G’Day! So in this post, I will be talking about the unique sport which you can only find in Australia. It’s called ‘Footy’!
Before I begin, I just want to summarize how people understand the word ‘Football’
Football – (UK, South America, Asia) a sport which you try to kick the ball into other team’s goal without using hands. However, in Australia and American, they call it ‘soccer’. So, I will be referring this sport as a ‘soccer’ in this post.
Football – (Australia) They may assume that you mean ‘Footy’
I am incredibly passionate about sports. Sports help me to relax, have some fun and make some friends. Soccer is my most favorite! It is quite popular in Melbourne too. From what I have heard, most people are Liverpool fans. Nevertheless, there are also some more popular sports in Melbourne too such as cricket, hockey and footy.
Since I came to Melbourne, I have watched some Footy games on TV. I looked pretty harsh and savage to me at first as I saw men running and hitting each other with no foul. (Someone would have dived if that were soccer). Then, there was once when I was looking for something to watch on TV, I came across the sports channel which was showing the Footy Live. It was a match between Hawthorn (5th place) and Fremantle (1st place). Because I live in Kew, it is nearby Hawthorn, so I supported them. They were playing really good that by the end of the game, they beat the head of table by the margins of about 100 points! Since then, my loyalty belongs to Hawthorn just like I am loyal to FC Barcelona.
Then last week, when I was talking with my mate at the pub. He asked me if I would like to join his mates watching the big match between Hawthorn and Richmond this upcoming friday. So. I reckoned that it would be a fantastic experience watching Aussie sport with Aussie mates.
On the day of the match, my mate invited me to a group chat. They discussed about how to get the tickets and when to get to the stadium. Some of them already had some membership tickets that they could get in easily. So, my mate bought the ticket for me on that day on the website and printed it out which seem pretty easy. And I transferred him the money via the Bank’s app (easy as well, Melbourne life haha) The ticket was 17 AU$ which I reckon that it is pretty cheap comparing to soccer’s game ticket that I got it from 86AU$ at the same stadium (Melbourne Cricket Ground)
Firstly, we met up at the Uni. Then, we took the tram to the city. It was still one hour before the match started so we decided to have a quick meal and drink at a bar nearby Flinder street train station because the match was going to run from 7:50 PM to around 10 PM. One of my mates offered me a Richmond scarf. Even though I do not support Richmond but I had to take it because it was really a cold night that I need something to cover. Also, it might be a ritual that people should have some merchandises to enter the stadium. I could see people walking around with the Tiger’s(Richmond)/Hawk’s(Hawthorn) jerseys, scarfs and beanies. I really appreciated that he prepared one for me.
Then, we took the train from Flinders to Richmond station. After we got off the train, we walked five minutes to the stadium. To get through the entrance, my mate gave me the hard copy which had a barcode on it. I just had to show it to the scanner at the door then I just got in easily.
We walked up the stairs to level 3 where our seats were. It was pretty good view up there. I could see the overall view of the MCG. The seats were quite packed that might be because the stadium is bigger than enough to hold the fans of the Tigers and Hawks.
My mate concluded some important rules of the game before the game started. Here’s what he said
– There are 4 quarters, 30mins each with the break between
– There are 18 players each team
– The field has 8 poles: 2 tall ones each side and 2 short ones each side
– To score, the player has to kick the ball pass through the tall poles in the middle without touching the opponents. That will be 6 points.
– If the ball touches the opponent and it passes through the goal, that will, however, be 1 points.
– If the ball passes between the long and the short pole, that will also be one points.
– There will be tall players who stand at the poles (like a Center in basketball) to clear the ball out when the opponent crosses in
– There will also be runners on left and right side as a winger.
– The opponents can not stand too closed to the player if he is going to kick the ball. However, they can tackle as hard as they want if he is running.
These are just some basic rules. If you want to know more, just go to AFL website or google it!
Before the game started, there were songs for each team like soccer. Some fans stood up and sang along. Some just clapped hands along. Then the players of both team just ran into the field.
I had to admit that I was pretty confident that the Hawks would win as they have been really good in the past few games. They beat the opponents by the average margin of 100 points! And Tigers was just a team at the 5th place. My mates also told me that Hawthorn has been the best in the past decade.. WOW.
The referee then threw the ball to the ground and it bounced up into the air. That is the sign of ‘GAME ON’. There were more than four masculine men jumping to the air to get the ball. They hit each other, tried to pass the ball or tried to stop opponents from getting the ball. The Tigers were having the possession. Their passing and marking was really good. Until, they got the first goal. My mates celebrated and told me that I owned them glasses of beer as it is the rule because their team scored first. After that, the Hawks were trying to get the goal. They got the kick from promising possession. Unfortunately, it was a cold and windy night. The ball flied in the air and hit the long post and bounce to the short pole!(so, that is just one point) God Damn it! The game was tensed, the fans were cheering their teams and booing their opponents. Then, Richmond got the second goal.. and third goal… and that’s the end of the first quarter.
I was a little bit scared that my team would lose, however, there was still time and I believed in my team. Then, the second quarter started, the Hawks were trying to get back until they got what they wanted. First goal, second goal, third goal… By the end of the second quarter, the Hawks had the lead! So, after the second quarter, there was 30mins break. We walked down the stairs to grab some chips and beers. Then, my mate told me more about how great the Hawks has been. I also reckoned that, at the moment, everyone would think that the Hawks will take the victory as always.
The third quarter started, the Tigers scored and took back their lead again! In this quarter, I have to admit that they were playing obviously better than the Hawks as the Hawks DID NOT SCORE A GOAL in this quarter. Then, last quarter came, Hawthorn were trying their best to score goals. Unfortunately, some players missed their chances. They unbelievably missed it ;( It could be because of the wind or the pressure in the stadium. On the other hand, Richmond were having their games, the passing was accurate and the marking was fantastic. By the last 10mins, Tigers were having their lead by the margin of 4 GOALS. Thus, some of the Hawks fans were leaving the stadium as they seemed disappointed. Then, the game is done. The Tigers had beaten the Hawks by the score of 71:53.
There are just some match highlights. There were also some more interesting moments such as the ball stopped in front of the line and the players fighting.
In conclusion, I just want to share this experience to those of you who have not heard or watched footy. I will say that even though it seem violent, it is a beautiful game. We can see the effort from the players. We can not really predict which team will win just like this game (the media and people thought that Hawks would win as always). Especially, when I was watching real live game at the stadium, I can fully participate the game with my mates and the fans. From what I have heard, Footy also have quite a long history as well. The sport has been growing up along side the Australians. So, you can try to turn on Channel 7 sometimes (if you are in Australia) and you will be able to watch it Live for free! or if you are an international students, I have come across a post mentioning about TCFS association with Carlton Footy’s club that TCFS students may be able to get the free tickets to watch the game sometimes!