Home > Calcutta (Kolkata), Calcutta (Kolkata) Sports, General > Australian Rules Football, Australian Football League (AFL) India, Kolkata

Australian Rules Football, Australian Football League (AFL) India, Kolkata

Australian Rules Football

4th Australian Football League (AFL) India, Gitanjali Stadium, Kolkata

The score board of the finals of the 4th Australian Football League (AFL) India, at Gitanjali Stadium, Kolkata, read Bengal Tigers: 2 – 6 – 18 and Jharkhand Crows 2 – 1 – 13, looks complicated!!! but the rules of the game of Australian Rules Football, popularly known as Footy is pretty simple.

Australian Rules Football, 4th Australian Football League (AFL) India, Gitanjali Stadium, Kolkata

Australian Rules Football, 4th Australian Football League (AFL) India, Gitanjali Stadium, Kolkata

Know Australian Rules Football: The game is played on a oval ground with a oval ball similar to rugby. There are four posts, two long and two short, on the two end of the field.

Along the oval boundary, Australian Rules Football

Along the oval boundary, Australian Rules Football

If the ball passes through the two longer post the team gets six points and if it passes through the long and short post the team gets one point. There is no height restriction in both cases.

So Bengal Tigers score of 2 – 6 – 18 would mean 2 six pointers and 6 one pointer, making a total of (2 X 6) + (6 X 1) = 18.

On the other hand Jharkhand Crows score of 2 – 1 – 13 consists of 2 six pointers and 1 one pointer making it a total of 13 points.

The original game of Australian Rules Football is 18 side game but the shorter version consists of 9 a side. The Australian Football League (AFL) India consisted of the shorter version for both senior and junior (under 16) level.

The four posts at one end of the oval field, Australian Rules Football

The four posts at one end of the oval field, Australian Rules Football

The nine side game is officiated by six umpires, consisting of two field umpires, two boundary umpires and two goal umpires.

Australian Rules Football, lovingly called footy by the Aussies, is played with a oval shaped ball, bit smaller and more roundish than a rugby ball.

Although similar to rugby, the two sports differ considerably. There is no try in Australian Rules Football and there is no scrum to restart play.

Unlike rugby, players can not throw the ball instead they have to fist it like volleyball for the short pass.

Stopping a free kick, Australian Rules Football

Stopping a free kick, Australian Rules Football

For long passes the players have to kick the ball like football (soccer) goalie and every 15 meters players need to bounce the ball, like basket ball.

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.

The games stops and the player gets a free kick from the point which is marked.

Mark is one of the most prevalent skills in Australian football. Marking can also be one of the most spectacular and distinctive aspects of the game. Specky, is the Aussie term for spectacular mark. Most tournament have prizes for the best mark.

Attempting a Mark. Gitanjali Stadium, Kolkata. Australian Rules Football

Attempting a Mark. Gitanjali Stadium, Kolkata. Australian Rules Football

Origin of Australian Rules Football: Like Kabadi in India Australian Rules Football is a home grown sports, which is being played for centuries.

Dodging a defender, Australian Rules Football

Dodging a defender, Australian Rules Football

The first recorded documentations of the game dates back to 1850s. It was mainly introduced to keep cricketers fit during the off season.

Today it has far suppressed cricket and is the number one popular sports in Australia.

Two of the biggest cricket grounds in Australia, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) also host Australian Rules Football matches.

Australian Rules Football in India: Unlike Rugby, which is being played for almost a century and half, the Australian Rules Football is very new game in India.

Run and Chase, Australian Rules Football

Run and Chase, Australian Rules Football

In India, former Australian Cricketer Ricky Ponting introduced the game in Kolkata during the Indian Premier League 2008.

Ponting was playing for Kolkata Knight Riders and the programme was jointly hosted by the Australian High Commission and ITC Sonar.

Prior to that, a game of Australian Football was played in La Martiniere for Boys, Kolkata in 2006.

Today about 50 odd countries, including India, have taken up the sports. On International level India have participated in the last three edition of Australian Football League (AFL) International Cup. In 2011 India recorded their first victory by defeating East Timor and finished 16th out of 18 countries.

Action at 4th Australian Football League (AFL) India, Gitanjali Stadium, Kolkata

Action at 4th Australian Football League (AFL) India, Gitanjali Stadium, Kolkata

The Indian National Championship of Australian Football, known as Australian Football League (AFL) India was first played in Calicut (Kerala) in 2012. Followed by Goa (2013) and Mumbai (2014).

The 2015 edition was held at the Gitanjali Stadium in Kolkata and seven teams participated. The teams were:

Long Pass (Kick), Australian Rules Football

Long Pass (Kick), Australian Rules Football

  1. Bengal Tigers
  2. Jharkhand Crows
  3. Odisha Swans
  4. Rajasthan Eagles
  5. Maharashtra Giants
  6. Kerala Bombers (senior team only)
  7. Tamil Nadu Kangaroos (junior teams only)

So each of the senior and junior sections had 6 teams, which were further divided into two groups.

Each three teams of a group played in league format, with the two group leaders meeting at the final. In both the senior and junior categories Bengal and Jharkhand meet at the final.

Short Pass (Hand Fist), Australian Rules Football

Short Pass (Hand Fist), Australian Rules Football

The senior final was a close fought affair, with Bengal beating Jharkhand with a scoreline of Bengal Tigers: 2 – 6 – 18 and Jharkhand Crows 2 – 1 – 13.

But the Jharkahand whitewashed Bengal in the junior category with the score line reading Jharkhand Crows 9 – 7 – 61 and Bengal Tigers 0 – 0 – 0.

But the true winner was Australian Rules Football. Gavin Crosisca, an Aussie Rules legend who has played more than 200 games, was among those who witnessed the Kolkata tournament. He said “You guys have a lot of natural talent. You can catch well, run well. All you need is a bit more training in the the technique.”

Action at 4th Australian Football League (AFL) India, Gitanjali Stadium, Kolkata

Action at 4th Australian Football League (AFL) India, Gitanjali Stadium, Kolkata

Special Thanks: Thanks to Sudip Chakraborty, Founder & Secretary General at Australian Rules Football Association of India (AFL India) & Captain of the Indian national team of – Indian Tigers for explaining me the rules of Australian Rules Football.

  1. November 11, 2015 at 9:01 PM

    Great learning about the game. The point system is pretty good…i hope the umpires can make out easily which poles it passed through!
    I never saw Rugby; somehow, i am a big fan of Cricket though.

    • November 13, 2015 at 5:27 PM

      Thanks Alok for the comment, I am not much of a cricket fan. May be the reason behind that is, i always prefer things that are not too common!!!!

      The goal umpire does have a tough time and probably tougher than rugby as there are four posts and the game is much faster.

      On the other hand Calcutta has a long history of rugby, do have a look at my blog post on the rugby tournament of Calcutta Cup

      • November 13, 2015 at 7:40 PM

        Good that the game is doing well and expanding in Kolkata🙂

  2. November 13, 2015 at 7:52 PM

    This was so different from your usual travel posts. A great read nevertheless.

    • November 13, 2015 at 8:58 PM

      Yes Indrani this was quiet different from my usual travelogues, but I do write about whatever iis interesting in Kolkata.

      Previously I have written about unusual sports in Kolkta like Lawn Bowling and Rugby. Both these sports are being played in Kolkata for almost 150 years.

      On the other hand Australian Rules Football is a new sports to the Kolkata, as well as India.

      Do have a look at Kolkata Sports

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: