 Annual Report
  33. http://www.worldfootynews.com/article.php?story=20050301074107992 World Footy Census
  34. Curtis, R. (2008) "Pacific nations bemoan AFL neglect", The Sunday Age, 11 May 2008
  35. Team Profile: Nauru Chiefs
  36. AFL Hall of Fame and Sensation
  37. Legends - Official Website of the Australian Football League


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