I had the opportunity to watch a live Australian football game or as the Australian call it “footsy” for short. The two competing teams were the Collingwood Mag-pies and the Geelong Cats. Don’t ask me what a Mag-pie is! According to Google, it’s a type of bird.
The venue where the football match is not short or small by any standards. The Melbourne Cricket Grounds, is a pretty massive stadium that can hold about 80,000 people. The stadium is not an open concourse like that of a modern baseball stadium.
We were in the nosebleed section way up there near the rafters. The legroom was pretty standard for any stadium. The lower seats didn’t seem to be any wider or provide more legroom, just a better viewing angle.
My friend who invited me to the game explained the rules of the game and I think without his assistance, the game would have been less enjoyable and more confusing.
I’m not going to reiterate the rules of the game. One can find all that on Wikipedia as well as the history of the game. I was initially shocked by the physical nature of the sport compounded with the absence of padding or protection on each player.
The skills involved to play this sport appear to be a mix between what is needed in soccer and football. Each player needs to run fast to avoid getting tackled. And since tackling is allowed scrawny guys won’t be the best at the sport.
Big and tough soccer players seemed to be the right guys for the sport. To advance the ball up the field, the player needs to kick it up field to their teammate, thus requiring distance and accuracy.
The player receiving the punt pass needs to catch it while the opponent can try to intercept it like a defender in American football.
Once the ball is caught, then that’s when the players need to get rid of quickly by kicking off to another teammate to avoid being tackled.
It’s an intense fast paced game!
The lady next to me was rooting for Collingwood and was constantly yelling, “c’mon mates!”, “Let’s go guys!”
FOOD AT THE VENUE
We grabbed a few beers before we sat down. While we were in line for the beers, my friend Andy pointed out the meat pie sold at the concession. The meat pie is a staple food item and that I had to try one.
After the 2nd half, I parted $5 AUD for my meat pie.
I think it’s just as rough as a sport as rugby. My friend told a professional player is lucky to still be playing beyond the age of 30 due to the likelihood of injury. The match I was watching was between two competitive teams so the game was fairly close until the end rather and a lopsided blow out, thus adding to the entertainment value.