Saturday, August 8, 2009


When in Rome, do like the Romans, when in Melbourne, don't miss the footie as it is called by the Aussies. Australian Rules football is something unique to Southern Australia.

On Friday the 7th of August, a big bunch of MUSEX members (Melbourne University Student Exchange) invaded the Melbourne Cricket Ground stadium. The 50 of us met up at the corner of Flinders Street and Swanston, in front of the Transport Bar at 6pm.

Here's the concession ticket we got, $12.80 for students! Much cheaper than other places in the world. No wonder Australians love their sports.

We took a short walk to the MCG, on of Melbournes two 100,000 seater stadium, which was filled to the brim with eager Aussies. The seats below, are only open to members and the membership list is currently at 50years waiting. The people tell me that fathers buy memberships for their unborn children! Today's game was Geelong Cats vs Carlton and it promised to be a tight match.

The aerial view of the stadium. Trust me, it is huge.

Okay, the Australian Rules Football is really different from other football and here are some key differences for newbies in case anyone asks:

1. The field is the shape of a baseball. Fits into round stadiums!!
2. The are 4 sticks as goals, two short ones beside 2 tall ones. Scoring into the centre space gives most points. No keepers.
3. There are at least 4 umpires, 6 waterboys, 1 guy in flouroscent running around for the most obscure reason.
4. It is started by throwing the ball at the ground!
5. In football, a throw in requires the thrower to throw forward with 2 feet on the ground. In footie, the umpire throws the ball facing backwards with one leg flying up!
6. You pass like rugby but have to dribble like football every 15 metres.
7. It is a very gentle game, tackling is like hugging and the players fall down like men. They get up and don't squeal like lil girls.
8. There are 3 scores, 1 is the total.
9. There are quaters each 30 minutes long, hence 2 hours of play.
10. There are 18 players and hundreds of tiny rules that must be adhered to.

Daylight in the night, 4 ten storey floodlights illuminating every move the players made. The moon was full and the crowd was howling like wolves in the cold. There was also a short fireworks display from the Yarra river nearby. The players were mostly skinheads. These were real men, wearing only their uniforms and muscles n the playing field, they seem to have an inexhaustable source of energy. Kicking, punching, scoring, passing, and tackling was the highlight of the night. What an atmosphere it was, and it would have been greater in the summer warmth.

It was intense and Geelong was a formidable foe. Yet in the end, both teams played well and Carlton emerged champions and will proceed to the next stage. Cheers!

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