Month: September 2016

HISTORY OF FOOTY: New South Wales

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Aussie rules is a well-established sport in New South Wales, but has significantly been rivaled by rugby league and rugby union in terms of popularity and participation. For example, the National Rugby League currently fields nine teams in the Sydney metropolitan area, as opposed to the AFL, which only fields two teams in the Sydney region. Therefore, getting footy to be popular in New South Wales has mostly been an uphill battle.

The Riverina region of New South Wales – located along the Murray River and separating the state from Victoria – has been a notable exception. Footy has always been a big sport in this rural area, given the proximity to Victoria. The sport of Aussie rules is also developing a slow-but-steady following on the north and south shores of the state, away from Sydney.

The first recorded game of Aussie rules in the state was in Sydney in 1877; however, this was 14 years after rugby was introduced to the area. Some small footy clubs tried reaching out to local rugby clubs to play Aussie rules, claiming that it was a more exciting and fast-paced game, but were repeatedly turned down. The rugby authorities also rejected appeals to play Victoria-based footy clubs in alternate years under a different set of rules. In response, the New South Wales Football Association was formed in 1880, but immediately lacked the funding and the quality players to be competitive, and the competition didn’t really begin until nine years later. The league went bankrupt in 1893.

The New South Wales Football League was founded in February 1903 in Sydney. The Victorian Football League (VFL) began promoting the sport in Sydney and started hosting neutral-site matches at footy ovals in the city, as well as getting the word out and establishing the sport in local schools.

Although footy was growing in popularity, the rugby powers-that-be were none too keen, and repeatedly squashed efforts to build a passionate Aussie rules community in Sydney. Sometimes, they even went to great lengths to deny the use of training grounds to Aussie rules players, or attempt to poach footballers away and invite them to play rugby league exclusively.

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In 1933, the Australian National Football Carnival was held at the Sydney Cricket Ground. This was a critical turning point in boosting enthusiasm and interest for Aussie rules as a competitive enterprise, and some of the animosity between the footy and rugby codes died down. At one point, the New South Wales Rugby League even suggested combining footy and rugby league into one sport called “universal football,” but it was widely dismissed at the time and the plans never came to fruition.

In 1982, the landscape changed. The struggling South Melbourne Football Club, from the VFL, re-located north and became the Sydney Swans. The Swans struggled to capture a major audience at first and nearly went bankrupt in 1985, but began becoming much more competitive in the early-to-mid 90s, after the VFL was renamed the AFL and became a nationally-focused league. However, notable footballers did not start coming from New South Wales until the end of the 80s.

Since 1996, the Swans have made the AFL Finals almost every year, including a premiership in 2005. The success of the Swans has brought renewed attention to footy, and the Sydney public is much more open to the sport these days. In 2012, a new club was established in the western suburbs, called the Greater Western Sydney Giants. The two teams play each other annually in the Sydney Derby.

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Currently, most New South Welshmen still prefer rugby league, but Aussie rules is one of the fastest-growing sports in the state, and over 95,000 people play footy in NSW. The game has also received a significant boost from the AFL, who have invested in grassroots development and community events to raise participation rates.

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Australian Football League

  • Greater Western Sydney Giants
  • Sydney Swans

North East Australian Football League

  • Sydney Swans (reserves)
  • Sydney University Students
  • Western Sydney University Giants (reserves)

Sydney Australian Football League

  • Balmain Dockers
  • Campbelltown Blues
  • East Coast Eagles
  • Illawarra Lions
  • Manly-Warringah Wolves
  • North Shore Bombers
  • Pennant Hills Demons
  • St George Dragons
  • Sydney Hills Eagles
  • UNSW-Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs
  • UTS Bats
  • Western Suburbs Magpies
  • Wollongong Lions

Regional Leagues

  • Black Diamond Australian Football League
  • Broken Hill Football League
  • Central Murray Football League
  • Central West Australian Football League
  • Farrer Football League
  • Golden Rivers Football League
  • Hume Football League
  • Millewa Football League
  • Murray Football League
  • Newcastle Australian Football League
  • North Coast Australian Football League
  • Northern Riverina Football League
  • Ovens & Murray Football League
  • Picola & District Football League
  • Riverina Football League
  • Sapphire Coast Australian Football League
  • South Coast Australian Football League
  • Summerland Australian Football League
  • Sunraysia Football League
  • Tamworth Football League
  • Upper Murray Football League

Stadiums

  • Albury Sports Ground (Albury, capacity 8,000)
  • ANZ Stadium (Sydney, capacity 83,500)
  • Blacktown Oval (Sydney, capacity 10,000)
  • Bruce Purser Reserve (Kellyville)
  • Coffs Harbour International Stadium (Coffs Harbour, capacity 10,000)
  • Drummoyne Oval (Sydney, capacity 6,000)
  • Exies Oval (Griffith, capacity 7,500)
  • Lavington Sports Ground (Albury, capacity 20,000)
  • Margaret Donoghoe Oval (Karabar)
  • Newcastle Sports Ground (Newcastle, capacity 20,000)
  • North Dalton Park (Towradgi)
  • North Sydney Oval (Sydney, capacity 20,000)
  • Robertson Oval (Wagga Wagga, capacity 12,000)
  • Spotless Stadium (Sydney, capacity 24,000)
  • Sydney Cricket Ground (Sydney, capacity 48,000)
  • Tom Wills Oval (Sydney, capacity 3,000)
  • Tramway Oval (Sydney)
  • University of Sydney Oval (Camperdown)
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Coaches on the hot seat

We’re only a month into the 2016 college football season, which means that many teams are on a hot streak. But by the same token, many are not, prompting speculation about job security for many coaches nationwide. Let’s take a look at who is on the hot seat in 2016:

 

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Mark Stoops, Kentucky

The youngest Stoops was one of the nation’s most respected defensive minds under Jimbo Fisher at Florida State from 2010-2012. Then he jumped to Kentucky, one of the toughest jobs in the juggernaut that is the SEC. Stoops immediately started boosting enthusiasm for the program, began landing blue-chip recruits, and started a much-needed overhaul to the football facilities.

Still, on-field results have been lackluster, with Stoops currently holding a 13-26 record in his fourth season. Last year, the Wildcats had a very friendly home schedule, but had a habit of blowing late leads and eventually lost six out of their last seven games to end the season. Kentucky hasn’t been to a bowl game since 2010.

 

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Darrell Hazell, Purdue

At the end of 2012, then-Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke made the surprising decision to fire coach Danny Hope after reaching back-to-back bowl games. Instead, Burke brought in Hazell, who had a terrific two-year run at Kent State, leading them to their first bowl game in decades.

To put it politely, the Hazell experiment has been a disaster. In three full seasons, the Boilermakers are 6-30 and have been almost completely non-competitive in Big Ten conference play. In the face of lagging ticket sales and little recruiting clout, Hazell might occupy the hottest seat in the country right now.

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Steve Addazio, Boston College

Addazio was brought to Boston College in 2013 after working under Urban Meyer at Florida and then turning around a previously mediocre Temple program. The Connecticut native seemed up to the task at first, leading the Eagles to consecutive bowl berths in 2013 and 2014, before dramatically falling to 3-9 last season.

The fiery Addazio has attempted to mold a blue-collar, take-no-prisoners defense and has had great success there, but the offense has been a completely different story – BC averaged a paltry 17.2 points per game in 2015 and went winless in the ACC.

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Paul Haynes, Kent State

Let’s start with the obvious: Kent State is one of the most challenging jobs in the nation. But, Haynes is an alum and a former assistant who also spent time at big name schools like Ohio State, Michigan State, and Arkansas.

The result have been lacking, to say the least. The Flashes have consistently lacked a go-to playmaker or a steady hand at quarterback, and Haynes has cycled through coordinators on both sides of the ball. His overall record is 10-28 in a mediocre Mid-American Conference.

Tim DeRuyter

Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State

DeRuyter, a former Texas A&M assistant, was hired in 2012 and took over a fairly well-stocked program. He had immediate success, winning nine games in 2012 and 11 in 2013 behind the strong arm of future NFL starter Derek Carr. However, the Bulldogs began slumping, falling to 6-8 in 2014 and then 3-9 last year. DeRuyter’s problem has been a revolving door at quarterback since Carr’s departure, and the fact that Fresno’s defense has been a liability more often than a strength.

The veteran coach is hoping to resurrect things with two new coordinators (Eric Keisau on offense, Lorenzo Ward on defense), as well as relying on a group of young players who were thrown into the fire early last year and took their lumps in a losing campaign.

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Chuck Martin, Miami (Ohio)

You have to hand it to Martin. The former Notre Dame offensive coordinator walked into an absolute disaster when he took over a winless Miami program in 2014. The no-frills Martin has not been taking shortcuts, starting numerous young players and paying the price, winning only five games in his first two seasons. In fact, the current roster features a scant 10 seniors.

The RedHawks are hoping that they’ll have the maturity and experience to go head-to-head with their Mid-American Conference foes this season, but they’re off to a rough start (0-3), including a home loss to FCS opponent Eastern Illinois during a game in which the offense fell flat. Martin’s long-haul approach needs to pay dividends right……about…..now.

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Charlie Partridge, Florida Atlantic

It’s not easy being a football team in South Florida not named the Hurricanes. True enough, the Florida Atlantic Owls have struggled in recent years after the retirement of legendary coach Howard Schnellenberger. After he left town, FAU administration brought in Charlie Partridge, a tough-as-nails defensive specialist who was seen as the guy who could help turn around the Owls’ fortunes in Conference USA.

In Year Three, Partridge is 1-4, having recently lost a rivalry game to previously winless Florida International on October 1st. Partridge’s overall record is 7-22, and he could be looking for work elsewhere unless the Owls make a marked turnaround in the latter half of the season.

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Trent Miles, Georgia State

It sucks to put him back on the list. Miles is a genuinely likable guy who turned around his alma mater’s woeful program (Indiana State) in record time and used that success to take over a similarly stagnant Georgia State program. The ball bounced the Panthers’ way in 2015, when they won their final four games and got to a bowl for the first time in school history. Miles was named Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year for his work, despite holding an overall record of just 7-30.

In 2016, the Panthers are off to an 0-4 start against a brutal early schedule, including Appalachian State, Air Force, and Wisconsin. But there seems to be little chance of the Panthers rebounding anytime soon, as they’ve dug themselves a hole quickly. It could mean that Miles’s tenure in Atlanta is coming to a close.

 

Getting Warmer

  • David Bailiff, Rice
  • James Franklin, Penn State
  • Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette
  • Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
  • Sean Kugler, UTEP
  • Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
  • Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati

HISTORY OF FOOTY: Northern Territory

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The remote outback is far from the glamorous floodlights and roaring crowds of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, but Aussie rules has one of the most passionate groups of fans and players alike, tucked away in the Northern Territory.

Although it was only introduced in 1916, decades after other areas of the country, the Northern Territory produces more AFL footballers per capita than any other Australian state. It also boasts the highest participation rate of any state – seven percent of the Territory’s population plays footy.

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The first recorded footy match was played in Darwin, the Northern Territory’s capital, in 1916. Quite early on, it was decided that the footy season would be played in the opposite manner of the other states. Darwin’s humid, monsoonal climate – with a wet summer and a dry winter – meant that footy would have to be played in the summer due to softer training grounds.

The game was a smash hit with Aboriginal Australians almost immediately. In 1941, two Catholic missionaries, John Pye and Andy Howley, introduced Aussie rules to the Tiwi Islands, a remote pair of islands located in the Timor Sea (roughly 100 km off the northern coast of Darwin).

Despite having a population of only 3,000 people, footy is a huge deal on the Tiwi Islands. To this day, the Tiwi Islands Football League is one of the most competitive leagues in the area, regularly sending top players to the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) or even to the AFL. The Tiwi Islands Grand Final is the most important event of the year for these tight-knit tribal communities, and the event frequently draws impressive crowds.

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The NTFL is the primary outlet for aspiring footy players, especially from rural communities. Players are also able to compete for the Northern Territory Thunder, the representative team in the multi-state North East Australian Football League (NEAFL), which also contains teams from New South Wales, Queensland, and the Australian Capital Territory. There’s even a competitive indigenous squad known as the Aboriginal All-Stars.

Because the NTFL’s season begins when other leagues’ seasons are concluding, it’s an opportunity for semi-pro players from other leagues to get more exposure during the rest of Australia’s offseason. There’s also no salary cap, providing another incentive for out-of-state footballers to spend the summer playing footy in Darwin.

The NTFL’s most historically successful club has been St Mary’s, who were founded in 1952 as a way to let Aboriginal soldiers play footy while stationed in Darwin. To date, St Mary’s has won 34 premierships. In 2010, the NTFL merged with the Top End Australian Football Association, accepting the league’s former members in a new lower-tier division.

The Northern Territory’s sparse population and remote location have made it difficult for the AFL to consider expanding to include a Territory-based team. However, in 1991, Marrara Oval – the primary footy stadium in Darwin – was constructed to host AFL matches.

Marrara Oval has hosted AFL preseason games in the past, and is currently contracted to hold two regular season matches per year. Traeger Park, located in the town of Alice Springs, was remodeled and redeveloped to host AFL matches in 2004. In 2014, Traeger Park hosted its first ever regular season AFL match, between Port Adelaide and Melbourne. When not hosting professional matches (both preseason and regular season), both Marrara Oval and Traeger Park are busy with local Aussie rules competitions, which tend to draw significant attendance figures.

As mentioned previously, the Northern Territory boasts a very high participation rate and has produced many prominent footballers, such as Maurice Rioli, Gilbert McAdam, Michael Long, Malcolm Lynch, and David Kantilla – all of whom are of Aboriginal descent.

It might not get the national recognition that it deserves, but Northern Territory football is like nothing else in the country.

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North East Australian Football League

  • Northern Territory Thunder

Northern Territory Football League

  • Darwin Buffaloes
  • Nightcliff Tigers
  • Palmerston Magpies
  • Southern Districts Crocs
  • St Mary’s Saints
  • Tiwi Bombers
  • Wanderers Eagles
  • Waratah Warriors

Central Australian Football League

  • Anmatjere Cowboys
  • Federals Demons
  • Hermannsburg Bulldogs
  • Ltyentye Apurte Saints
  • MacDonnell Districts Crows
  • Pioneers Eagles
  • Rovers Double Blues
  • South Alice Kangaroos
  • West Alice Bloods
  • Yuendumu Magpies

Tiwi Islands Football League

  • Imalu Tigers
  • Melville Island Kangaroos
  • Muluwurri Magpies
  • Pumarali Thunder
  • Ranku Eagles
  • Tapalinga Superstars
  • Tuyu Buffaloes
  • Walama Bulldogs

Regional Leagues

  • Barkly & District Football League
  • Big Rivers Football League
  • Gove Australian Football League

Stadiums

  • Brockman Oval (Jabiru)
  • Gardens Oval (Darwin)
  • Marrara Oval (Darwin, capacity 17,000)
  • Nightcliff Oval (Nightcliff)
  • Nitmiluk Oval (Katherine)
  • Northline Oval (Palmerston)
  • Tiwi Oval (Wurrimiyanga)
  • Tracy Village Oval (Darwin)
  • Traeger Park (Alice Springs, capacity 10,000)

HISTORY OF FOOTY: Victoria

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Australian rules football began in Victoria, and remains the spiritual home of the game. The fast-paced sport was first played in the parks of Melbourne in 1858 and remains easily the most popular game in the state.

While there is no official founder of Aussie rules, the game was developed by a group of four men: Tom Wills, J.B. Thompson, Thomas Smith, and William Hammersley. All four men were members of the Melbourne Cricket Club, and were looking for a sport to play in the winter, the cricket offseason.

The first official game of “foot-ball” was played in July 31, 1858, at Yarra Park in Melbourne. Few details of the match have survived, but today the park features a statue commemorating the event. It is located adjacent to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and is a popular tourist attraction for footy spectators.

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On May 17, 1859, Aussie rules football was given its first set of coded rules, the majority of which survive to this day (although some rules, like bouncing the ball every 15 meters, were not added until later). Wills, Thompson, Smith, and Hammersley met at the Parade Hotel in East Melbourne and drew up a set of rules. Three days prior, they had also established the Melbourne Football Club.

Not every club in the surrounding area followed Melbourne’s lead, however, and for several years, there were numerous disputes as to which set of rules to follow. In May 1877, several other clubs decided to form a governing body, the Victorian Football Association (VFA). The first few senior clubs included Melbourne, Hotham, St Kilda, Carlton, and Albert Park, while the junior clubs consisted of Hawthorn, Essendon, Ballarat, South Melbourne, East Melbourne, Standard, Victoria United, Northcote, Victorian Railways, West Melbourne, and Williamstown.

An eventual rift in the VFA led directly to the formation of the Victorian Football League (VFL) in 1897. It contained the strongest VFA teams: Melbourne, Essendon, Carlton, Collingwood, Fitzroy, South Melbourne, St Kilda, and Geelong. By now, Aussie rules was a full-blown phenomenon, both in the Melbourne area and in the rural parts of the state. Four more footy clubs followed suit in the early part of the 20th century, joining the VFL and creating a high-class competition. These clubs included Hawthorn, North Melbourne, Richmond, and Footscray.

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The VFL became a big deal as the century rolled on, regularly drawing media attention and large crowds, in addition to helping develop the game as a major winter pastime for Aussies. By the early 80s, other clubs in faraway Adelaide and Perth were expressing interest in moving the sport to a more national level.

However, most Victorians were skeptical (at best) of a nationwide footy league; they considered the sport to have a distinct identity and didn’t want footy to branch out into unknown territory. Even when prominent footy figures – such as longtime Carlton and North Melbourne coach Ron Barassi Jr. – supported the idea of a nationwide competition, the average fans in Melbourne gave a collective shrug.

In 1982, a major shift occurred. The South Melbourne Football Club shocked the nation by moving to New South Wales and becoming the Sydney Swans. Sydney, long considered a haven for rugby league and rugby union, was considered to be the last place a footy club would move, and it was largely ridiculed at the time. However, the Swans began to become more competitive as the years went on. Concurrently, the VFL began to become open to the idea of interstate clubs. This culminated with the entry of the Brisbane Bears and the West Coast Eagles into the VFL in 1987. In 1990, the VFL became the AFL and moved towards becoming a truly national sport.

More changes came in the 1990s. A second Perth-based team, the Fremantle Dockers, commenced play in 1994. The Brisbane Bears folded two years later, merging with the Fitzroy Football Club to become the Brisbane Lions. And since the turn of the century, the AFL has added another team from New South Wales and another from Queensland.

But, at the end of the day, Aussie rules is synonymous with the city and state in which it originated.

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Australian Football League

  • Carlton Blues
  • Collingwood Magpies
  • Essendon Bombers
  • Geelong Cats
  • Hawthorn Hawks
  • Melbourne Demons
  • North Melbourne Kangaroos
  • Richmond Tigers
  • St Kilda Saints
  • Western Bulldogs

Victorian Football League

  • Box Hill Hawks (reserves)
  • Casey Scorpions
  • Coburg Lions
  • Collingwood Magpies (reserves)
  • Essendon Bombers (reserves)
  • Footscray Bulldogs (reserves)
  • Frankston Dolphins
  • Geelong Cats (reserves)
  • North Ballarat Roosters
  • Northern Blues (reserves)
  • Port Melbourne Borough
  • Richmond Tigers (reserves)
  • Sandringham Zebras
  • Werribee Tigers
  • Williamstown Seagulls

Metropolitan Melbourne Leagues

  • Eastern Football League
  • Essendon District Football League
  • Geelong Football League
  • Northern Football League
  • Riddell District Football League
  • Southern Football League
  • Victorian Amateur Football Association
  • Western Region Football League

Regional Leagues

  • Alberton Football League
  • Ballarat Football League
  • Bellarine Football League
  • Bendigo Football League
  • Central Highlands Football League
  • Central Murray Football League
  • Colac & District Football League
  • East Gippsland Football League
  • Ellinbank & District Football League
  • Geelong & District Football League
  • Gippsland Football League
  • Golden Rivers Football League
  • Goulburn Valley Football League
  • Hampden Football League
  • Heathcote District Football League
  • Horsham & District Football League
  • Kowree-Naracoorte-Tatiara Football League
  • Kyabram & District Football League
  • Loddon Valley Football League
  • Maryborough Castlemaine District Football League
  • Mid Gippsland Football League
  • Millewa Football League
  • Mininera & District Football League
  • Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League
  • Murray Football League
  • North Central Football League
  • North Gippsland Football League
  • Omeo & District Football League
  • Ovens & King Football League
  • Ovens & Murray Football League
  • Picola & District Football League
  • South West District Football League
  • Sunraysia Football League
  • Tallangatta & District Football League
  • Upper Murray Football League
  • Victorian Country Football League
  • Warrnambool & District Football League
  • Western Border Football League
  • Wimmera Football League
  • Yarra Valley Mountain District Football League

Stadiums

  • Arden Street Oval (Melbourne, capacity 10,000)
  • Avalon Airport Oval (Werribee, capacity 10,000)
  • Brunswick Street Oval (Melbourne, capacity 15,000)
  • Burbank Oval (Williamstown, capacity 10,000)
  • Casey Fields (Melbourne, capacity 12,000)
  • Coburg City Oval (Coburg, capacity 15,000)
  • Deakin Reserve (Shepparton, capacity 10,000)
  • Eastern Oval (Ballarat, capacity 10,000)
  • Elsternwick Park (Melbourne, capacity 15,000)
  • Etihad Stadium (Melbourne, capacity 56,000)
  • Eureka Stadium (Ballarat, capacity 8,000)
  • Frankston Oval (Frankston, capacity 8,000)
  • Glenferrie Oval (Melbourne, capacity 10,000)
  • Highgate Recreation Reserve (Craigieburn, capacity 6,000)
  • Holm Park Recreation Reserve (Beaconsfield, capacity 7,500)
  • Junction Oval (Melbourne, capacity 10,000)
  • Lake Oval (Melbourne)
  • Linen House Centre (Seaford, capacity 4,000)
  • Melbourne Cricket Ground (Melbourne, capacity 100,000)
  • Moorabbin Oval (Melbourne, capacity 10,000)
  • Morwell Recreation Reserve (Morwell, capacity 12,000)
  • Norm Minns Oval (Wangaratta, capacity 11,000)
  • North Port Oval (Melbourne, capacity 12,000)
  • Olympic Park Oval (Melbourne, capacity 3,000)
  • Pinks Reserve (Kilsyth)
  • Preston City Oval (Melbourne, capacity 5,000)
  • Princes Park (Melbourne, capacity 22,000)
  • Punt Road Oval (Melbourne, capacity 6,000)
  • Queen Elizabeth Oval (Bendigo, capacity 10,000)
  • Reid Oval (Warrnambool)
  • Royal Melbourne Showgrounds (Melbourne)
  • Selwyn Park (Melbourne)
  • Shepley Oval (Melbourne)
  • Simonds Stadium (Geelong, capacity 34,000)
  • Skinner Reserve (Melbourne)
  • Springvale Recreation Reserve (Melbourne)
  • Strathfieldsaye Oval (Strathfieldsaye)

  • Toorak Park (Melbourne, capacity 15,000)
  • Toomuc Oval (Pakenham)
  • Traralgon Recreation Reserve (Traralgon)
  • Trevor Barker Oval (Melbourne, capacity 10,000)
  • True Value Solar Centre (Melbourne, capacity 5,000)
  • University of Melbourne Oval (Melbourne)
  • Victoria Park (Melbourne, capacity 15,000)
  • Warrawee Park Oval (Melbourne)
  • Waverley Park (Melbourne, capacity 8,000)
  • West Oval (Geelong)
  • Whitten Oval (Melbourne, capacity 12,000)
  • Windy Hill Oval (Melbourne, capacity 10,000)
  • W.L.J. Croft Reserve (Melbourne)
  • Yarraville Oval (Melbourne)

HISTORY OF FOOTY: South Australia

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Aussie rules has a long and memorable history in the state of South Australia. The game officially dates back to the formation of the Adelaide Football Club in 1860.

Like in many other states, South Australian footy was very unorganized in the early years, with many clubs unsure whether to adopt their own unique rules or to follow the lead of the Aussie rules pioneers in neighboring Victoria. In fact, after a match between Port Adelaide and Kensington in 1873, it was said that neither side understood the rules correctly and no one was clear who actually won the game.

By 1877, uniformity in the rules was officially established with a local governing body, the South Australian Football Association (SAFA). The inaugural season included a dozen clubs: Adelaide, North Adelaide, Port Adelaide, South Adelaide, Prince Alfred College, Woodville, Gawler, Kapunda, Bankers, South Park, Victorian, and Willunga.

All of this changed over the next decade. The SAFA added the Norwood Football Club in 1878, but by 1886, eight out of the original 12 clubs left the SAFA. Slowly but surely, the association rebuilt, and was back up to six teams by the turn of the century. In 1907, it was renamed the South Australian Football League, and then became the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) in 1927. During WWII, the eight SANFL clubs were forced to merge into four clubs due to a lack of players, but after the war, footy returned to normal.

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With the addition of a couple new teams (Woodville and Central District) in 1964, the SANFL was surging in popularity. However, the national competition, the VFL, was centered in Victoria. In the late 70s and most of the 80s, many South Australian footballers were moving over to Melbourne to have a shot at the VFL.

Back in the SANFL, the writing was on the wall. In 1981, South Australian footy authorities made a bid to the VFL to be included in a national competition, but it was quickly rejected. By 1988, the SANFL was losing many talented players and facing dwindling crowds, so they implemented a player retention scheme. Fortunately, the Port Adelaide Football Club made an independent petition to join the VFL, to the surprise of many, in July 1990. Therefore, the SANFL tried to submit another bid of their own to the VFL by creating a team from scratch, the Adelaide Crows.

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In the ensuing months, the VFL listened to both bids, but ultimately ruled in favor of the new Adelaide Crows. The decision was reached primarily because, despite Port Adelaide’s rabid fanbase, Adelaide was on better financial footing as a club and had already secured an agreement for the use of a major stadium in the city. Shortly thereafter, the VFL was renamed the AFL and announced the addition of the Crows, to start play in the 1991 season.

Almost overnight, the Crows were the toast of the town, regularly drawing massive home crowds and dominating the local media coverage. On the flip side, the SANFL was in trouble, with lagging attendance figures and a lack of money.

In 1994, Port Adelaide finally secured their own license to start an AFL club, called the Power, while the original Port Adelaide team, the Magpies, remained in the SANFL (the two clubs are operated independently to this day). The Crows and Power share a home ground at the Adelaide Oval (capacity 53,000) and play each other annually in the Showdown rivalry match.

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Australian Football League

  • Adelaide Crows
  • Port Adelaide Power

South Australian National Football League

  • Adelaide Crows (reserves)
  • Central District Bulldogs
  • Glenelg Tigers
  • North Adelaide Roosters
  • Norwood Redlegs
  • Port Adelaide Magpies (reserves)
  • South Adelaide Panthers
  • Sturt Double Blues
  • West Adelaide Bloods
  • Woodville-West Torrens Eagles

Regional Leagues

  • Adelaide Plains Football League
  • Barossa, Light & Gawler Football Association
  • Broken Hill Football League
  • Eastern Eyre Football League
  • Far West Football League
  • Great Flinders Football League
  • Great Southern Football League
  • Hills Football League
  • Kangaroo Island Football League
  • Kowree-Naracoorte-Tatiara Football League
  • Mallee Football League
  • Mid Murray Football Association
  • Mid South Eastern Football League
  • Mid West Football League
  • North Eastern Football League
  • Northern Areas Football Association
  • Port Lincoln Football League
  • Riverland Football League
  • River Murray Football League
  • South Australian Amateur Football League
  • Southern Football League
  • Spencer Gulf Football League
  • Western Border Football League
  • Whyalla Football League
  • Woomera & Districts Football League
  • Yorke Peninsula Football League

Stadiums

  • AAMI Stadium (Adelaide, capacity 51,500)
  • Adelaide Oval (Adelaide, capacity 53,500)
  • Adelaide Showgrounds (Adelaide)
  • Alberton Oval (Alberton, capacity 17,000)
  • Balaklava Oval (Balaklava)
  • Blackwood Oval (Blackwood)
  • Centenary Oval (Port Lincoln)
  • City Mazda Stadium (Adelaide, capacity 16,500)
  • Clare Oval (Clare)
  • Coopers Stadium (Norwood, capacity 22,000)
  • Elizabeth Oval (Elizabeth, capacity 18,000)
  • Encounter Bay Oval (Victor Harbor, capacity 5,000)
  • Glenelg Oval (Glenelg, capacity 15,000)
  • Hahndorf Oval (Hahndorf)
  • Hickenbotham Oval (Adelaide, capacity 12,000)
  • Kensington Oval (Adelaide)
  • Mannum Oval (Mannum)
  • Prospect Oval (Prospect, capacity 20,000)
  • Thebarton Oval (Adelaide, capacity 15,000)
  • Unley Oval (Unley, capacity 10,000)
  • Woodville Oval (Woodville, capacity 15,000)

HISTORY OF FOOTY: Queensland

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The history of Aussie rules football in Queensland is much different from the other Australian states. In Queensland, the predominant winter sport is rugby league, and Aussie rules has long been underrepresented in the state. Actually, rugby league is typically called footy in Queensland, and Aussie rules (called footy in most other Australian states) is typically referred to as AFL.

Aussie rules was first played in Queensland in 1866 with the establishment of the Brisbane Football Club. By 1870, four more clubs had been created, mostly centered around grammar schools in Brisbane. However, there was no unifying body to govern the Queensland teams, as all administrative decisions were made from authorities in Victoria. Nonetheless, Queensland football was rapidly growing as a winter sport.

Unfortunately in 1887, a delegation of headmasters from independent schools in Queensland voted to adopt rugby as the winter sport. At the time, rugby had an organized local competition and Aussie rules didn’t, so it was viewed as perfectly logical to institute rugby as the major winter sport. The headmasters also noted that many Queenslanders were skeptical of a Melbourne-based sport that was still struggling to gain national appeal and acceptance. Therefore, the popularity of Aussie rules was dealt a serious blow.

The game basically died out for a few decades, until it reformed in 1903 as the Queensland Football League (QFL), playing matches at the Brisbane Cricket Ground (aka “The Gabba”). In 1914, Queenslanders held a carnival to promote the sport, featuring numerous interstate teams. The league grew steadily post-WWI, and was renamed the Queensland Australian National Football League (QANFL) in 1927.

Soon after, Aussie rules spread north of Brisbane, to regional, coastal cities like Townsville and Cairns in the 1950s. In 1952, a VFL match was played at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground, and in 1964, the QANFL was renamed once again to the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL). Leagues then spread to smaller cities, such as Mackay, Rockhampton, and Toowoomba.

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In 1985, one of the first Queenslanders to play in the VFL, Jason Dunstall, debuted for the Hawthorn Hawks despite being relatively unknown in his rugby-crazy home state. When the VFL expanded in the late 80s, becoming the AFL, the new team from Queensland was called the Brisbane Bears. The Bears were largely unsuccessful in their first few years, as opposed to their rugby league counterparts, the Brisbane Broncos. It seemed as if Queensland would always favor rugby league over Aussie rules.

However, the tide began to turn in the mid-90s. The Bears started getting better on the field and gaining more support off it. At the time, many Victorians and South Australians were moving northeast to Queensland. Given their enthusiasm for Aussie rules, these new interstate migrants were excited to be able to watch AFL games. In 1995, the Bears made it to their first AFL Finals.

A year later, the Bears were no more, merging with the Melbourne-based Fitzroy Football Club to create the Brisbane Lions. Merging with another club was a challenge at first, but it further boosted the talent level and fanbase for a team that was still struggling to catch on with Queenslanders.

Concurrently, public schools in the Brisbane area decided to start playing Aussie rules for the first time in nearly a century. This was a huge boost, as many schools did not allow Aussie rules to be played due to the fact that it would compete with rugby league for players.

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The local league in Cairns was also experiencing strong growth, both financially and in terms of player and fan interest. In 2000, the state made history when Gold Coast product Nick Riewoldt became the first Queenslander to be selected No. 1 in the AFL Draft.

From 2001-2003, the Brisbane Lions won three AFL premierships, with home crowds sometimes drawing over 30,000 spectators and bringing increased media exposure. In 2005, the QAFL expanded into two divisions for the first time, and the following year, a record number of Queensland footballers were drafted by AFL clubs.

In 2011, a second Queensland club was established in the AFL, the Gold Coast Suns. Their annual rivalry with Brisbane has become known as the Q Clash, and they have sought to maximize their potential in the region. One of the Gold Coast-based minor league teams, the Southport Sharks, has also enjoyed much success, producing numerous AFL-bound footballers.

Currently, Aussie rules still pales in comparison to rugby league, drawing fewer crowds and not nearly as much media attention. But grassroots development has paid off in some areas of Queensland, with numerous clubs producing talented players. Today, the state also fields five teams in the North East Australian Football League (NEAFL), which includes clubs from New South Wales, the Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory. The participation rate in Queensland is currently only about two percent (roughly 180,000 players), but Aussie rules is the fastest-growing sport in the state.

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Australian Football League

  • Brisbane Lions
  • Gold Coast Suns

North East Australian Football League

  • Aspley Hornets
  • Brisbane Lions (reserves)
  • Gold Coast Suns (reserves)
  • Redland Bombers
  • Southport Sharks

Queensland Australian Football League

  • Broadbeach Cats
  • Labrador Tigers
  • Morningside Panthers
  • Mount Gravatt Vultures
  • Palm Beach-Currumbin Lions
  • Sandgate Hawks
  • Surfers Paradise Demons
  • University of Queensland Red Lions
  • Western Districts Magpies
  • Wilston Grange Gorillas

Regional Leagues

  • Cairns Australian Football League
  • Capricornia Australian Football League
  • Darling Downs Australian Football League
  • Mackay Australian Football League
  • Mount Isa Australian Football League
  • Northern Rivers Australian Football League
  • Queensland Amateur Football Association
  • Queensland Football Association
  • Sunshine Coast/Wide Bay Australian Football League
  • Townsville Australian Football League

Stadiums

  • Cazalys Stadium (Cairns, capacity 13,500)
  • The Gabba (Brisbane, capacity 42,000)
  • Harrup Park (Mackay)
  • Maroochydore Oval (Maroochydore, capacity 5,000)
  • Merrimac Oval (Gold Coast)
  • Metricon Stadium (Gold Coast, capacity 24,500)
  • Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex (Burpengary, capacity 8,000)
  • Salk Oval (Gold Coast)
  • Sunshine Coast Stadium (Kawana Waters, capacity 12,000)
  • Tony Ireland Stadium (Townsville, capacity 10,000)

HISTORY OF FOOTY: Western Australia

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Aussie rules/footy is the most popular sport in Western Australia, boasting two AFL teams – the West Coast Eagles and the Fremantle Dockers – and a talented group of teams in the semi-pro West Australian Football League (WAFL). The sport’s popularity is centered around Western Australia’s capital and largest city, Perth (population 2.2 million).

Rugby was the dominant sport for the early part of Western Australia’s history as a British colony. Aussie rules was first played in the state in 1881, but remained a slow-growing phenomenon compared to Victoria or South Australia. The tide began to turn when some of the wealthier boys from Perth began going to boarding schools in Adelaide. In Adelaide (as well as the rest of South Australia), footy was already an established sport, so when these boys went home to Perth for school breaks, they brought footy back with them and shared the game with their peers.

When gold was discovered in Western Australia in the latter half of the 19th century, the state’s population grew significantly, and so did the sporting culture. While numerous clubs came and went, participation in footy was growing quickly. A local competition based in Perth was established in 1885 – the Western Australian Football Association (later the WAFL).

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After a couple of turbulent decades, the league had grown to half a dozen teams. Unlike some other leagues, the WAFL did not go on hiatus during WWI. The league, by now featuring eight clubs, grew steadily in the next few decades and soon became a statewide event for many in the 1960s and 70s.

Unfortunately, the WAFL went through some more uncertain times in the late 70s and early 80s. Enticed by bigger crowds and more money, many Western Australian footballers were hoping to head east and join the bigger competition in the Victorian Football League (VFL). The WAFL began to realize that they were going to be reduced to a lower-tier, second-class operation unless they were able to recruit and retain more players – or better yet, create an expansion team in Perth to join the VFL.

Eventually, it worked out. Concurrently, the VFL decided to expand nationally, becoming the AFL, and in 1987, the West Coast Eagles were born. Only five years later, in 1992, the Eagles became the first interstate club to win a premiership. In 1994, the Fremantle Football Club was also established in Perth, and their annual rivalry with the Eagles is known as the Western Derby. Both teams play their home matches at Domain Stadium.

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Today, the WAFL is much more stable, enjoying more funds coming in from the AFL, as well as developing more talent to go to the Perth-based teams, or nationwide. There are over 91,000 registered footy players in Western Australia.

Australian Football League

  • Fremantle Dockers
  • West Coast Eagles

West Australian Football League

  • Claremont Tigers
  • East Fremantle Sharks
  • East Perth Royals
  • Peel Thunder
  • Perth Demons
  • South Fremantle Bulldogs
  • Subiaco Lions
  • Swan Districts Swans
  • West Perth Falcons

Regional Leagues

  • Avon Football Association
  • Central Kimberley Football League
  • Central Midlands Coastal Football League
  • Central Wheatbelt Football League
  • Eastern Districts Football League
  • East Kimberley Football Association
  • Esperance District Football League
  • Fortescue National Football League
  • Gascoyne Football Association
  • Goldfields Football League
  • Great Northern Football League
  • Great Southern Football League
  • Hills Football Association
  • Lower South West Football League
  • Metro Football League
  • Mortlock Football League
  • Newman Football League
  • North Midlands Football League
  • North Pilbara Football League
  • Ongerup Football Association
  • Peel Football League
  • Ravensthorpe & District Football Association
  • South West Football League
  • Upper Great Southern Football League
  • West Australian Amateur Football League
  • West Kimberley Football Association

Stadiums

  • Anniversary Park (Rockingham)
  • Claremont Oval (Perth, capacity 10,000)
  • Collie Recreation Ground (Collie)
  • Dampier Oval (Dampier)
  • Domain Stadium (Perth, capacity 43,000)
  • East Fremantle Oval (Fremantle, capacity 20,000)
  • Fremantle Oval (Fremantle, capacity 17,500)
  • Frost Park (Mt. Barker)
  • Gosnells Recreation Ground (Gosnells)
  • HBF Arena (Joondalup, capacity 12,000)
  • Jubilee Park (Perth)
  • Jurien Oval (Jurien Bay)
  • Kalannie Town Oval (Kalannie)
  • Kambalda Oval (Kambalda West)
  • Kingsway Reserve (Madeley, capacity 10,000)
  • Kununurra Oval (Kununurra)
  • Lathlain Park (Perth, capacity 15,000)
  • Leederville Oval (Perth, capacity 15,000)
  • Margaret River Oval (Margaret River)
  • Manjimup Recreation Ground (Manjimup)
  • Midland Junction Oval (Midland)
  • Moora Reserve (Moora)
  • Newdegate Showgrounds (Newdegate)
  • Perth Oval (Perth)
  • Rushton Park (Mandurah, capacity 9,000)
  • Shenton Park (Perth)
  • Sounness Park (Mt. Barker, capacity 5,000)
  • Steel Blue Oval (Bassendean, capacity 22,000)
  • Talanjee Oval (Exmouth)
  • Toodyay Showgrounds (Toodyay)
  • Wanneroo Showgrounds (Wanneroo)
  • Wellington Square Oval (Perth)
  • Western Australian Cricket Ground (Perth)
  • Wickepin Oval (Wickepin)