Australian Rules Football Information

To help you enjoy and understand the game of Australian Rules football here is some basic information, but if you do have any questions please do not hesitate to ask one of our friendly GLoBALL ambassadors at the game!

Australian Rules football…
Australian Rules football is a home-grown Australian game that is affectionately known as Aussie Rules or Footy. It originated in Australia and is a unique Australian sporting experience as it is not played professionally in any other country! Different countries are however gaining interest in the sport and teams can be found in East Timor, The United States of America, Japan and New Zealand.

The game…
Essentially, it’s about two opposing teams attempting to kick goals and finish the match with the biggest points tally. A goal is scored when the football is kicked through the taller posts (the goalposts) and is worth 6 points. If the football goes between either of the shorter outside posts (the behind posts), a behind is scored and 1 point is added to that team’s tally. The action continues through four quarters and for close to two hours. Enjoy the spectacle!


  • GOAL = 6 points
  • BEHIND = 1 point




Understanding the action…
Games involve two teams of 22 players with 18 from each team on the field at any one time with an additional 4 players that it can rotate on and off during the game. There is no limit on how many changes teams can make.

Games are divided into 4 quarters of 20 minutes. Extra time is added for stops in play so most quarters run for about 30 minutes. Teams swap ends after each quarter. Total game time is about 2 hours.


The game starts when a siren sounds. An umpire then bounces the ball high into the air inthe centre of the ground. One player from each team- ‘ruck men’ then tries to tap the ball to their team mates. The ball is also bounced in the centre to start each quarter and after a goal has been scored.


Teams try to get the football and then run, kick and handball it towards their goals. If a player marks the ball (catches it), they are entitled to a set kick and the opposition is not allowed to touch him until he plays on. Players can also run with the ball.

A player can win the ball by tackling an opponent. A legal tackle is performed by grabbing an opponent with the ball, below the shoulders and above the knees. Players are not allowed to push an opponent in the back while making a tackle and tackled players must correctly dispose of (pass) the ball within a reasonable time (1 to 2 seconds).

A free kick is awarded against a player caught in possession of the ball with a legal (good) tackle. If the tackle is illegal (inappropriate) a free kick will be awarded to the player with the ball.

The aim of the game is to kick goals. Kicking the ball through the taller middle posts (the goalposts) = 6 points. If the ball goes between a goalpost and the smaller outside posts (the behind posts), a behind (1 point) is scored. The score is written with the goals first, the behinds second, and the total points last.

14 Goals – 9 Behinds – 93 points in total

The team that finishes with the highest total of goals and behinds is the winner.

Teams line – up in ‘lines’ of 3 players across the ground. They are:
Half-back line
Centre line
Half-forward line
Forward line
There are also 3 other players who rove around the ground.

There are 3 field umpires who control the game.
There are also umpires in each goal and boundary
umpires who decide when the ball has gone out
and then throw it back in.



Extra information…

A player running with the ball must bounce or touch the ball on the ground every 15m.

A handball involves holding the football in one hand and hitting it with the clenched fist of the other hand.

Awarded when a player catches a kick that has travelled at least 15m on the full and has not been touched by any player. As for a free kick the player may go back and dispose of the ball unimpeded by the opposition.

Players cannot throw the ball or drop the ball. Players must pass the ball by foot or hand or they can be penalised for ‘holding the ball’. The umpire will definitely award this penalty if a player has opportunity to pass the ball. The shout of ‘BALL!!” is perhaps the most common cry from football crowds. It generally means the player has been tackled before he released the ball and had opportunity to do so. Or that he dropped the ball.

A free kick is awarded to a player that has been tackled whilst not in possession of the ball.

An opposition player may be shepparded (blocked) from a contest provided he is within 5m of the contest. This is done by standing between the opposition player and your teammate with the ball.

Awarded by the umpire when a player disputes umpires decision, abuses an umpire or does not return the ball to the opposition correctly after a penalty awarded (i.e. must give the ball back on the full –not place on the ground or throw away).

The Australian football League (AFL) has 18 teams. Teams come from across Australia and include:
Adelaide Crows
Fremantle Dockers
North Melbourne Kangaroos *
West Coast Eagles
Brisbane Lions
Geelong Cats*
Port Adelaide Power
Western Bulldogs *
Carlton Blues *
Gold Coast Suns
Richmond Tigers *
Collingwood Magpies *
Hawthorn Hawks *
St. Kilda Saints *
Essendon Bombers *
Melbourne Demons *
Sydney Swans
Greater Western Sydney
Victorian teams *

Remember if you do have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask one of our GLoBALL team at the game.

We look forward to seeing you at the game …..GO BOMBERS!