The Thrilling World of Australian Football: A Beginner’s Guide

By Ryan White Updated: December 2023

When you hear the sounds of fast-paced action, see players leaping to catch a ball, and feel the excitement in the air, you might think it’s rugby. But in Australia, it’s something else entirely – Australian Football, often referred to as AFL, Aussie Rules, or simply footy. In this article, we’re diving into the heart of Australia’s biggest sport to understand what makes it so special.

The Basics of Aussie Rules

A Uniquely Australian Sport:

AFL is played on a football field that’s larger than most you’ve ever seen, and it features an egg-shaped ball that takes unpredictable bounces. Each team consists of 18 players on the field and four on the bench. These athletes are a spectacle to behold, boasting the size of basketball players, the hand and foot speed of NFL wide receivers, and the endurance of soccer players.

Starting with a Bounce:

The game begins with a center bounce, similar to a jump ball in basketball. Like American football, the primary goal is to move the ball down the field and score. There are three ways to advance the ball: running with it while bouncing it every 16 yards, using fists to handball it forward, or the most common method – kicking it like a quarterback but with the feet. These players can execute pinpoint kicks to teammates on the run from up to 50 yards away. If the kick is high, a player might have to jump for a spectacular catch – this is called a “mark.”

Taking Marks and Scoring:

Surprisingly, players can use their opponents as springboards for jumping when taking a mark. After a mark is taken, the player can choose to keep going or stop and take an unimpeded kick. The ultimate objective is to kick the ball through the two large upright posts, known as a “goal,” which is worth six points. If the ball hits the post or goes between the big post and the outer lower post, it’s worth one point and called a “behind.” A final scoreline might look something like this: “12.9.81” (meaning 12 goals, 9 behinds, and a total score of 81 points). Unlike many other sports, there’s no offside rule in Aussie Rules.

Scoring Goals

Scoring in Australian football involves some interesting mechanics. There are three primary ways to score:

  1. Kick: Players can kick the ball between the two large upright posts for six points, the highest score.
  2. Mark: After a kick of at least 15 meters, a player can catch the ball uncontested, earning a “mark.” They can then choose to play on or take an unobstructed kick.
  3. Behind: If the ball hits the post or goes between the big posts and the outer lower post, it’s worth one point. It’s called a “behind.”

The variety in scoring methods keeps the game unpredictable and thrilling. And yes, you can use your opponent as a stepladder to take a spectacular mark, legally!

Position Diversity:

While there are positions like defenders, forwards, and midfielders, there’s no strict demarcation like in some other sports. Players often move across positions during a game, showcasing their versatility.

Tackling with Precision:

Tackling is a crucial part of the game, but it must be done within a specific range – between the shoulders and the knees. This rule ensures safety while maintaining the physicality of the sport.

The Game Structure

Four Quarters of Action:

AFL games consist of four quarters, each lasting 20 minutes, but additional time is added for stoppages of play. This extra time can extend the game by as much as ten minutes.

Regular Season and Playoffs: AFL teams play 22 regular season games, and the top eight teams make it to the playoffs, known as the “finals” in Australia. Eventually, two teams battle it out in the championship game, the grand final, which is akin to Australia’s Super Bowl. It’s played annually in the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of a massive crowd of over 90,000 fans.

The Global Appeal

AFL has garnered attention worldwide, with fans from diverse backgrounds expressing their fascination. In India, Australian cricketer Ricky Ponting introduced the sport, leading to its increasing popularity in the eastern parts of the country. American viewers have also embraced AFL, with some fans describing it as more entertaining than American football. The sport’s unique blend of elements from soccer, rugby, handball, volleyball, and basketball has captured the imagination of spectators across the globe.


Australian Football, with its high-octane action, remarkable athleticism, and unique rules, has become Australia’s premier sport. It’s a game that defies easy categorization, blending elements from various sports to create a thrilling spectacle. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a newcomer, Aussie Rules has something to offer to sports enthusiasts worldwide. So, if you’re looking for a sport that’s fast, skilful, and downright exciting, it’s time to tune in to AFL and experience the thrill of Australian Football for yourself.

Aussie Rules football

Understanding the AFL National Draft: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you ready to dive into the intricacies of the AFL National Draft? If you’re a footy enthusiast or just curious about how Australia’s most popular sport brings in fresh talent, you’ve come to the right place. In this episode of our “AFL Explained” series, we’ll break down the key facets of the AFL National Draft, demystifying the process from start to finish.

The Foundation of Fair Play

The AFL National Draft has been a pivotal element of the league since its inception. Its core principle remains consistent: to ensure fairness and competitiveness in the competition. To achieve this, the draft order is determined by reversing the previous season’s finishing order. The team with the wooden spoon gets the first pick, while the reigning premier selects last. Teams eliminated in the same round of finals are separated by their ladder position.

Multiple drafts occur throughout the year, but the focus centers on the national draft. This is where the best young talent from across the country discovers whether they’ll live their dream of playing in the AFL.

Eligibility and the Draft Combine

To be eligible for the national draft, players must turn 18 by the 31st of December in the year of the draft and not be currently tied to an AFL club. The road to the draft begins with the Draft Combine, where approximately the top 100 young players across the nation are invited. Here, they showcase their skills, athleticism, and personality to recruiters. Only those who formally nominate for the draft are eligible for selection.

The National Draft in Action

The national draft unfolds over five rounds, with the order of picks remaining the same in each round. Each pick is used to select a player from the pool of nominees. Teams must select a minimum of three players at the draft to ensure a competitive roster. They must also begin the season with a main list of between 38 and 40 players, in addition to up to nine rookies. This often leads to clubs delisting players before the draft to make room for new talent.

AFL Ladder In Aussie Rules

The AFL ladder is a system that ranks the entire league in order of the team’s win-loss records. It is possible for a team to move up the ladder during the course of a season, and for a team to move down.

The AFL ladder is calculated by adding up all of the wins from the home and away games and then splitting them into two sections. The first section is for the games that have been played at home and the second section is for games away. The top eight teams on the ladder qualify for the finals. This is a really popular knockout competition and the winners are crowned the Grand Champions. 

AFL Finals Format: How Does the Finals System Work?

When it comes to Australian Rules Football (AFL), the anticipation and excitement reach their pinnacle during the AFL Finals series. This is where the top eight AFL teams battle it out to claim the prestigious title of AFL premiers.

Week One: Qualifying and Elimination Finals

At the outset of the AFL Finals series, the eight teams are split into two groups: the top four and the bottom four. The top four teams (ranked 1 to 4) face off in qualifying finals. The winners of these games enjoy the privilege of hosting preliminary finals in their home state during the third week of the finals. Importantly, they cannot be eliminated in the first week, even if they lose.

In the bottom four, teams ranked 5 to 8 engage in elimination finals. These are do-or-die matches, with the losers bowing out of the finals series. The victors advance to the second week to face the losers of the qualifying finals.

Week Two: Semi-Finals

In the second week, the two teams that lost in the qualifying finals take on the two teams that emerged victorious in the elimination finals. The winners of these semi-finals progress to the preliminary finals in week three, while the losers bid farewell to their finals campaign.

Week Three: Preliminary Finals

Preliminary finals are where the grand final contenders are determined. The winners of the qualifying finals meet the winners of the semi-finals. The victors in these clashes secure their place in the grand final, while the defeated teams exit the finals series.

Week Four: Grand Final

The pinnacle of the AFL season, the grand final, unfolds in the fourth week of the finals. The two teams that triumphed in the preliminary finals face off to claim the title of premiership team. This match is a culmination of months of hard-fought battles, and it can be held at various venues, including the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground.

In case of a draw, the AFL introduced extra time in 2016 to decide the premier, ensuring an unforgettable climax to the season.

So there you have it, the thrilling journey of the AFL Finals series, where only the strongest survive to etch their names in Australian sporting history.

How can I bet online on an AFL match?

AFL Head-to-Head Betting involves picking the winner of a selected game with prices offered on both teams based on their chances.
AFL Line Betting is the second most popular market, requiring the picked team to win or lose by a certain margin.
Season Pricing provides an opportunity to back favourite teams across all 24 rounds of the season.
Premiership Betting lists prices for each team to win the Grand Final.
Minor Premiership Betting offers markets for each team to finish at the top of the ladder at the end of round 24.
Place Betting markets are available for teams to Make or Miss Top 8.
Season Wins Betting lists odds for clubs to record under or over a certain number of wins during the regular season.
Brownlow Medal Betting offers monetary chances for players to win this prestigious individual award.

Online Sportsbetting For Aussie Rules Matches

Aussie Rules football is a sport with an entrenched following in the country, and with such a passionate fan base, it’s no surprise that Aussie Rules betting is popular too. There are plenty of online sports betting sites that offer great opportunities. All you need to do is read a review on an online casino site or a sports betting site. Most people look for a site that has a high payout percentage, offers odds in their currency, and accepts deposits and payouts in their currency.

With so many teams great in contention, it is hard to predict who will win. But one thing that is certain is that this year’s finals will be the most exciting yet!