AFL (or ‘the footy’) a classic Aussie tradition


All international students should experience an Australian Rules Football match while they are here. Regardless if you like sports or not, it’s fun to watch the match, hang out with friends and enjoy the local sporting culture.

AFL (or ‘the footy’) is a classic Aussie tradition. More people watch AFL than any other sport in Australia. The annual Grand Final is a major event, not only is a public holiday (in Melbourne), more than 100,000 fans attended in 2017 making it the highest attended club championship event in the world!

THE AFL Grand Final this year is between Richmond and Greater Western Sydney and starts at 2.30 pm AEST on Saturday, September 28. It is the first time the Giants have played in a Grand Final, while Richmond is aiming to win its 12th premiership cup.

So what do you need to know to become an avid AFL fan?


  • Each team will usually have 22 players with 18 of them on the field

  • The game is played on an oval-shaped field with scoring posts at each end. Points are scored by kicking the oval-shaped ball between the opposing goalposts (worth six points) or behind posts (worth one point)

  • Players can kick, handball or tap the football, tackle and chase other players and kick for goal from anywhere on the oval

  • An AFL game has four quarters. Each quarter lasts for approximately 20 minutes, plus any extra time is given when the umpire calls a time-out

  • The game (or match) is won by the team which has the highest score at the final siren.



So now that you are an expert on the game rules it’s time to choose your team.

People follow their teams for many reasons – you can pick your closest local team or the team whose colours you like the most. Maybe you can choose your friends’ team or their team’s rival. Either way, we suggest you support a team that actually has a chance of winning. Losing match after match can get pretty boring.

Talking about your footy team’s performance on the weekend is a great way to bond with new friends and to start a conversation with locals.

But be warned, footy fans are passionate about their teams. No matter what team you decide to support, or ‘barrack for’, the other teams’ fans will call you a ‘loser’. Don’t worry, it’s part of the fun – you can just call them a ‘loser’ as well because obviously, your team is better than theirs.


You have picked your team, now you are ready to go out to a match. Find out when and where your team is playing on the AFL website.

Going to a footy match makes for an awesome day out; you can hang out with friends and engage in the culture of the sport. At the game, you might try the traditional footy snack – a meat pie and then cheer and shout for your favourite team. The exciting atmosphere at the match will be contagious! Footy season is March – September, so you will need to keep warm in your team’s jumper, scarf and beanie when attending a game.

100,000 fans will cheer on their teams at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) at Melbourne's biggest sporting event of the year! Catch the game on the big screen at Fed Square, your local pub or have a BBQ with your friends 


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