Australian rules football in Australia

Last updated

Australian rules football in Australia
Aboriginal football.jpg
Contesting for possession in an indigenous community football game in the Northern Territory
CountryAustralia
Governing bodyAustralian Football League
National team(s) Australia
First played1858;164 years ago (1858) in Melbourne, Victoria
Registered players549,400 (2022) [1]
Clubs2,672 [2]
National competitions
Club competitions
Audience records
Single match121,696Collingwood vs Carlton, at the MCG (1970 VFL Grand Final)
Season7,238,8582011 AFL season [3]

Australian rules football is the most watched and attended sport and the second most participated code of football in Australia.

Contents

Since originating in Victoria in 1858 and spreading elsewhere from 1866, it has been played continuously in every Australian state since 1903 plus the two major territories since 1916.

The highest participation rates (players per capita) can be found in the Northern Territory (5%), South Australia (4.8%), Victoria (4.3%), Western Australia (4.2%) and Tasmania (3.3%). Unlike other football codes which are strongest in urban areas, Australian rules football has the highest participation in regional and remote areas. Nationally this rate is 5.7% almost double that of any other code. It is also fast growing in Queensland and New South Wales, though with participation rates of 1.3% and 1.1% respectively lags behind soccer and rugby league in overall interest. South Australia is the only state or territory where it is the most participated code of football.

The national professional competitions are the Australian Football League (men's) and AFL Women's. The AFL governs the code nationally through the AFL Commission. The AFL originated in Victoria and changed its name in 1990 after a successful program of national expansion.

While the AFL phased out state and territory representative matches as it expanded nationally (with the exception of occasional matches featuring Victoria), players can still represent their states up to the age of 19 through the AFL Under 16 Championships and AFL Under 19 Championships or through their lower tier (semi-professional) state competitions.

Australia competes internationally mainly against New Zealand. Australia's men's team is currently undefeated. The underage men's team competes annually against New Zealand as the AFL Academy. Australia has also in the past fielded amateur teams against South Africa, Papua New Guinea and the United States but remains undefeated. Sides representing Indigenous Australia have competed against Papua New Guinea and South Africa.

History

Engraving of the first intercolonial football match between Victoria and South Australia at the East Melbourne Cricket Ground, 1879 Intercolonial Football Match 1879.jpg
Engraving of the first intercolonial football match between Victoria and South Australia at the East Melbourne Cricket Ground, 1879
The first national interstate competition was held in 1908 Australasian Football Jubilee Carnival (1858-1908)-Official Programme.jpeg
The first national interstate competition was held in 1908

It began in the Colony of Victoria in 1858, followed by the Colony of Queensland (1866) [4] and Colony of New South Wales (1866); Colony of South Australia (1877); Colony of Tasmania (1879); and, Colony of Western Australia (1881).

The first intercolonial representative match was Victoria vs South Australia (1879).

Delegates representing the football associations of South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland met in 1883 in order to standardise the rules across the colonies. The earliest governing body, the Australasian Football Council (later Australian National Football Council) dates back to this time.

Following a hiatus in Queensland (1892-1903) and New South Wales (1893-1903) it was revived after the Federation of Australia and expanded to the territories of the Australian Capital Territory (1911) and the Northern Territory (1916).

The sport has had a significant impact on popular culture in its native Australia, capturing the imagination of Australian film, art, music, television and literature.

Audience

Attendance

Football is the most highly attended spectator sport in Australia. Government figures show that more than 2.5 million people (16.8% of the population) attended games in 1999. [5] In 2005, a cumulative 6,283,788 people attended Australian Football League (AFL) premiership matches, a record for the competition. [6] A further 307,181 attended NAB Cup pre-season matches and 117,552 attended Regional Challenge pre-season practice matches around the country. [7] As of 2010, the AFL is one of only five professional sports leagues with an average attendance of over 30,000 per game.

As well as the AFL attendances, strong semi-professional state and local competitions also draw crowds. The South Australian SANFL drew an attendance in 2008 of 362,209 with an average of 3,773 per game, while the Western Australian WAFL drew an attendance of 219,205 with an average of 2,332 per game.

Television

According to OzTAM, in recent years, the AFL Grand Final has reached the top five programs across the five biggest cities in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. Australian rules football has achieved a #1 rating in the sports category in both 2004 and 2005.

Participation

Region/State/TerritoryRegistered players (excluding Auskick registrations)
Flag of New South Wales.svg National549,400
Flag of New South Wales.svg New South Wales 70,056
Flag of Victoria (Australia).svg Victoria 226,262
Flag of Queensland.svg Queensland 55,191
Flag of Western Australia.svg Western Australia 94,318
Flag of South Australia.svg South Australia 70,587
Flag of Tasmania.svg Tasmania 15,008
Flag of the Australian Capital Territory.svg Australian Capital Territory 8,274
Flag of the Northern Territory.svg Northern Territory 9,808

[8]

Structure and competitions

An Australian Football League match at Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast. Adelaide's Matthew Clarke and Melbourne's Mark Jamar contest a centre bounce. The man in the green shirt is a central field umpire. Aussie rules game.jpg
An Australian Football League match at Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast. Adelaide's Matthew Clarke and Melbourne's Mark Jamar contest a centre bounce. The man in the green shirt is a central field umpire.

The most powerful organisation and competition within the game is the elite professional Australian Football League (AFL). 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 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 organizations and competitions are affiliated to their state leagues.

RegionOverviewGoverning bodyMajor competition(s)
Flag of the Australian Capital Territory.svg Australian Capital Territory Overview AFL NSW/ACT North East Australian Football League
AFL Canberra
Flag of New South Wales.svg New South Wales Overview North East Australian Football League
Sydney AFL
Flag of the Northern Territory.svg Northern Territory Overview AFL Northern Territory North East Australian Football League
Northern Territory Football League
Flag of Queensland.svg Queensland Overview AFL Queensland North East Australian Football League
Queensland Australian Football League
Flag of South Australia.svg South Australia Overview South Australian Football Commission South Australian National Football League
Flag of Tasmania.svg Tasmania Overview AFL Tasmania Tasmanian Football League
Flag of Victoria (Australia).svg Victoria Overview AFL Victoria Victorian Football League
Flag of Western Australia.svg Western Australia Overview West Australian Football Commission West Australian Football League

National championships

Senior

The last senior national carnival was held in 1993 and the last match between interstate senior sides was held in 1999. Senior interstate competition is no longer contested by players from the Australian Football League. A one-off exhibition match featuring Victoria and a "dream team". However, the state leagues continue to compete in inter-league matches.

Under 18

The AFL Under 18 Championships are the annual national Australian rules football championships for players aged 18 years or younger and includes teams from each Australian state or Territory. The competition is monitored by AFL recruiters and frequently seen as the second biggest pathway for junior players to the fully professional Australian Football League. The competition is currently sponsored by the National Australia Bank (NAB). The competition receives an increasing amount of coverage in the media, however still lags behind the TAC Cup in terms of interest in Victoria.

See also

Books

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Australian rules football</span> Contact sport invented in Melbourne

Australian football, also called Australian rules football or Aussie rules, or more simply football or footy, is a contact sport played between two teams of 18 players on an oval field, often a modified cricket ground. Points are scored by kicking the oval ball between the central goal posts, or between a central and outer post.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Football in Australia</span> Overview of football in Australia

Football in Australia refers to numerous codes which each have major shares of the mainstream sports market, media, broadcasting, professional athletes, financial performance and grassroots participation: Australian rules football, rugby league, rugby union and association football. There are four pre-eminent professional football competitions played in Australia: the Australian Football League, the National Rugby League, Super Rugby and the A-League (soccer). By most measures, including attendance, television audience and media presence across the most states, Australian football is the most popular nationally. However, in the states of New South Wales and Queensland, rugby football is overall the most watched and receives the most media coverage, especially the Rugby League State of Origin contested between the two states referred to as “Australian sport's greatest rivalry”. In recent times there has been an increase in popularity in Australian football and corresponding decrease in popularity of Rugby union in New South Wales and Queensland. Soccer, while extending its lead in participation rate particularly in the large cities and improving its performance at the FIFA World Cup, continues to attract the overall lowest attendance as well as media and public interest of the four codes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rugby league in Australia</span> One of Australia’s most popular sports

Rugby league in Australia has been one of Australia’s most popular sports since it started being played there in 1908. It is the dominant winter football code in the states of New South Wales and Queensland. In 2009, it was the most watched sport on Australian television eclipsing the AFL nationally with an aggregate audience of 128.5 million viewers. The elite club competition is the National Rugby League (NRL), which features ten teams from New South Wales, three teams from Queensland, and one team each from Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory and New Zealand.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sport in Australia</span> Overview of sports traditions and activities in Australia

Sport is an important part of Australia that dates back to the early colonial period. Australian rules football, rugby league, rugby union, association football, cricket and tennis are among the earliest organised sports in Australia. Sport has shaped the Australian national identity through events such as the Australia vs USA basketball match in 2019 which attracted over 100,000 people, the Melbourne Cup and the America's Cup. Australia also holds the record for the largest attendance at a Rugby Union match with almost 110 000 watching the Wallabies play the All Blacks in 2000.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Australian rules football in Queensland</span>

Australian rules football in Queensland was the first official football code played in 1866. The Colony of Queensland was the second after Victoria to adopt Australian rules football, just days after there rules were widely published. For two decades it was the most popular football code, however a strong desire for representative football success saw Queenslanders favour British football variants for more than a century. 120 years later in 1986 Queensland was the first state awarded a licence to have a club, the Brisbane Bears, in the national competition, also its first privately owned club. However the Gold Coast based Bears had a detrimental effect until the 1993 redevelopment of the Brisbane Cricket Ground (Gabba). In contrast the Bears transformation into a Brisbane and traditional membership based club resulted in enormous growth, and a tripling of average AFL attendances by 1996.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Women's Australian rules football</span> Female-only form of Australian rules football

Women's Australian rules football, is the female-only form of Australian rules football, generally with some modification to the laws of the game.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rugby union in Australia</span>

Rugby union is a football code within Australia with a history of organised competition dating back to 1864. Although traditionally most popular in Australia's rugby football strongholds of New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT, it is played throughout the nation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Australian rules football in England</span>

Australian rules football in England is a team sport and spectator sport with a long history. The current competitions originated in 1989 and have grown to a number of local and regional leagues coordinated by AFL England. In 2018, these regional divisions were the AFL London, AFL Central & Northern England and Southern England AFL.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Australian rules football in Tasmania</span>

Australian rules football in Tasmania, has been played since the late 1870s and draws the largest audience for a football code in the state.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Australian rules football in the Australian Capital Territory</span>

Australian rules football in the Australian Capital Territory has been played continuously since 1911 and was the most popular football code in the nation's capital Canberra between 1978 and 1982. The current governing body is AFL NSW/ACT established in 1999.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Australian rules football in New South Wales</span>

Australian rules football in New South Wales dates back to 1866 with organised competition being continuous since the 1880s. Today several regions are strongholds of the sport, including Broken Hill near South Australia, and the Riverina and the South Coast near Victoria. In other, more populous areas of New South Wales, including Sydney, Australian football trails behind rugby league in popularity. The AFL NSW/ACT is the governing body of the sport across the state and the Australian Capital Territory.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Australian rules football in Western Australia</span>

Australian rules football in Western Australia (WA) is the most popular sport in the state and Western Australia has the second highest number of Australian rules football participants of any state.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Australian rules football in South Australia</span>

Australian rules football in South Australia has long been the most popular sport in the state.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Australian rules football in Victoria</span>

Australian rules football in Victoria is the most watched code of football. Victoria has more than double the number of Australian rules football players of any other state in Australia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Barassi Line</span> Imaginary geographic line of football codes in Australia

The "Barassi Line" is an imaginary line in Australia which approximately divides areas where Australian rules football is the most popular football code from those where rugby league and rugby union dominate. It was first used by historian Ian Turner in his "1978 Ron Barassi Memorial Lecture". Crowd figures, media coverage, and participation rates are heavily skewed in favour of the dominant code on both sides of the line.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rugby league in Victoria</span>

Rugby league football has been played and watched by people in the Australian state of Victoria since the early 20th century. While for most of its history there the game's popularity has been marginal due to the dominance of Australian rules football in Victoria, rugby league's popularity has rapidly increased in recent years in the state's capital of Melbourne. due mainly to the introduction of a professional Melbourne-based team in the national competition.

The AFL Under-19 Championships is an annual Australian national underage representative championship in Australian rules football tournament. It is seen as one of the main pathways towards being drafted into a team in the fully professional Australian Football League (AFL).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Australian rules football culture</span>

Australian rules football culture is the cultural aspects surrounding the game of Australian rules football, particular to Australia and the areas where it is most popular. This article explores aspects and issues surrounding the game, as well as the players, and society. Australian Rules is a sport rich in tradition and Australian cultural references, especially surrounding the rituals of gameday for players, officials, and supporters.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Origins of Australian rules football</span>

The origins of Australian rules football date back to the late 1850s in Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rugby union in Victoria</span>

Rugby union in Victoria describes the sport of rugby union being played and watched in the state of Victoria in Australia. The code was first introduced some time between the 1850s and 1880s but remained a minor sport played primarily in the private schools and amongst interstate expats. This has changed, particularly since the professionalisation of the game in the mid 1990s.

References

  1. Ausplay Sports Report 2022 - Australian Football
  2. "Women's participation soars in 2015".
  3. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 May 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. Brisbane Courier 25 May 1866
  5. Sports Attendance, Australian Bureau of Statistics, April 1999.
  6. "Aussie Rules sets attendance record". The Sydney Morning Herald. 28 August 2005.
  7. 403 Forbidden
  8. Ausplay Sports Report 2022 - Soccer, Australian Football