The game that is now known as Australian Rules football was created in 1858.

Australian Rules football is played in every state of Australia

Australian Rules football is played in every state of Australia

Cricketers, Thomas Wills and his cousin, Henry Harrison, and two others W.J. Hammersley and J.B. Thompson, invented the football game to keep themselves, and other cricketers, fit during winter.

The Melbourne Football Club was formed on August 7, 1858, and in the same year the first recorded match was played between teams from two Melbourne schools, Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar. Forty players on each side using a round ball played a match that lasted for more than five hours. The game attracted large crowds of spectators then, and continues to do so today. Tom Wills, one of the founders of Australian Football, returned to Australia in 1857 after being at school in England. Wills had been the football captain of Rugby School and a brilliant cricketer.

The Geelong Football Club was formed in 1859. In1866 an updated set of rules was written and competition started.

Rules of Australian Rules Football

The game is played between two teams of 18 players. Only 18 members of each team are allowed on the field during a match, but each team is allowed 3 interchange players).

How Australian Rules football is played

The game is fast, and a free kick is awarded to any player who marks the ball (clean catches it) after it has been kicked more than 15 metres. A match is played in four 20 minute quarters. The game begins with a coin toss and the winning captain decides which goal his team will defend. At the end of each quarter teams change ends and kick to the opposite goal.

The aim of the games is to kick the ball between the two tall goal posts. © Getty Images

The aim of the games is to kick the ball between the two tall goal posts. © Getty Images

Players attempt to drive the ball down the field to score a goal. Players can kick or hand pass the ball to team mates. They may not throw the ball. Umpires control the game and may award free kicks when rules are broken.

Go to the official Australian Rules football website with links to all AFL clubs

http://www.afl.com.au


Watch a video that explains how to play Australian Rules football