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Is Australian Football Really "Aerial Ping Pong"?
Growing up in Queensland after World War II, I didn’t learn about “Australian rules” until I was in primary school in Year 4. My school offered both rugby league and Aussie rules as winter sports. I chose to play our Australian game. I soon learned it was called “Aerial Ping Pong” by supporters of the other game which was by far the most popular football played in the state.
Looking back to the middle of the 20th century, I can see the justification for this belief. The soccer ball was often dropkicked high in the air to be caught overhead or knocked down by the scoring player. Each mark or free kick often resulted in a stoppage where the attacking player kicked the ball past a mark indicated by the referee. The game was therefore somewhat static.
After each scrum/stop, the ball bounced through the air for a rucking contest like a basketball tip. The football could be handballed or knocked down; kicked the ground and the team scored by kicking the ball through all four goal posts. There were tackles but within certain rules. Overall, football has spent a lot of time in the air.
However, the term “Ping Pong” implies soft play. This is where the nickname of our national game was so misleading. Australian rules football is a 360 degree game. There is no offside. Players can be tackled, pushed or shoved from any direction. In these other football games, the tackler is in front of the player. Then the players see the tackler coming. On top of that, there are 18 opposing players ready to tackle, push or punch against 13 or 15 in these rugby games.
The modern game of Australian rules football ridicules this nickname.
It is the game that has
The largest oval;
It has the most players involved of any football game at the oval;
It is played the longest.
The modern version sees players constantly running from one end of the field to the other. (The oval is an ellipse approximately 160 yards long with a width of 120 yards at the center of the oval. Rugby ovals are rectangular and only 100 yards long.)
The tackle has become a feature of the game. The tackle seen in the game is as strong as that in rugby matches, except it tends to be one on one. The goal of the tackler is to dispossess the player of the football and put him on the ground.
Because the game is so fast paced with a lot of fierce running and tackling as well as high scoring, the number of injuries has increased from mostly soft tissue injuries to knee reconstructions, concussions, broken bones to name a few. just a few injuries.
The game has become so fast-paced that it is now officiated by two, three, or even four pitch umpires depending on the particular competition at the open level.
A player in our Australian game needs to master a lot more skills than in rugby games. The player must be able to strike with both feet with a variety of striking styles; handball in different ways with both hands; spoil a mark; be able to punch and direct an opponent; dodging players; run quickly while bouncing a ball; Pick up a ball from the ground while running at a pace and throwing goals from all angles.
Finally, the game at the highest level has turned professional with almost daily practice and play occupying all but 4 weeks of the year.
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#Australian #Football #quotAerial #Ping #Pongquot