Hi, I’ve been wondering why there’s 4 very tall, uneven poles poking out of the ground at random parts of Clapham Common?
Wonder no longer, it’s for Aussie Rules Footy. Clapham Common is just one of many venues for AFL London, just one of four English leagues, not to mention the Scottish and Welsh leagues. You’re as shocked as I was.
But it’s a big deal back home, and mid-September brings about the climax of the Australian Football League’s finals series, the biggest day in our sporting calendar.
If you live and work in London, there’s no escaping the fact you’re surrounded by Aussies, and in the coming weeks, if you haven’t already, you’ll start hearing a few unusual terms and names thrown about the workplace, so I’ll help you out a little with some quick facts about this season’s footy.
This morning sees the Sydney Swans take on the Collingwood Magpies in the first of the two preliminary finals. The second preliminary final will be played on Saturday morning between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Adelaide Crows. The winners of these two games will battle it out for the Premiership at the MCG on the 29th of September.
So it’s just like a cup final, right? No, not quite. You see, the major prize in Aussie Rules is the Premiership Grand Final, not the league. The team that finishes on top of the ladder (the league table) at the end of the season proper has won the minor premiership, and to be fair, no one really cares about that.
So to make the finals, you have to finish in the top eight of the ladder. The Hawks and Crows finished joint top on points (but the Hawks topped the ladder on ‘percentage’), the Swans and the ‘Pies rounded out the top four. Next it was the Eagles, the Cats, Freo Dockers, and North Melbourne.
This is when the qualifying finals are followed by the elimination finals are followed by the semi finals are followed by the preliminaries and in the end, we’re left with the same top four that we started with vying for a spot in the grand final.
Erm, but it’s a good system, I swear.
Just like the scoring system. Six points if you kick it through the big sticks, one if you get it through the little ones. So you tally them up for the final score over four quarters of footy.
Which will be why you’ll be hearing things like: “Swans, three, two, twenty, Pies, four, four, twenty-eight at the end of the first.” Easy.
So, Hawks are a pretty strong favourite to beat Adelaide and go on to take the flag (win the final), but whoever wins out of the Swans and the ‘Pies will definitely make them work for it. It should be a bloody ripper.
Did that help?
image: © stevebaty