Funnily enough I am not a new Australian. I am not a mere visitor to these shores. I have lived and breathed the blessed air of this great southern land since Molly Meldrum was straight and Kent had it all together. Despite my many years wracked up on both the west and east coast of this island nation I still have a few head scratching moments. Trying to understand AFL footy is one of them when it comes to goal kicking players and why they take out their mouthguards and stuff them in their jocks or socks. How does a mouthguard impact upon the process of walking in and kicking at the goals? Could you get anything more unhygienic than placing an oral protective guard in a dirty sock or sweaty pair of underpants and then popping back in your gob?
Why Are the Crows in Adelaide So Colourful?
Why are the Adelaide Crows sporting a black, red, and yellow jersey, when the Australian raven, commonly called a crow on these shores, is wholly black? Why are the Geelong Cats blue and white? I know that it gets cold down that way, but I have not seen many blue cats despite the weather. Trying to understand AFL footy throws up a number of these conundrums for consideration. The stretching of a suburban Melbourne competition into a national league has left a few strange anomalies floating about. The fact that most games are played in Melbourne every week and involve a preponderance of Victorian clubs is one of them. It was fascinating to observe the game last year locked down in Queensland for a season in response to the COVID pandemic.
The Game is Becoming Much More Umpire-Centric
The game of AFL is becoming more and more umpire-centric with 3 field umpires having to making a mass of decisions. The games rules committee are forcing these umpires to change the way the game is played in 2021. Despite the deafening noise increasing during matches, as fans are let back into stadiums, players must adhere to verbal instructions issued by umpires every moment of play. “Stand” is called out with great frequency, as players on the mark must freeze, as if in a child’s game. Trying to understand AFL footy is something the players struggle with as well in 2021.
AFL was a game that prided itself on players being able to come at each other from 360 degrees. The bump was an especially violent collision employed to considerable effect. Now, the bump to the head is fast being outlawed to reduce the amount of concussion in the game. Players who have played footy the old-fashioned way for all of their lives are struggling to comprehend the changes regarding the bump.
Players who now cannot king hit behind play, bump to the head, sling tackle, and abuse umpires, are showing their masculinity by pushing and shoving. The niggle and the hard tag are the few remaining expressions of physicality still in the game. Get ready for more pushing over of players unexpectedly. Get ready for more mouth guard moves from gob to socks or jocks and back again. Trying to understand AFL footy it ain’t easy but it’s worth a go.