Australian Football League
The Australian Football League is the pre-eminent professional competition of Australian rules football. Through the AFL Commission, the AFL serves as the sport's governing body, is responsible for controlling the laws of the game; the league was founded as the Victorian Football League as a breakaway from the previous Victorian Football Association, with its inaugural season commencing in 1897. Comprising only teams based in the Australian state of Victoria, the competition's name was changed to the Australian Football League for the 1990 season, after expanding to other states throughout the 1980s; the league consists of 18 teams spread over five of Australia's six states. Matches have been played in all states and mainland territories of Australia, as well as in New Zealand and China to promote the sport abroad; the AFL season consists of a pre-season competition, followed by a 23-round regular season, which runs during the Australian winter. The team with the best record after the home-and-away series is awarded the "minor premiership."
The top eight teams play off in a four-round finals series, culminating in the AFL Grand Final, held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground each year. The grand final winner is termed the "premiers", is awarded the premiership cup; the current premiers are the West Coast Eagles. The Victorian Football Association was established in 1877 and went on to become Victoria's major Australian rules football competition. During the 1890s, an off-field power struggle occurred between the VFA's stronger and weaker clubs, the former seeking greater administrative control commensurate with their relative financial contribution to the game; this came to a head in 1896 when it was proposed that gate profits, which were always lower in matches involving the weaker clubs, be shared amongst all teams in the VFA. After it was intimated that the proposal would be put to a vote, six of the strongest clubs—Collingwood, Fitzroy, Geelong and South Melbourne—seceded from the VFA, invited Carlton and St Kilda to join them in founding a new competition, the Victorian Football League.
The remaining VFA clubs—Footscray, North Melbourne, Port Melbourne and Williamstown—were given the opportunity to compete as a junior sides at a level beneath the VFL, but rejected the offer and remained for the 1897 VFA season. The VFL's inaugural season occurred in 1897, it made several innovations early on to entice the public's interest, including an annual finals tournament, rather than awarding the premiership to the team with the best record through the season. Although the VFL and the VFA continued to compete for spectator interest for many years, the VFL established itself as the premier competition in Victoria. In 1908, the league expanded to ten teams, with Richmond crossing from the VFA and University Football Club from the Metropolitan Football Association. University, after three promising seasons, finished last each year from 1911 until 1914, including losing 51 matches in a row; as a result, the club withdrew from the VFL at the end of 1914. Beginning sporadically during the late 1890s and from 1907 until World War I, the VFL premier and the premier of the South Australian Football League met in a playoff match for the Championship of Australia.
South Australia's Port Adelaide was the most successful club of the competition winning three titles during the period along with an earlier victory. In 1925, the VFL expanded from nine teams to twelve, with Footscray and North Melbourne each crossing from the VFA. North Melbourne and Hawthorn remained weak in the VFL for a long period. Although North Melbourne would become the first of the 1925 expansion sides to reach a Grand Final in 1950 it was Footscray that adapted to the VFL with the most ease of the three clubs, by 1928 were well off the bottom of the ladder. Between the years of 1927 and 1930, Collingwood became the first, only VFL team, to win four successive Premierships. In 1952, the VFL hosted ` National Day'. Matches were played at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Brisbane Exhibition Ground, North Hobart Oval, Albury Sports Ground and Victorian country towns Yallourn and Euroa. Footscray became the first of the 1925 expansion teams to win the premiership in 1954. Melbourne became a powerhouse during the 1950s and early 1960s under coach Norm Smith and star player Ron Barassi.
The club contested seven consecutive grand finals from 1954 to 1960, winning five premierships, including three in a row from 1955 to 1957. Television coverage began with direct telecasts of the final quarter permitted. At first, several channels competed through broadcasting different games. However, when the VFL found that television was reducing crowds, it decided that no coverage was to be allowed for 1960. In 1961, replays were introduced although direct telecasts were permitted in Melbourne. In 1959, the VFL planned the first purpose built mega-stadium, VFL Park, to give it some independence from the Melbourne Crick
Port Adelaide Football Club
Port Adelaide Football Club is a professional Australian rules football club based in Alberton, Port Adelaide, South Australia. The club's senior team plays in the Australian Football League, whilst its reserves team competes in the South Australian National Football League. Port Adelaide is the oldest professional sporting club in South Australia and the fifth-oldest club in the AFL. Since the club's first game on 24 May 1870, the club has won 36 South Australian league premierships, including six in a row; the club won the Champions of Australia competition on a record four occasions. After winning an AFL licence in 1994 the club began competing in the Australian Football League in 1997 as the only pre-existing non-Victorian club—and has subsequently added the 2004 AFL premiership to its achievements. By the late 1860s Port Adelaide's river traffic was growing rapidly; the increasing economic activity around the waterways resulted in a meeting being organised by Port Adelaide locals John Rann, Mr. Leicester and Mr. Ireland with the intention to form a sporting club to benefit the growing number of workers associated with the wharfes and surrounding industries.
As a result of their meeting the Port Adelaide Football Club was established on 12 May 1870 as part of a joint Australian football and cricket club. The first training session of the newly formed club took place two days later; the Port Adelaide Football Club played its first match against a team from North Adelaide known as the'Young Australians' on 24 May 1870 at the family property of inaugural club president John Hart Jr in Glanville. John Hart Sr would become premier of South Australia the week following the first match. During these early years, football in South Australia was yet to be formally organised by a single body and as a result there were two main sets of rules in use across the state. Port Adelaide's main opponents during the years prior to the foundation of a governing body for the code in South Australia were the now defunct Kensington and Old Adelaide club; the rules of the Old Adelaide club, which more resembled the rules used in Melbourne at the time, were adopted across Adelaide in 1876.
In 1877, Port Adelaide joined seven other clubs to form the South Australian Football Association, the first governing body of Australian rules football. For the first few seasons in the SAFA the club competed in white shorts. In 1878, Port Adelaide hosted its first game against the established Norwood Football Club with the visitors winning 1-0. A rivalry between these clubs would soon develop into one of the fiercest in Australian sport. In 1879, the club played reigning Victorian Football Association premiers Geelong at Adelaide Oval in what was Port Adelaide's first game against an interstate club. In 1880, Port Adelaide moved to Alberton Oval which remains to this day the club's training and administrative headquarters. In 1881, Port Adelaide played its first game against Carlton at Adelaide Oval; that year the club travelled to Victoria and played its first game outside South Australia against the Sale Football Club. During the 1882 season Port Adelaide overcame Norwood for the first time after nine previous attempts winning by 1 goal at Adelaide Oval.
On 2 July 1883 Port Adelaide played its first game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against Melbourne. In 1884 Port Adelaide won its first SAFA premiership. On 25 May 1885, Port Adelaide played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against South Melbourne, drawing with the eventual VFA premiers in front of 10,000 spectators. In 1887 immense interest led into the round 8 meeting against Norwood as the previous two matches between the clubs resulted in draws. Norwood won in front of a then-record 11,000 spectators at Adelaide Oval. Attending the match were Chinese Commissioners to the Jubilee Exhibition General Wong Yang Ho and Console-General Yu Chiung who were provided the South Australian premiers private box at Adelaide Oval. During 1889 the club played against the Richmond Football Club at Punt Road, with Port prevailing by a goal; the 1889 SAFA season ended with Port Adelaide and Norwood equal top, leading to the staging of Australia's first grand final. Norwood went on to defeat Port Adelaide by two goals.
In 1890 Port Adelaide won its second SAFA premiership and would go on to be crowned "Champions of Australia" for the first time after defeating VFA premiers South Melbourne. In 1891 the club defeated Fitzroy at Adelaide Oval with Indigenous Australian Harry Hewitt playing for Port Adelaide; as the 1890s continued Australia would be affected by a severe depression with many players were being forced to move interstate to find work. This exodus translated into poor on field results for the club. By 1896, the club was in crisis and finished last causing the clubs committee to meet with the aim of revitalising the club. Historian John Devaney suggested that there was a "conscious and deliberate cultivation by both the committee and the team's on field leaders of a revitalised club spirit, whereby playing for Port Adelaide became a genuine source of pride", it had immediate results and in 1897 Port Adelaide won a third premiership finishing the season with a record of 14-2-1 with a scoring record two and a half times its conceded total.
This is one of only four occurrences since 1877 that the team that finished last won a premiership the following year. Stan Malin won Port Adelaide's first Magarey Medal in 1899. During the 19th century the club had nicknames including the Cockledivers, the Seaside Men, the Seasiders and the Magentas. In 1900, Port finished bottom in the six-team competition, which it has not done in any senior league since. In 1902, Port Adelaide took the field i
Central Highlands Football League
The Central Highlands Football League is an Australian Rules Football League in the Ballarat region. The league coordinates Senior, Under 18, Under 15 and Under 12 grades; the CHFL was formed in 1979 as a merger of the Clunes FL and the Ballarat Bacchus Marsh FL. In 2011 the league admitted four new clubs from the defunct Lexton Plains Football League, bringing the total number of clubs to 18. In 2014 Illabarook changed its name to Smythesdale to reflect the town. Official Website
Handball (Australian rules football)
Handball or handpass is a skill in the sport of Australian rules football. It is the primary means of disposing of the football by hand, is executed by holding the ball with one hand and punching it with the other. Handball is a method of disposing of possession of the football by hand, it is the most used alternative to kicking the ball. In order to be a legal method to dispose of the ball, the player holds the ball with one hand and punches the ball away with the clenched fist of the other hand. A player punches with his dominant hand; when a player receives a handpass from another player, play continues – unlike the kick where if a player catches the ball on the full from a kick, he is entitled to take his next kick unimpeded. Failure to execute a handball is deemed a throw or illegal disposal and results in a free kick to the nearest opposition player. Moving the hand that holds the ball excessively in the direction of the handpass, using an open hand instead of a clenched fist to tap the ball away, throwing the ball off the carrying hand before punching it away, or handing the ball directly to a teammate will all attract a free kick for illegal disposal.
The rule defines it to the open hand tap/handpass in Gaelic football, but differentiates the hand skills from codes of football derived from rugby football. Unlike Gaelic football, punching the oval ball was more used as it was the most effective technique to move the heavier ball larger distances. Although the rules allowed for the handball, for most Australian rules leagues handball was a secondary skill to the kick. Strategically Australian football was viewed as a territorial sport – where the prime aim was not so much possession, but to cover as much distance through the air as possible; as the holding hand could not move, this was best achieved by means of kicking the ball as far as possible. The principally used handpass was top-spin in nature; this was used with the belief that the ball could be contained more locally and executed more off the hands when the ball was held in preparation for kicking, as smaller handpasses were used when in trouble. The other thought was that, as in tennis, a top-spun ball was more directed, dipped faster and possessed more stability in the air.
One notable variant of the handpass which began to develop was known as the flick pass, in which a player used his open hand instead of his fist to propel the ball. The legality of the flick pass has varied throughout the history of the game: it began to gain prominence in the early 1920s, before the Australian National Football Council voted to abolish it before the 1925 season, making the handpass with a clenched fist the only legal form of handpass; this was not popular, as the style of punch pass used at the time a much more cumbersome disposal than a flick pass, it resulted in the game being played at a slower pace. The flick pass was re-instated before the 1934 season. In the late 1950s and early 1960s it re-emerged as a common technique to achieve centre square clearances from scrimmages at VFL club Fitzroy. Of the 88 handballs executed during the 1961 VFL Grand Final, 18 were flick passes; the flick pass was abolished permanently in 1966. The flick pass had the significant drawback that its action was close to that of a throw, different umpires had different interpretations of what was legal.
In 1938, motivated by a desire to eliminate this inconsistency, to speed up the game further, the Victorian Football Association legalised throwing the ball, provided the throw was with two hands and both hands were below shoulder-height. The throw-pass was legal in the VFA and in some other competitions affiliated with it from 1938 until 1949, but it was never legal under ANFC rules; the emergence of handball as a more used skill took place in the 1960s and 1970s. A running handball game emerged in the South Australian National Football League with Sturt coach Jack Oatey credited with encouraging the skill through the late 1960s, leading to Sturt winning five premierships from 1966 to 1970. In Western Australia, Graham'Polly' Farmer and Barry Cable brought a new dimension to the game using handball, with Farmer looking for a runner to handpass to after each mark, to speed up the ball movement; the kick and catch style of play in the Victorian Football League is credited to the Carlton Football Club's 1970 VFL Grand Final victory under Ron Barassi, in which Carlton's extensive use of handpassing in the second half helped it recover from a 44-point half time deficit.
The modern handpass technique, known as the rocket handball, was pioneered by Kevin Sheedy. It is executed so that the ball rotates backwards in an end-to-end fashion, similar to the drop punt kick; the ball is held on a slight angle with the fist ending up in or close to the other open hand. This enables a handpass to achieve distance and speed comparable to a short kick and is easier for teammates to catch. Professional Australian footballers are competent at handballing using either punching arm. With the wide adoption of the handball in the 1980s, midfielders such as Greg Williams and Dale Weightman became handball specialists, renowned their playmaking ability by preferring to handball in the midfield. In the 1980s, Richmond Football Club wingman Kevin Bartlett became famous for a style of play which involved use of the handball to dispose of the ball before an opponent was about to tackle. Although rules were uniform across the country, local interpretations and customs var
Kicking is a skill used in many types of football, including: Association football Australian rules football International rules football American football Canadian football Gaelic football Rugby league Rugby unionKicking is the act of propelling a ball by striking it with the foot or, depending upon the sport, the shin. Kicking is most common in Association Football, where only the two goalkeepers are allowed to use their hands, it is the primary method of transferring the ball in Australian rules football and Gaelic football. Whereas most sports allow points to be scored by methods other than kicking, in Australian rules football kicking for goal is the only method allowed to score a goal and get the maximum six point score. Kicking is used less in Rugby League, Rugby Union, American football, Canadian football, may be restricted to specialist positions, but it is still an important tactical skill in each sport; the range of kicking styles available is influenced by the shape of the ball and the rules.
Mark (Australian rules football)
A mark is a skill in Australian rules football where a player cleanly catches a kicked ball that has travelled more than 15 metres without anyone else touching it or the ball hitting the ground. Although catching the ball is found in other codes of football, along with kicking the ball, it is one of the most prevalent skills in Australian football. Marking can be one of the most spectacular and distinctive aspects of the game, the best mark of the AFL season is awarded with the Mark of the Year, with similar competitions running across smaller leagues; the top markers in the Australian Football League, like Jason Dunstall and Jonathan Brown took an average of over eight marks per game. An AFL match between St Kilda and Port Adelaide in 2006 set a record of 303 marks in a single game. Upon taking a mark, the umpire will blow the whistle to signify the mark and a player is entitled to an unimpeded kick of the ball, to advance their team towards their goalposts; the nearest opposition player stands on the spot where the player marked the ball, known as the mark, becomes the man on the mark.
When taking the set kick, the player must either kick the ball over the mark. The criterion for a mark is that it be caught cleanly, i.e. the player have complete control of the ball, for any length of time. As such, if the ball is caught in one grab, punched out from between the player's hands, a mark is paid if they have held it for only an instant. If a ball is controlled, dislodged by another player or the ground, the mark will still be paid. Although the rules make no provision for two players marking the ball by convention the umpire will award the mark to the man in front, i.e. the player who has the front position in the marking contest. The mark has been included in the compromise rules used in the International Rules Football series between teams from Australia and Ireland since 1984. Various forms of football descended from English public school football games of the 19th century have featured a fair catch or mark, it was abolished early in the development of soccer but still exists in rugby union and American football.
The mark has been one of the most distinctive features of Australian football since rules were drawn up in 1859. Some people claim that the origin of the term mark comes from the practice of a player who has just taken a mark physically marking the ground with his/her foot, or cap which formed part of the attire worn by players in the 19th century, to show where he took the fair catch. Others claim that the origin of the mark comes from the traditional Aboriginal game of Marn Grook, said to have influenced Tom Wills' writing of the laws of the game, it is claimed that in Marn Grook, jumping to catch the ball, called "mumarki", an Aboriginal word meaning "to catch", results in a free kick. Some counterclaim this theory as false etymology. In Australian football, marks are described in combination of the following ways. Overhead mark: catching the ball with hands extended above the head Contested mark: catching the ball against one or more opponents who are attempting to mark or spoil the player attempting the mark.
This skill is declining in the professional game due to coaches discouraging preferring to avoid contests. Pack mark: catching the ball against one or more opponents and/or teammates all close to the fall of the ball. High mark: catching the ball whilst jumping up in the air. Stewart "Buckets" Loewe, Matthew Richardson and Simon Madden are notable exponents of the high mark. Spectacular mark: sometimes nicknamed'specky','screamer' or'hanger', this term is most used when a mark taken whilst jumping in the air. Additional elevation is achieved by using the legs to spring off the back or shoulders of one or more opponents and/or teammates; the movement of other players beneath the player marking can cause them to lose balance in mid air and land or fall awkwardly, enhancing the spectacle of the mark. The name reflects its popularity among spectators. Chest mark: catching the ball and drawing it in to the chest; this is considered the easiest mark to take, is used in wet weather. At professional level this skill is discouraged by coaches due to it giving opponents a much better chance of intercepting the ball from most directions.
Out in front: catching the ball with arms extended forward from the body. This skill is difficult with the ball travelling low and at high speeds. At professional level this skill is preferred by coaches, as it gives opponents less chance of spoiling from behind, if the ball spills, it will be "front and centre" of the player, which makes it much easier for rovers to predict and to execute game strategy. One-handed mark: catching the ball with only one hand. Used in a contested situation where one player's arm is impeded by an opponent, or where the player uses upper body strength to physically fend off their opponent. While spectacular, this skill is discouraged by coaches due to a low percentage of success and is sometimes seen as "showing off" or "lairising". Diving mark: leaping horizontally to catch the ball before it hits the ground. With the flight of the ball: a mark taken running in the direction that the ball is travelling. In order to do this, the player must take their eyes off opposition players sometimes running at fast pace in the opposite direction.
This type of mark is branded "courageous", because in attempting the mark, the player must ignore the danger of a high
Tackle (football move)
Most forms of football have a move known as a tackle. The primary and important purposes of tackling are to dispossess an opponent of the ball, to stop the player from gaining ground towards goal or to stop them from carrying out what they intend; the word is used in some contact variations of football to describe the act of physically holding or wrestling a player to the ground. In others, it describes one or more methods of contesting for possession of the ball, it can therefore be used as both a defensive or attacking move. In Middle Dutch, the verb tacken meant to handle. By the 14th century, this had come to be used for the equipment used for fishing, referring to the rod and reel, etc. and for that used in sailing, referring to rigging, equipment, or gear used on ships. By the 18th century, a similar use was applied to harnesses or equipment used with horses. Modern use in football comes from the earlier sport of rugby, where the word was used in the 19th century. In American football and Canadian football, to tackle is to physically interfere with the forward progress of a player in possession of the ball, such that his forward progress ceases and is not resumed, or such that he is caused to touch some part of his body to the ground other than his feet or hands, or such that he is forced to go out of bounds.
In any such case, the ball becomes dead, the down is over, play ceases until the beginning of the next play. A tackle is known as a quarterback sack when the quarterback is tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage while attempting to throw a pass. A tackle for loss indicates a tackle that causes a loss of yardage for the opposing running back or wide receiver; this happens when the quarterback is sacked, when either a rusher or a receiver is tackled behind the line of scrimmage, or when the ball is fumbled behind the line of scrimmage and was picked up by an offensive player who does not manage to move past the line before being tackled. When a player who does not have the ball is taken down, it is referred to as a block. Tacklers are not required to wrap their arms around the ball carrier before bringing him to the ground. Tackles can be made by grabbing the ball carrier's jersey and pulling him to the ground; as mentioned above, the referee can declare that a play is dead if the ball carrier's forward progress has been stopped if he has not been taken to the ground.
To protect players from catastrophic injury, there are some restrictions on tackles and blocks. At no time may a defensive player tackle an offensive player by grabbing the facemask of their helmet. Although spear tackles are allowed in gridiron football, a player may not use his helmet to tackle an opponent as the technique can cause serious injury to both players and warrants a 15-yard penalty as well as a fresh set of downs if committed by the defending team. A similar penalty is assessed to any player attempting to make contact with his helmet against another opponent's helmet, known as a helmet-to-helmet collision. Grabbing a ball carrier by the pads behind his neck and pulling him down is known as a "horse collar", a method, made illegal at all levels of American football, it is illegal to tackle a player who has thrown a forward pass after he has released the ball. However, in the NFL a player can continue forward for one step, which means that a player, committed to attacking the quarterback will still make a tackle.
Place kickers and punters are afforded an greater protection from being tackled. Once the play is ruled complete, no contact is permitted. Blocks that occur in the back of the legs and below the knees, initiated below the waist, or clotheslines are generally prohibited and players who use them are subject to much more severe penalties than other illegal tackles. However, a player who plays on the line can block below the knees as long the block is within five yards of the line and the player they block is in front of them and not engaged by another blocker. In the National Football League, tackles are tracked as an unofficial statistic by a scorekeeper hired by the home team. Though the statistic is cited, the league does not verify that the counts are accurate. Unlike other codes, tackles in association football have to be predominantly directed against the ball rather than the player in possession of it; this is achieved by using either leg to wrest possession from the opponent, or sliding in on the grass to knock the ball away.
A defender is permitted to use their body to obstruct the motion of a player with the ball, this may be part of a successful tackle. Pulling a player to the ground in the style of tackle common to other codes is absent from the game. Although some contact between players is allowed, the rules of association football limit the physicality of tackles, explicitly forbidding contacts which are "careless, reckless or excessive force