Variations of Australian rules football

Variations of Australian rules football are games or activities based on or similar to the game of Australian rules football, in which the player uses common Australian rules football skills. They range in player numbers from 2 (in the case of kick-to-kick) up to the minimum 38 required for a full Australian rules football.

Some are essentially identical to Australian rules football, with only minor rule changes, while others are more distant and arguably not simple variations but distinct games. Others still have adapted to the unavailability of full-sized cricket fields. Other variations include children's games, contests or activities intended to help the player practice or reinforce skills, which may or may not have a competitive aspect.

Most of the variations are played in informal settings, without the presence of umpires and sometimes without strict adherence to official game rules.

Recfooty
"Recreational Football" or "Rec Footy" is an Australian Football League endorsed non-contact variety which uses tags to replace tackling and encourages participation of both sexes.

Participatory varieties

Auskick

Auskick-23-6-06 1
Auskick taking place during the half time break of an AFL game at Telstra Dome

Auskick is a national program in Australia to develop and promote participation in Australian rules football amongst children. It has proven to be popular with both boys and girls.

The program, devised in 1998 and begun in Victoria under the name "Vickick", it was supported by the Australian Football League, the national professional competition for the sport, which began to roll it out nationally. It has also seen variations overseas, including Viking Kick (Denmark).

Women's Australian rules football

Women's marking contest mark
A Melbourne University Mugars player jostles for best position in an overhead Marking contest, while a tackled Darebin Falcons player lies down

Women's Australian rules football (also known as Women's Aussie Rules, Women's footy, Women's AFL or in areas where it is popular, simply "football") is a fast-growing sport.

Although it is a contact sport, women's Australian rules is sometimes played with modified rules. It is less brutal on the body than women's American football, women's rugby league or women's rugby union and offers more physicality than women's soccer, as well as requiring both hand and foot co-ordination. It is a fast-paced team sport and is played by women of all shapes and sizes.

The game is played at senior level in Australia, the United States, England, New Zealand, Canada and Japan. At junior level, it is also played in Papua New Guinea, Argentina and South Africa. At schoolgirls level, it is also played in Tonga and Samoa.

Masters Australian Football

Masters Australian Football (also known as "Superules") is a sport based on Australian rules football for players aged 35 years and over. The sport first commenced officially on 21 September 1981, after being founded by John Hammer in 1980 in Nhill, Victoria.

Modifications to the rules reduce the physical impact of the game for older players. It is played by over 119 teams throughout Australia and around the world.

The variation to the game is also dubbed "Superfools" by some followers and players.

Lightning football

Lightning football is a generic term to describe variations of the game played over a shortened length, usually about half of the length of a full match. Lightning football may be played under otherwise unchanged rules, but in recent lightning matches staged by the AFL, experimental rules such as awarding a free kick against the last player to touch the ball before it goes out of bounds have been trialled.

Lightning matches are often used, particularly at junior or amateur level, to play an entire tournament inside a single day or weekend. These tournaments are typically known as "lightning premierships" or "lightning carnivals".

Modified field or player numbers

9-a-side

9-a-side Footy is played informally by Aussie Rules clubs but not yet an official sport in its own right.

9-a-side games are sometimes played on half size fields that are typically rectangular with 9 players on the field at any one time, typically consisting of three forwards, three backs and three centre players. Often two games are played at the same time on a single Australian rules or cricket field. At other times, 9-a-side makes use of the full space of the field when a full complement of players is not available. This variety is a more open and running variety of Australian rules.

A minimum of 18 players are required in total, but many teams field unlimited interchange benches.

Rules are the same as Australian rules football. Limited and non-contact versions of 9-a-side football are also played by both men's and women's leagues.

Examples of official tournaments held under these rules include the EU Cup and Bali Nines.

Samoa Rules

Samoa Rules is a game derived from Australian rules football that has also been played in Samoa. The game is played on rugby fields and each team consists of 15 players per side.

Unlike Australian rules football, player movement is restricted to zones (similarly to Rec Footy). There is a line across the centre that backs and forwards can not cross. Onballers are allowed to go anywhere.

The Vailima Six-Shooters' Championship began in Samoa in 1998 under these rules, becoming known as "Samoa Rules". A number of Samoa Rules players went on to represent Samoa in the Samoan national Australian rules football team, known as the "Bulldogs".

Metro Footy

Metro Footy (or Metro Rules Footy) is a modified version of Australian rules football rules played on gridiron football, rugby or Association football fields, predominantly in the United States of America. The reasons for the development of Metro Footy was partly due to there being few grounds large enough for traditional Australian rules matches, but also to allow competitive football to be played with smaller playing numbers, allowing for better recruitment possibilities.

Teams typically consist of 9-a-side on a 110 x 50 metre field. The teams that play feed into larger 18-a-side Australian rules representative teams that participate in leagues such as the MAAFL or tournaments such as the USAFL National Championships and also provide the opportunity to introduce new American players to the game of Australian rules football.

Several clubs from the United States Australian Football League participate in Metro Footy.

AFLX

Another prominent variation of the game is AFLX, an official Australian Football League sanctioned pre-season event. The game is played on soccer-sized pitches and features seven players a side, as well as several other rules designed to speed up the game.[1]

Historical variations

VFA rules (1938–1949)

VFA rules (or "Association rules" or "throw-pass rules") variation of Australian rules football was a distinct set of rules which was played in the Victorian Football Association, and several other smaller competitions which elected to switch to the new rules, between 1938 and 1949. Although there were several other small differences between the VFA's rules and the national rules, the primary distinguishing feature was that throwing the ball from below the shoulders with two hands was a legal form of handpass – known as a throw-pass – under the VFA's rules. The ease of throw-passing compared with traditional handpassing resulted in the VFA's code fostering a faster playing style with fewer stoppages and more run-and-carry than was seen under the traditional rules at the time. The VFA's code operated as a rival to the national code throughout the 1940s, and some innovations of the VFA's code were incorporated into the national code over that time. The VFA reverted to playing under the national rules from the 1950 season, and the throw-pass rules have not been seen since.

Recreational varieties

Recfooty
Recreational Football.

Rec Footy

Recreational Football (also known as Rec Footy or Recreational Footy) is a non-contact version of the Australian rules football game sanctioned by the Australian Football League. It is a more accessible version of Australian rules football that people can pick up and play with some degree of skill and ability and it is directly aligned to the traditional game of Australian rules football. It is a mixed competition, accessible to players of both sexes, all shapes and sizes and requires minimal equipment to play, but is suitable only for those above Auskick age.

Kick-to-kick
The after game kick-to-kick tradition at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is a rare sight. Following an AFL match between the Melbourne Demons and Port Adelaide Power, 16,000 fans were let onto the hallowed turf.

Kick-to-Kick

Kick-to-kick is a pastime, a well-known tradition of Australian rules football fans, and a recognised Australian term for kick and catch type games. A common format is for one person in a group to kick to a second group; whoever marks the ball kicks it back to the first group. In its "markers up" form, it is the usual casual version of Australian rules (similar to the relationship between backyard/beach cricket and the established forms of cricket).

Although not a sport in itself, the term is used to describe a social exercise played in parks, fields, streets and back yards, and requires at least two people.

Touch Aussie Rules

Touch Aussie Rules is a non-tackle version of Australian rules football that is currently played in London, UK and organised by Aussie Rules UK.

All skills are used in Touch Aussie Rules, including kicking, marking, handballing and bouncing.

Hybrid codes

International rules
An international rules football match at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne, Australia, between Australia and Ireland.

International Rules Football

International rules football (Irish: Peil na rialacha idirnáisiunta; also known as inter rules in Australia and compromise rules in Ireland) is a hybrid code of football, which was developed to facilitate international representative matches between Australian rules football players and Gaelic football players and is played between them worldwide.

Austus

Austus is a sport which was started in Australia during World War II when United States soldiers wanted to play football against the Australians. The game combined features of Australian rules football and American football. The rules of the game were mostly the same as Australian rules football, except that the American-style forward pass was allowed and afforded the same benefits as an Australian rules football kick, meaning that a thrown ball could be marked or used to score goals.[2] The name comes from the first four letters of Australia (AUST) and the initials of the United States (US). The game has rarely, if ever, been played since the war.

Samoan rules

A hybrid of rugby union and Aussie rules.

Universal Football

Universal football was a proposed hybrid sport of Australian rules football and rugby league, as a means of unifying Australia under a single dominant football code. First codified in 1914, the game was originally designed to be played by teams of 15 on rectangular fields with rugby-style goalposts featuring a crossbar. The off-side rules of rugby league applied within in the forward quarter of the ground and did not apply elsewhere. Handpasses, which included throws, could only be made backwards. Rugby scrums were eliminated and replaced with the Australian rules football style ball-up. Players could be tackled anywhere between the knee and the shoulders. The Australian rules style of mark was kept. Tries were worth three points, conversions and goals from marks kicked over the crossbar were worth one point, and goals kicked on the run were worth two points.[3][4]

There was some progress towards amalgamating the two sports in 1915, but these were halted by the escalation of World War I[5] and the new code was not revived after the war ended.[6] The concept was briefly revisited in 1933 with similar rules, and a private trial match was played at the Sydney Showground,[7] but it did not result in a lasting revival of the concept[8] which has not been seen since.

References

  1. ^ "AFLX revealed: Who your club plays". AFL.com.au. 17 November 2017.
  2. ^ "On play and players". The Sporting Globe. Melbourne, VIC. 21 July 1943. p. 13.
  3. ^ The Cynic (25 November 1914). "Suggested universal football game". Referee. Sydney, NSW. p. 16.
  4. ^ "Rival football games". Barrier Miner. Broken Hill, NSW. 21 November 1914. p. 8.
  5. ^ "Annual meeting of the league – the proposed universal code". The Mercury. Hobart, TAS. 30 March 1915. p. 8.
  6. ^ "Australian Football Council". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. 30 December 1919. p. 7.
  7. ^ "The new game – trial matches in Sydney". Advocate. Burnie, TAS. 12 August 1933. p. 7.
  8. ^ "To be dropped – proposed amalgamation – football codes". Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate. Newcastle, NSW. 15 August 1933. p. 8.
AFLX

AFLX is a shortened variation of Australian rules football, played intermittently as a pre-season event in the Australian Football League (AFL). The altered version of the game was founded in 2017 in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience outside of its origin country of Australia.The format of AFLX events has varied, though currently it consists of four teams each captained by a high-profile AFL footballer. The 2019 competition took place at Marvel Stadium in Victoria.

Australian rules football in South Australia

Australian rules football in South Australia has a history dating back to the early 1860s, and it has long been the most popular sport in the state.

Australian rules football schism (1938–1949)

The Australian rules football schism (1938–1949) was a period of division in the rules and governance of Australian rules football, primarily in the sport's traditional heartland of Melbourne, and to lesser extents in North West Tasmania and parts of regional Victoria. The schism existed primarily between Melbourne's pre-eminent league, the Victorian Football League (VFL), and its secondary league, the Victorian Football Association (VFA). In the context of VFA history, this period is often referred to as the throw-pass era.

The schism began in 1938, when the VFA introduced several rule changes, including legalising throwing of the football in general play. The changes helped to speed up the game, and promoted more run-and-carry play in an era which had previously been dominated by a long kicking style. Additionally, the VFA ended its player transfer agreement with the VFL, and aggressively recruited star players from the VFL. These changes gave the VFA for the first time in many years an on-field product which could compete with the VFL for public interest, and it made the 1940s one of the most successful periods in the VFA's history. By the mid-1940s, the VFA had copyrighted its rules, and was considered to be playing its own distinct code of Australian rules football.

The VFA's actions created a division in the administrative structure of the sport in Victoria. Throughout the 1940s, the VFL and VFA worked towards ending the schism, as they both believed that a single controlling body playing under a uniform set of rules was in the best interests of football as a whole. Over several years, the VFL and VFA unsuccessfully negotiated options, including for the two competitions to be amalgamated into one. The schism ended after the 1949 season, when the VFA accepted the national standard rules, in exchange for receiving its own seat on the Australian National Football Council, which ultimately gave it a voice in the administration of the game at the national level. Although the throw-pass itself did not survive beyond the schism, other innovations from the throw-pass era helped to shape the national rules of the game.

Austus

Austus is a variation of Australian rules football which was played in Australia during World War II between Australians and visiting soldiers from the United States. The name comes from the first four letters of Australia (AUST) and the initials of the United States (US).

Sports exhibitions by servicemen from both the Australian and visiting American services were commonplace during World War II as fundraisers, including American football. However, it was not possible for teams from Australia and America to play against each other in either of their national football codes due to the differences in skills: Australians were not adept at long throws of the ball, as was common in American football, and Americans were not adept at kicking, particularly on the run, as was required to play Australian rules football.

To enable football competitions between Australians and Americans, a modified code was proposed. Although sometimes described as a hybrid between the Australian and American codes, creator Ern Cowley described it as "99% Australian rules with the addition of gridiron highlights". The only significant rule change was that the American football-style forward pass was allowed and afforded the same benefits as an Australian rules football kick. Therefore, a ball thrown over a distance of at least ten yards could be marked if caught on the full; and goals could be scored from throws, with the exception that a thrown goal must have been from a distance greater than twenty yards – an arc twenty yards from the goal line was painted on the field to enable this to be judged by umpires. The game was played with an American football rather than an Australian football, because the pointed design of the American ball meant that it could be both thrown and kicked. These rules enabled Americans to participate against Australians at Australian rules football using the ball skills they already possessed from playing American football.

The first game of Austus was played on 18 July 1943 at Punt Road Oval between a team of US Servicemen and an Australian Explosives Factory team over two 25-minute halves. The Americans won 8.4 (52) to 5.8 (38). Two weeks later, an Australian team comprising around twelve VFL players comfortably defeated the Americans 17.23 (125) d. 8.1 (49) in a full-length game. Several more games were played as exhibitions in 1943 and 1944. By the end of 1943, both countries' armed forces endorsed the game as a suitable activity for their troops, with the rules later published in official army publications. The US Army noted that the game was more suited to warmer climates than the American game, and was more convenient as it could be played without protective equipment.The rules are credited to The Sporting Globe sportswriter and former Carlton player Ern Cowley. Cowley and leading American player Private Bill Jost, who was a prodigious throw and captained the American teams, were both presented medals by the Helms Athletic Foundation in 1944 for their services to the short-lived code.The game all but disappeared after the departure of American soldiers from Australia. Some consideration was given after the war to sending Australian teams to America to demonstrate the sport, but an absence of willing financial backers meant that the idea quickly fell through. The game has rarely if ever been played since.

International rules football

International rules football (Irish: Peil na rialacha idirnáisiunta; also known as international rules in Australia and compromise rules in Ireland) is a team sport consisting of a hybrid of football codes, which was developed to facilitate international representative matches between Australian rules football players and Gaelic football players.

The first tour, known as the Australian Football World Tour, took place in 1967, with matches played in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The following year, games were played between Australia and a touring County Meath Gaelic football team, Meath being the reigning All-Ireland senior football champions. Following intermittent international tests between Australia and Ireland, the International Rules Series between the senior Australian international rules football team and Ireland international rules football team has been played intermittently since 1984, and has generally been a closely matched contest. The sport has raised interest and exposure in developing markets for Gaelic and Australian football and has been considered a development tool by governing bodies of both codes, particularly by the AFL Commission.

International rules football does not have any dedicated clubs or leagues. It is currently played by men's, women's, and junior teams only in tournaments or Test matches.

Kick-to-kick

Kick-to-kick is a pastime and well-known tradition of Australian rules football fans, and a recognised Australian term for kick and catch type games. In its "markers up" form, it is the usual casual version of Australian rules (similar to the relationship between backyard/beach cricket and the established forms of cricket).

Although not a sport in itself, the term is used to describe a social exercise played in parks, fields, streets, back yards and also as a playground game that requires at least two people.Kick-to-kick is used as a warm-up exercise of many Australian rules football clubs and has been the beginnings of many clubs in far-flung places. It has long been a pitch invasion tradition in the breaks immediately after official Australian rules football matches, although as professionalism in the Australian Football League increased, the practice was discontinued at most of AFL venues.

Lightning football

Lightning football is a shortened variation of Australian rules football, often played at half of the duration of a full match.

Lightning football is typically used as a means to accommodate a small tournament inside a single day or weekend, particularly at junior or amateur level; these tournaments are generally known as lightning premierships or lightning carnivals. At the top level of Australian rules football, lightning matches have most recently been staged as part of the Australian Football League pre-season competition.

Lightning football is distinct from AFLX, a different shortened variation of Australian rules football. Lightning football is not significantly different from standard Australian rules football other than the length of its games, while AFLX is a heavily modified variant played with on a smaller field with fewer players.

Nine-a-side footy

Nine-a-side football is a sport based on Australian rules football played informally by Aussie rules clubs but not yet an official sport in its own right.

9-a-side games are sometimes played on half size fields that are typically rectangular or more commonly rugby fields, with 9 players on the field at any one time, typically consisting of 3 forwards, 3 backs and 3 centre players. Often two games are played at the same time on a single Australian Rules or cricket pitch. Other times, 9-a-side makes use of the full space of the field when a full complement of players is not available. This variety is a more open, running variety of Australian rules.

Rec footy

Recreational Football (also known as Rec Footy or Recreational Footy) is a non-contact version of the Australian rules football game sanctioned by the Australian Football League. It is a more accessible version of Australian rules football that people can pick up and play with some degree of skill and ability and it is directly aligned to the traditional game of Australian rules football.

It is a mixed competition, accessible to players of both sexes, all shapes and sizes and requires minimal equipment to play.

Samoa rules

Samoa rules is a game derived from Australian rules football and rugby union that is occasionally played in Samoa.

Touch football

Touch football may refer to:

Touch football (American), a variant of American football where players touch rather than tackle opponents

Touch (sport), a variant of rugby league football in which players touch rather than tackle opponents

Touch rugby, other games derived from rugby football in which players touch rather than tackle opponents

Rec footy, a non-contact version of Australian rules football

Touch Aussie Rules, one of the variations of Australian rules football

Touch Football Australia, the national governing body of touch football (rugby league)

Universal football

Universal football was the name given to a proposed hybrid sport of Australian rules football and rugby league, proposed at different times between 1908 and 1933 as a potential national football code to be played throughout Australia. The game was trialled, but it was never otherwise played in any regular competition.

Women's Australian rules football

Women's Australian rules football, also known simply as women's football or women's footy, is a form of Australian rules football played by women, generally with some modification to the laws of the game.

Women's football began to be organised in the early 20th century, but for several decades occurred mostly in the form of scratch matches and one-off exhibition games. State-based leagues emerged in the 1980s, with the Victorian Women's Football League (VWFL) forming in Melbourne in 1981 and the West Australian Women's Football League (WAWFL) forming in Perth in 1988. The AFL Women's National Championships were inaugurated in 1992. Women's football became professionalised in the 2010s, with a national league, AFL Women's, commencing its inaugural season in 2017 with teams formed by existing Australian Football League (AFL) clubs.

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